The Embarrassment of Riches

The Embarrassment of Riches

An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age

Book - 1987
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In a brilliantly inventive work, bestselling author Simon Schama explores the enigma of 17th-century Holland, a nation that attained an unprecedented level of affluence, yet lived in constant dread of being corrupted by prosperity. Drawing on a vast array of period documents and sumptuously reproduced art, THE EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES throbs with life on every page. 314 photos & illustrations. Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.
Publisher: New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1987
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780394510750
Characteristics: xiii, 698 p. : ill. ; 25 cm


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Aug 06, 2014

This splendid account of Dutch history and culture in its Golden age uses art and architecture to illustrate Schama's points. At the beginning of the 17th c., Holland was a conglomeration of feuding states, which came together only when at risk of being overrun by larger, richer military states. Pulling itself together, Holland became an enormously wealthy world empire, one could argue the first since the Romans. The subtitle sums it all up--their wealth, and their religious fervor, led to a constant fear of being corrupted by their wealth. Because the organization of the book is by topic, not chronology, and chapters are very long, things get repetitive in places. But it helped enormously in understanding why a small group of Dutch left for New Netherland, and why they prospered there, among other topics of interest to me.


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