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  • The Verge

  • Reformation, Renaissance, and Forty Years That Shook the World
  • By: Patrick Wyman
  • Narrated by: Patrick Wyman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (85 ratings)

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The Verge cover art

The Verge

By: Patrick Wyman
Narrated by: Patrick Wyman
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Summary

The creator of the hit podcast series Tides of History and Fall of Rome explores the four explosive decades between 1490 and 1530, bringing to life the dramatic and deeply human story of how the West was reborn.

In the best-selling tradition of The Swerve and A Distant Mirror, The Verge tells the story of a period that marked a decisive turning point for both European and world history. Here, author Patrick Wyman examines two complementary and contradictory sides of the same historical coin: the world-altering implications of the developments of printed mass media, extreme taxation, exploitative globalization, humanistic learning, gunpowder warfare, and mass religious conflict in the long term, and their intensely disruptive consequences in the short-term.

As told through the lives of 10 real people - from famous figures like Christopher Columbus and wealthy banker Jakob Fugger to a ruthless small-time merchant and a one-armed mercenary captain - The Verge illustrates how their lives, and the times in which they lived, set the stage for an unprecedented globalized future.

Over an intense 40-year period, the seeds for the so-called "Great Divergence" between Western Europe and the rest of the globe would be planted. From Columbus' voyage across the Atlantic to Martin Luther's sparking the Protestant Reformation, the foundations of our own, recognizably modern world came into being.

For the past 500 years, historians, economists, and the policy-oriented have argued which of these individual developments best explains the West's rise from backwater periphery to global dominance. As The Verge presents it, however, the answer is far more nuanced.

©2021 Patrick Wyman (P)2021 Hachette Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Verge

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An engaging, nuanced & accessible take on history

As always from Patrick Wyman, an accessible, well researched and multifaceted book weaving people's lives into a rich story of the deeper systems and processes driving historical change. Really helpful to get away from more simplistic narratives of this period, and history in general. Well read by the author, whose voice to be honest feels like that of a good friend after countless hours spent listening to his excellent podcasts.

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    5 out of 5 stars

What connects Martin Luther to Donald Trump?

Answer is the use of a newly emergent method of mass communication. Read the book to find out more. You will also get an insight into the development of banking systems, early capitalism and detailed look at 2 of the major figures in 16th century history.
I am a fan of Patrick Wyman's presentation style through his Tides of History podcast. Try this first if you don't know his work.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

incredibly interesting!

so interesting. patrick wymann presents a fascinating look at a fascinating period of history. the birth of capitalism and its influence on the age of colonialism

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

10/10

a great book by one of my favorite historians. Check out his podcast "tides of history" of you want a taste of his style.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Accessible, quality history...

A well written, incredibly knowledgeable yet accessibly written account of a period of European history that had implications that ripple out to today's world. Read engagingly by the author. Highly recommended!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

It’s The Narrative History You Were Hoping For, But So Seldom Get.

So often we are disappointed by narrative history, especially when it’s read by the author instead of a trained professional, but this book is a template of how it should be done.
Brimming with fascinating information, focussed and with a clear argument to make, about how a specific period of 40 years changed the western world, this was a joy to listen to.
The author is a Professor and podcaster, meaning he is experienced at speaking to the public, so he is not making the error of vanity that so many authors do by presenting his own material.
Beginning and ending each chapter with novelistic anecdotes, he paints a vivid picture of life during this burgeoning Renaissance period, using prose that are deceptively simple and clear, demonstrating his genuine eloquence.
I almost felt the bones grinding and the pulp of my own living flesh with the loss of my hand in battle, having it replaced with an iron prosthetic. Or felt the psychological torture of Charles V’s dilemmas of war. So vivid and engaging were the well chosen turns of phrase.
Yet, at no point does the author lose sight of his ultimate goal: to clearly and entertainingly explain to the lay historian how it was that brand new financial, scientific, military, religious and political practices converged to create such an upheaval that resulted in a new age of the information super highway that took one generation, fighting and biting, hurtling through the Renaissance and into the early modern.
And genuinely riveting listen for the most casual of history fans.
Truly first class. One of my best buys.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Mesmerising

Superbly argued point of view, with the whole of Europe (or even, the world) as its canvas.

Definitely worth listening to if you want to understand some of the 'grubby financial' details which let history take its course.

Would benefit from more comparison to e.g. China or the Indian states at that time, or even to less successful European states which did not have recourse to these financial innovations , but otherwise unable to fault this.

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    5 out of 5 stars

informative and interesting

A deep dive into the politics, economics, and world changing events of the reformation. The author/narrator is excellent, has thoroughly researched the topic and I pleasure to listen to. The only thing I missed were the little "real life" audio bits Patrick uses in his history podcast, where you could imagine you were really there. Still an excellent book and performance though!

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Excellent.

The Verge provides a window into the lives of various interesting characters from a key time in European history. Insightful and illuminating. Written in blood indeed.

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Wonderful stuff

I’m a big fan of the podcasts, Tides of History, and here Patrick adds that bit more depth. Wonderful.

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