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Going Dutch: How England Plundered Holland's Glory [Hardcover]

Lisa Jardine
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: £25.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 April 2008

A fascinating exploration of the relationship of competition and assimilation between England and the Netherlands during the 17th century, revealing how Dutch tolerance, resilience and commercial acumen effectively conquered England by permanently reshaping the intellectual landscape long before Dutch monarchs sat on the English throne.

Working backwards from the bloodless revolution that set William and Mary of Orange on the English throne in 1688, this bold and ambitious work redefines the history of cultural and commercial interconnection between two of the world’s most powerful trading empires at a time of great intellectual and geographical discovery.

Weaving together the lives of the great thinkers of the time, Jardine demonstrates how individuals such as Anton van Leeuwenhoek, Christiaan Huygens and Margaret Cavendish, usually depicted as instances of isolated genius, in fact evolved within a context of easy Anglo-Dutch exchange that laid the groundwork for the European Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution.

This fascinating history of big ideas and remarkable individuals denounces the traditional view that the rise of England as a world power took place at the expense of the Dutch, asserting instead that what is usually interpreted as the decline of the Dutch trading empire was in fact a ‘passing on’ of the baton to an England expanding in power and influence. In so doing, Jardine not only challenges traditional interpretations of the role of the British Empire in Enlightenment Europe, but also raises probing questions about the position in which post-Empire Britain finds itself today.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress; 1st edition (1 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007197322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007197323
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 483,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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‘At the heart of Lisa Jardine’s beautifully written and illustrated new book is a wonderfully vivid and richly layered account of 17th-century cultural interactions between England and the Dutch.’ Times Higher Education

‘In Lisa Jardine’s stimulating survey of Anglo-Dutch cross-currents, the events of 1688, which put William, ‘Stadtholder’ of the Dutch Republic, on the English throne along with his wife Mary, are ultimately seen less as an invasion, and more as a merger of two societies with a great deal in common.’ Waterstones Books Quarterly

‘[A] meticulous study…the essential point of the book…lies in its perception of a larger culture that joined Holland and England. They were united both in theory and in practice across a whole range of pursuits…It is a remarkable phase of 17th century culture that has generally been overlooked. In ‘Going Dutch’ it is brought back to life.’ The Times

‘An exciting vision and the way Jardine describes these ‘circuits of transmission’ makes one long to have been alive in the 17th century…[a] stimulating book [which] generates a long list of new questions.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Jardine remarks that her book has merely ‘scratched the surface’ of her chosen subject. This is unduly modest: in fact, it digs far deeper and unearths far more…than this recusatio would suggest. That there is more yet to be uncovered is not a criticism of this book, but a testimony to the extraordinary breadth, richness and complexity of the terrain its author has mapped out and made her own.’ Literary Review

‘Jardine has numerous beautifully researched tales to tell about the cultural exchanges which Hugyens facilitated…this fascinating study will and should inspire further research into our Dutch heritage.’ Dianne Purkiss, The Independent


'Jardine energettically argues that the symbiosis of Anglo-Dutch culture is a much overlooked prelude to the Glorious Revolution.'
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Going Dutch 4 Jan 2011
This is an enthralling book. It is a "sociable" history, the key figure being Constantijn Huygens, a real renaissance man, and his activities within and between Holland and England during the course of the 17th century. Huygens' many relationships in many different spheres, especially diplomatic, are set in the context of the political and military traumas which both countries had endured or were still enduring.

The scientific, philosophical and political exchanges between both countries are portrayed on a very human scale with the many quotations from the writings of those who were involved in them. Jardine notes that collaboration in scientific endeavour continued despite the regular wars between England and Holland, and also notes the connection between trade and commerce, and the spread of scientific knowledge. The book concentrates on a handful of privileged and particularly able individuals, but this maintains its focus, and emphasises the influence that individuals can and do have on national and international affairs.

My favourite quotation is on p.366, by William Brereton: "It is no wonder that these Dutchmen should thrive before us. Their statesmen are all merchants. They have travelled in foreign countries, they understand the course of trade, and they do everything to further its interests." If only this were a pre-requisite for modern aspiring politicians.

I should declare an interest - I am an English engineer who lives in Voorburg in Holland, close to Huygens' house Hofwijk, the Huygens family are naturally local heroes, and Christiaan Huygens is a very important scientific figure for me. But this makes this book all the more attractive.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rich, but heavy going 14 Jun 2009
By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER
This book examines the interaction between English and Dutch culture in the 17th century, and one of its themes is that these relations were were very close long before the reign of William and Mary; and in fact Lisa Jardine ends her story around 1690, and deals hardly at all with the Dutch influence in England after that time.

She begins with the political background. In the first chapter we are told of the sheer scale of the fleet and army with which William of Orange invaded England in 1688 and reminds us that London experienced an occupation by Dutch troops for the next two years. Lisa Jardine shows how meticulously the invasion had been planned, especially with regard to the propaganda which accompanied it, much of it under the guidance of Gilbert Burnet. This managed to convey the idea that William's purpose had been to save England from a Catholic dictatorship which was alien to it; but she also makes the well-established point that it was a strategic necessity for the Dutch to prevent England cooperating again, as it had one in 1672, with Louis XIV's obvious aggressive designs against the United Provinces.

In the following chapters Lisa Jardine goes back a couple of generations to show the close dynastic relationship between the Stuarts and the House of Orange. The latter had, for the last two generations, behaved more and more like a hereditary monarchy with lavish courts, and had established dynastic links with the Stuarts: the Stadtholder Frederick Henry had married his son, the future William II, to Mary, the daughter of Charles I; William II in turn had married his son, the future William III, to Mary, the daughter of the future James II.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and very readable 25 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I knew about the 'Glorious Revolution' from school but I didn't realise that it was really a Dutch Invasion
with a huge fleet sailing through the Channel and Dutch troops based in London.
The book is much more than just history - see the cover.
I dont often write reviews for Amazon but I would like to recommend this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Generally rewarding, if occasionally rather dry 16 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this entertaining study of British history from the late seventeenth century Professor Jardine analyses he steps that brought about the Glorious Revolution which saw James II deposed in favour of his daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange. While everyone remembers the failed Spanish Armada of 1588, the far larger and more effective Dutch invasion fleet that set out against Britain exactly one hundred years later tends to be overlooked in the communal shared memory of history (at least in Britain!).

However, although Britain was either openly at war with, or at least in a state of muted belligerence towards, Holland throughout much of the 1670s and 1680s, there was a flourishing exchange of cultural endeavour, and even the open correspondence about scientific and technological advances (even though many of them were of military value). This was, after all, a golden age for science, which saw the launch of the Royal Society under the patronage of Charles II.

This is territory that Professor Jardine has already richly harvested in her biographies of Wren and Hooke, and "Ingenious Pursuits", her history of the Scientific Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment. She writes with a great clarity that lets her immense enthusiasm shine through. Of course, it is not at all surprising that she should show such zest for the pursuit of knowledge - after all, her father was Professor Jacob Bronowski. However, her particular gift is the ability to convey that enthusiasm to her readers, even those without a strong scientific grounding themselves.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Cultural myopia
The book leaves the impression that Lisa Jardine would have benefited from the services of a good editor, who might have persuaded her that including, apparently, every last piece... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rainborough
3.0 out of 5 stars Going Dutch - worthy but not spectacularly interesting.
Lisa Jardine wrote a much better book about much the same period in "The Curious Life of Robert Hooke: The Man who Measured London". Read more
Published on 30 April 2012 by Bill Sloman
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating & Informative
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I will continue to use it to 'dip-into' now and then for reminders and new information. Read more
Published on 31 Mar 2011 by keithy
2.0 out of 5 stars Double Dutch
Jardine writes in the style of many social documentaries on commercial TV channels, where it is presumed that the viewer or reader looses interest and attention after a while and... Read more
Published on 9 Oct 2009 by Wiard M.A. Sterk
5.0 out of 5 stars Going Dutch
I really loved Lisa Jardine's 'Going Dutch'. Compelling, thought-provoking and meticulously researched, this is a fascinating study of a larger culture that connected England and... Read more
Published on 7 July 2008 by Leah S G
1.0 out of 5 stars Misleading and disappointing.
Do not buy this book because of its title or its dust cover picture. These appear to have been designed to sell the book, and are misleading. Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2008 by J. Parkinson
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