Today on this bonus episode of Unsupervised Learning I’m excited to talk to Patrick Wyman about his new book, The Verge: Reformation, Renaissance, and Forty Years that Shook the World.
Wyman is the host of Tides of History, a podcast about history and assorted topics which I recommend to everyone (I’ve been a guest). If you’ve listened to him speak at length, you won’t be very surprised by the topics and style of writing in The Verge. The narrative does a great job balancing the academic with the engaging.
After reading his book I was curious to ask Wyman about how he wove social and economic history into a persona-driven narrative. We talk at length about the particular details of the significance of the 40-year-period he covers, and whether Martin Luther was a necessary man (as opposed to just being sufficient).
Patrick and I also tackle meta-historical questions such as the importance of “great men” versus forces-of-history, and whether the Protestant Reformation was inevitable due to technological changes. It’s a wide-ranging conversation, so if you are interested in the nitty-gritty of historical processes I think you’ll enjoy it.
Cross-promotion: The six-part series on Finland is done, check it out:
Part one: Duke Tales: shades of Finnish cultural weirdness in my own backyard
Part two: Weirdness as a national pastime: culture
Part three: Go West Young Siberian: genetics findings
Part four: From deepest Siberia to Europe’s edge: more genetics
Part five: Frontier Finns: cabins, rakes & Indians
Part six: Finnish brains, baiting and bottlenecks: education and medical genetics