Cover: The Baltic: A History, from Harvard University PressCover: The Baltic in HARDCOVER

The Baltic

A History

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Product Details


$43.50 • £34.95 • €39.00

ISBN 9780674744103

Publication Date: 04/07/2015


448 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

10 halftones, 10 maps, 5 tables


The book shines when the author writes about the region’s cultural history, particularly in medieval times… North’s book provides a valuable service in underlining the centrality of the Baltic region to Europe’s past. The way things are going, it may determine the continent’s future, too.—Edward Lucas, The Wall Street Journal

In this book, North does for the Baltic Sea what Fernand Braudel did for another crucial body of water in his 1949 classic, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II; he treats the sea and the lands surrounding it as an intersection of cultures, armies, economic trends, political formations, and trade routes and as a playing field for the ambitions of major powers… Its manageable length allows North to provide a panoramic view that transcends mere regional history.—Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs

[North] presents readers with a sweeping Braudelian-style narrative of how the Baltic Sea functioned as a place of exchange and encounter for all the territories around its shores… The Baltic: A History constitutes a solid benchmark in the writing of a regional history of the territories surrounding the Baltic Sea. It is an engaging and accessible read.—Catherine Gibson, Slovo

Virtually no aspect of this long story is neglected. All the various major Baltic capitals get their turn in the spotlight, and North covers not only the progress of architecture, warfare, and the herring market but also social and literary life (the chapter ‘Nordic Romanticism’ is a stand-out overview) and the vying fads that swept the area from Bremen to Riga.—Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly

This work by North is ambitious [and] erudite… Richly detailed and ably translated from the original German, it generally eschews a narrowly political narrative in favor of a unified history of ‘exchange and encounter’ in the Baltic Sea area. Specialists will appreciate this impressively researched history for its breadth, informed generalizations…and illuminating examples, charts, and illustrations.—K. C. O’Connor, Choice

Michael North’s The Baltic is a tour de force. The history of the region is an important story that isn’t well known, but should be. North’s book fills a real gap. It is hugely enjoyable, highly instructive—a wonderful work of history.—Joachim Whaley, University of Cambridge

Praise for the German edition:

[A] praiseworthy survey of the history of the Baltic Sea region… To write a history of the entire Baltic Sea region from the ninth century to the present must seem like an overwhelming task, but North has accomplished this with admirable aplomb… North’s signal contributions are in tracing the interconnectedness of the region in terms of trade and culture and in viewing the region more as a coherent whole rather than lands simply buffeted by the historical winds blowing from elsewhere.—Bradley D. Woodworth, Journal of Baltic Studies

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