For half the 16th century, Antwerp was a cosmopolitan hub and the place for breaking rules—religious, sexual, intellectual. But when Antwerp rebelled with the Dutch against the Spanish and lost, much of its history was reduced to ashes. Scouring archives throughout Europe, Michael Pye re-creates the city's cultural life to reveal its vital role in making the world modern. In this "beautifully written and thoughtfully researched" chronicle (Wall Street Journal), the fascinating cast of historical figures includes Erasmus, William Tyndale, Thomas More, and Pieter Bruegel, who painted the town as The Tower of Babel.
"Bristling, wide-ranging and big-themed. At its most meaningful, history involves a good deal of art and storytelling. Pye's book is full of both. He challenges us to consider how we got to be where—and who—we are."—NYTBR