A single red deer is worth fifty thousand oysters

It’s a history of Europe which blends economic geography and economic archaeology. The underlying question is how Europe became so innovative and the answer has much to do with trade and migration.
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The photography and the color plates of the art are lovely. You can learn how to view the Roman Empire as an “interlude” and as a break from the major story and how to understand 800-1000 A.D. as a period of rebalancing. And you get passages like this:

    …the actual return in calorific value for the effort expended in collecting [shellfish] is comparatively small. A single red deer would be worth fifty thousand oysters! That said, the value of shellfish is that they are always available and can be substituted when other food sources run short.

If you enjoy early economic history, this is a must, noting that it does not have the titillating feel of a popular science book.

Europe Between the Oceans,” by Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution, November 6, 2008, reviewing “Europe Between the Oceans: 9000 BC-AD 1000,” by Barry Cunliffe.

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