This is the book that made Simon Schama's reputation when first published in 1987. A historical masterpiece, it is an epic account of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age of Rembrandt and van Diemen.
In this brilliant work that moves far beyond the conventions of social or cultural history, Simon Schama investigates the astonishing case of a people's self-invention.
He shows how, in the 17th-century, a modest assortment of farming, fishing and shipping communities, without a shared language, religion or government, transformed themselves into a formidable world empire – the Dutch republic.
About the Author
Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. He is the author of 'Patriots and Liberators' , which won the Wolfson Prize for History, 'The Embarrassment of Riches', 'Citizens ' which won the 1990 NCR book award for non-fiction, 'Dead Certainties', 'Landscape and Memory' which won the W H Smith Literary Award in 1995, and 'Rembrandt's Eyes ' (1999). He is also the author of the monumental ' History of Britain ' published in three volumes. He was art critic of the 'New Yorker' from 1995 to 1998 and was made CBE in the 2001 New Year's Honours list.
'The Embarrassment of Riches is well-named. Schama's method is wonderfully inclusive; with wit and intense curiosity he teases out meaning form every aspect of Dutch seventeenth-century life, from ideas about sea monsters to obsessions about hygiene. One reads it all with mounting enjoyment and at the end one's sense of Dutch civilisation in the Golden Age of Rembrandt and van Diemen is not just salted and enriched -- but remade.' Robert Hughes'Simon Schama writes with grace and wit, and his enthusiasms are contagious. Above all, this is a labour of love -- love of an ethical system, of a physical landscape, and of an emotional husbandry that perfectly balanced the material with the moral. The lightheartedness and energy that charactize the author and his marvellous book are the finest tribute he could have paid to the subject of his choice.' Anita Brookner, Observer'This is history on the grand scale, and like all generously conceived historical works leaves us reflecting about the present as well as the past.' John Gross, New York Times'Schama is a scholar with the rare gift of talking to non-scholars without talking down... What is really breathtaking about the book is his command of overall structure, that enables him to construct such a complex and sophisticated argument without ever losing narrative drive, to generalize only from innumberable particularities, which somehow always remain in proportion, and are never allowed to clog the massive flow.' John Russell Taylor, The Times'Seldom has a people opened its doors so wide. A performance on the epic scale.' Independent