1688

Yesterday Leonardo and I finished our latest breakfast book (school days only, with porridge), John E. Wills Jr’s 1688: A Global History – an astonishing patchwork quilt of the world in one year. It’s made up of stories (sometimes political or intellectual history, more often the lives of particular individuals whose diaries or letters have told us what they were doing in that year) from around the globe in one year.There are vignettes from China, the Mughal Empire, Japan, stations of the Dutch and English East India companies, the Spanish Empire in the Americas and the Philippines, Versailles, Leipzig, Istanbul, Moscow, London, Mecca, Angola, Senegal, Venice, and from explorers stranded in the North American interior or the edge of Australia. And more. A beautiful understanding of both the distinctness and the connectedness of all of these. I’d read the book myself once before, having picked it up from a remainder pile – an excellent serendipitous investment.

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