From Yale professor Valerie Hansen, a history showing that bold explorations and daring trade missions connected all of the world’s great societies for the first time at the end of the first millennium.
... fascinating ... Hansen draws upon nearly 30 years of research to make her case. She has examined contemporary records, travelogues, art, artifacts and more, and consulted with archaeologists, Arabic scholars and other experts around the world to paint the fullest cross-cultural picture possible ... At times, Hansen’s narrative bogs down in mind-numbing descriptions of dynasties and tribes. Occasionally, too, her use of the professorial 'we,' in phrases like 'as we’ll see in the next chapter,' is irksome, drawing the reader out of the world she has created and into the lecture hall. But these are minor disturbances in an otherwise highly impressive, deeply researched, lively and imaginative work.
... a gripping account of exploration and ingenuity, sweeping across the economic alliances and great networks of trade that connected disparate regions around the globe. By touching down in different parts of the world at that precise moment, Ms. Hansen reveals the social and economic changes that linked individuals and societies in astonishing ways ... Ms. Hansen effectively describes how the forces of globalization changed peoples’ lives ... The cliché about traveling the world from the comfort of one’s home has never seemed more appropriate—or indeed so enticing. The coronavirus pandemic has effectively shut down society and isolated countries, communities and individuals. Through this generous and accessible distillation of global history, Ms. Hansen opens our minds to a world where it was still possible to venture, fearlessly, into the unknown.
Hansen argues quite persuasively about the role of the Norse in creating new ways of trade and exploring different parts of the world ... Much of what is described here has only been fully understood in recent decades, as science has advanced to aid archaeology. Satellite mapping of terrain and DNA testing of remains have allowed narratives to be linked in ways scholars could only surmise in the past. I was fascinated to learn that the Norse made it to Madeira before the Portuguese — and that this was proved by the DNA of mice that came along for the trip. The Year 1000 is a tour-de-force and offers many new ways of thinking about the past.