Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Book Review: Edge of the World

By Michael Pye

The full title is "The Edge of the World" or "How the North Sea Made US Who We Are".

First, if you were going to build a historical library for decades to come and you wanted five 'cornerstone' books to start the library with.....this is one of the five.  It invites to sit down, pause, and ponder over the great revolution of sorts that came up in the North Sea region (UK, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, and Nordic countries), and how they advanced innovation, technology, capitalism, commerce, the world economy, and cultures.

The book is written in a fashion that you basically need to read one paragraph at a time, and soak in the vast amount of information that Pye is giving you. I almost consider the book to be a dozen books combined into one because of the depth of discussion involved.

Chapter two concerns the 'Book Trade' which generates a great deal of thinking and pondering how innovation and how we went quickly from a low-literate society in the 1500s, to a high literate society by the early 1700s.  Information came in various packages and was consumed at a fantastic rate.  Advancements were put into book form and people read the new strategy or ideas of one guy in another land, and took the ideas to their own craft or business.

If there are any negatives with the book....it's mostly over a large amount of knowledge that Pye is sharing with you, and you have to really put the book down....sometimes for days....to gaze over what he's laid out and you end doing additional reading from other sources to better grasp Pye's story.  Pye could have made this a 1,500-page book, in my humble opinion.  He does the best he can....condensing a fantastic story into a simple pure tale.

As for recommendations?  I wouldn't suggest the book for high school kids because it's got way too much for most kids to handle.  A amateur historian would love the book, and I think anyone who wants to really understand the way which innovation took us from a simple age to a bold new world.....this is the book to start with and use as a base.

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