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From Barnes & Noble
Amsterdam might not be as old as some other Dutch cities (including Rotterdam and Utrecht), but few urban areas on earth are more historic. Founded in the early 14th century, this low-lying city quickly became not only a trading mecca, but also the center of cultural minorities, social and religious dissidents, free thinkers, and Enlightenment philosophers. This new book by Island at the Center of the World author Russell Shorto shows that the canal metropolis now known for hashish bars and legal brothels is also responsible for ideas about political, intellectual, and economic freedom that have profoundly influenced our own country. Editor's recommendation.