Russell Shorto · 384 pages
Rating: (6.6K votes)
“It was possible, as far as they knew, that the western shore, which in fifty years’ time would be christened New Jersey, was in fact the backdoor of China, that India, with its steamy profusion of gods and curries, lay just beyond those bluffs.”
“It was the Dutch of this era who invented the idea of the home as a personal, intimate space; one might say they invented coziness.”
“This book tells the story of that moment in time. It is a story of high adventure set during the age of exploration—when Francis Drake, Henry Hudson, and Captain John Smith were expanding the boundaries of the world, and Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Galileo, Descartes, Mercator, Vermeer, Harvey, and Bacon were revolutionizing human thought and expression.”
“Instead, power went to those who made things happen: businessmen and local magistrates. Over time, human nature being what it is, these men would create a kind of nobility, sometimes even buying titles from cash-poor foreigners, but this in itself underscores the point. Upward mobility was part of the Dutch character: if you worked hard and were smart, you rose in stature. Today that is a byword of a healthy society; in the seventeenth century it was weird.”
“She came very close, and looking into my eyes, she said, “My Jenny,” and then she bent her head and kissed me—here, on the left-hand corner of my mouth. And nobody knows better than I that I couldn’t have felt anything, because Tamsin was a ghost—but nobody but me knows what I felt. And I’ll always know.”
“Let me tell you a little story. You may have heard it before.
It's a story about a butcher named Barry.
Once upon a time, in central city, there was a butcher named Barry. Barry loved to chop up meat more than anything in the world. But one day, when Barry got tired of just chopping up cows and pigs...
...He found something NEW to chop up-- PEOPLE. And so, he went out night after night in search of fresh meat.
Eventually, Barry was caught, but not before he had slaughtered 23 victims!!! For terrorizing the poor people of central city, Barry was sent straight to the gallows...And everyone else lived happily ever after!”
“For the record, chocolate’s a pretty decent antidote for unrequited love.”
“I am the defense early warning radar system
I see nothing but bombs”
“Little things matter far more than big ones. We remember them longer. We can’t control the big things. If you think about what’s happened in the past, it will be the small moments that come to the forefront, not the big transitions. The big things were just history. The small moments are yours. The books those monks printed are still preserved centuries after they were gone. Little things matter.”
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