Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Razib Khan's Unsupervised Learning

Jul 20, 2021

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.

Full disclosure, I enjoyed The Verge, and a review will be posted from me on National Review Online within the next week.

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 sixFinnish brains, baiting and bottlenecks: education and medical genetics