*The Middle Kingdoms: A New History of Central Europe*

An excellent book by Martyn Rady, here is the passage most relevant to the history of economic thought:

A Norwegian economist and his wife have published a line of bestsellers in the field of economics written before 1750.  Top is Aristotle’s Economics.  Composed in the fourth century BCE, it is still available in paperback.  Martin Luther’s denunciation of usury (1524) is number three.  But there, in the top ten, is an unfamiliar name — Veit Ludwig von Seckendorff (1626-1692), who was a government official in the duchy of Saxe-Gotha in Thuringia.  Seckendorff’s German Princely State (Teutscher Fürsten-Staat, 1656) is a thousand-page blockbuster that went through thirteen editions and was in continuous print for a century.  Although only ever published in German, it was influential throughout Central Europe, shaping policy from the Banat to the Baltic.

I enjoyed this sentence:

Besides his distinctive false nose (the result of a duelling accident), Tycho Brahe kept an elk in his lodgings as a drinking companion.

And yes the book does have an insightful discussion of Laibach, the Slovenian hard-to-describe musical band.  You can buy it here.


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