Irresistible North - Part Two

Finished reading: Irresistible North: From Venice To Greenland On The Trail Of The Zen Brothers by Di Robilant, Andrea , 1957- πŸ“š

An interesting time in history - the late Middle Ages to the Age of Discovery. People often think there are these bright lines that divide human history, but that’s not really whats going on at all. The transitions are all happening at once. Nothing stays constant. Humans are always trying new things to improve their life. For instance, the Norse pressed forward from Scandinavia to Scotland and the Faroes, then to Iceland, Greenland and North America all before the 14th century. Meanwhile, in the Mediterranean, shipbuilding was improving and soon they would have oceangoing vessels.

This book is the story of the Zen brothers. Merchants from Venice who supposedly traveled to the northern lands of Iceland, Greenland, and perhaps even Baffin Island in North America. The author traces their path through their largely forgotten journals and exams the impact they had leading into the golden age of discovery.

I enjoyed the story. It’s short and worth a read for armchair historians. You will learn something new about a time when the maps and charts remained largely blank.


Rob Jackson @rcjackson