Notes: A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Book Notes

I just finished the heaviest read so far in my pandemic reads list, Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror, about the 14th century, loosely an account of the European experience of the Black Death. It is a 784-page monster and I read it in 15-30 minute chunks at bedtime over 68 days, while live-tweeting it.

I was going to try and reshape my live-tweeting into an actual longform review/summary, but people seemed to like the live/fresh feel of the livetweeting, so I decided to just clean up and post the thread here as notes, with some light editing, linking, and addition of a few post-twitter [editorial additions]. This is also a book that benefits from a lot of Wikipedia bunnytrailing on the side, and I found myself doing a lot of reading about characters and events mentioned in passing. I’ve linked a selection of those to these notes.

Aside: if you like this format, let me know. I have a bunch of threads on Twitter that are probably suitable for this sort of light-touch blogification.

***

Next pandemic live read, Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror, a history of the 14th century through the life of a single minor nobleman whose life was coextensive with the main events, especially the Black Death.

This is the rare history book that is so engrossing it’s competing and winning against the Terry Pratchett I’m reading (Maskerade) for bedtime escapist relaxation. The 14th century is the right shit show to compare too. Our pandemic so far has been paradise by comparison.

Introduction is an excellent apologia for shortcomings of historical research methodology. Problems or missing/noisy data, biases of eras of historiography etc are deftly discussed. Choice of Enguerrand de Coucy as lens of the story explained.

First chapter is a sketch of French society, especially the Coucys milieu, at the start of the story. It’s a feudal decentralized polity with weak monarchy, strong sumptuary laws and merchant class slowly buying its freedom from bankrupt crusading nobility. Status currency is being debased.

Second chapter is discussion of the deep corruption of the Church in the years following France king Philip IV “the fair” takedown of Pope Boniface and the papacy moving to Avignon and basically turning into a sort of super corrupt Davos set.

Learned about Simony. The church was basically a deep state for sale. Purely commercial enterprise. Offices being sold to highest bidder, illiterates being appointed to clergy, all sins washable with money. They were practically asking heaven for a plague.

This book is not recommended if you want reassurance that we’ve been through worse and returned to normal. It’s building up like a doomsday story and we already know how bad it gets. Spoiler alert: DOOM!

Life for commoners sounds horrible even before the Black Death. Caught between a venal church and a crappy nobility being invaded by a social climbing merchant class. No wonder they clung as fervently to the idea of an afterlife as we do to the idea of a reopening.

Everybody hates the church in the 14th century it seems. Including reformers within who think it ought to reflect Jesus ideal of poverty. Franciscans excommunicated for such ideas. Kings resist Pope’s right to crown emperor. Merchants change at silly economics.

Weird just how much centralized power the church laid claim to, and with corrupt staff at that, purely on the strength of a claim to gate-keeping salvation. Interesting contrast to Hinduism, where there was an equally strong claim, but no central Pope making the claim [a broad marketplace of sects/priestly orders plays the corresponding intercessionary role].

Whoa. This is insane.

To ensure that no one gained an advantage over anyone else, commercial law prohibited innovation in tools or techniques, underselling below a fixed price, working late by artificial light, employing extra apprentices or wife and underage children, or advertising of wares or praising them to the detriment of others.

Long section on how extremely communal guild life was. Capitalists pretty much owned towns and had captured city governments. Town and rural poor equally oppressed.

Also TIL about 1320 Pastoureaux that began as rebellion against oppression and ended in slaughter of Jews.

The 14th century really couldn’t come to terms with the necessity of interest [on debt], and the result was antisemitism as a sort of economic doctrine. Christian usury prohibitions grounded in economic illiteracy made periodic slaughter of Jews necessary to balance the budget?

Chapter 2 ends on the cusp of war between France and England with the father of our hero drawn in via complicated marriage alliances, dowries, military commitments in exchange for money etc. Our hero Enguerrand de Coucy, who I will call Eng, is born.

Chapter 3 is a pretty thorough portrait of medieval life in Eng’s milieu. Reads like a history text. Lots of details on child-rearing, education, economic life etc. No big surprises so this is a bit boring. It does surprisingly resemble cartoon views (Monty Python, King Arthur).

Life kinda sucks, the world doesn’t change, progress is not a concept, everybody is waiting to either die or the second coming when there is a lottery chance it will suck less.

Knights must learn how to fight, ride, and… hawk? Why hawks? Toy drones of the time I guess. Familiar names popping up: Petrarch, Dante, Ockham. The whole description sounds fairly close to Indian history of the time, which I know better. Just slightly more technologically advanced, and significantly better peasant/commoner conditions. Life is rough. Wouldn’t want it.

Yet if the [chivalric] code was but a veneer over violence, greed, and sensuality, it was nevertheless an ideal, as Christianity was an ideal, toward which man’s reach, as usual, exceeded his grasp.

Great sentence.

***

Well, with a quick account of the Battle of Crécy and the start of the Hundred Years War, we’re officially into the plague chapters. Tuchman moves very fast through this, 1948-49. It is depressingly and uncannily similar to what we’re going through. Way more death of course, but similar dynamics: poor dying more, animals running wild, labor shortage,…

The sense of a vanishing future created a kind of dementia of despair.
…Fields went uncultivated, spring seed unsown. Second growth with nature’s awful energy crept back over cleared land, dikes crumbles, salt water reinvaded and soured the lowlands

One big difference: they had no idea how it spread. Didn’t even suspect fleas and rats apparently. Though rats were associated with pestilence generally (the Pied Piper story is from 1284 it seems). That’s our one big advantage. Perhaps the main one.

Both bubonic and pneumonic plagues were present together so the miasma theory was not entirely wrong even though they thought it was stinky air and malign astrology that caused air transmission. They also believed in sight transmission. Must have been total FUD.

The official explanation was an astrological one from the professors of the University of Paris. They were widely translated, leading to growth in national languages as a positive effect. Kinda like internet today I guess.
Lots of prayer and religious life cleansing.

“When it became clear that these [penitence] processions were sources of infection, [Pope] Clement VI had to prohibit them” (initially authorized by the pope). [Shades of Trump rallies?]

Long section on predictable antisemitism followed by fascinating but, new to me, about how flagellants were a heretical movement that challenged the intercessionary authority of priests by claiming their self-flagellation as saving humanity/Christianity.

Apparently very few broad generalizations can be made about the effects of the Black Death. For every claimed effect in one place there was an opposite one elsewhere.

Labor shortage and stronger peasant/artisan position was the strongest broad effect. Inflation/wages spiral. The church got generally richer through legacies and Clement VI 1350 jubilee, where you could get absolutions for money. But it grew much more hated. I guess the seeds of the reformation were planted here.

TIL about mendicant orders which some in the church tried to have banned.

Tuchman argues that dissatisfaction with the meaninglessness of the suffering, with no changes for the better, is what unleashed the social forces of change. Argues it created modern man, hungry for a better answer than mysterious will of god.

Interesting: in the wake of the Black Death, both England and France raised knightly orders nostalgically modeled on King Arthur’s round table, with the practical purpose of preventing independent withdrawal by feudals in battle. Chivalry was already a fandom LARPin 1351.

The orders were the Order of the Garter on the English side, and Order of the Star on the French side. This stupid affair, The Combat of the Thirty, was apparently the aspirational model of combat.

Now we’re on to examples of how the whole era was full of ultra-violent psychopaths killing each other, like Charles of Navarre. Tuchman suggests perhaps as a result of Black Death memento mori. This era is motorcycle gangs basically.

Pandemics cause Hobbesian conditions. Honor killings, rape, torture, heads on stakes, arms, legs, ears cut off for crimes…These are horrible, miserable people. Why does fantasy fiction love this age so much again?

Not an age for smart people.
Ok these people are the worst.

Tuchman offers theory that since neglect was the standard of childcare till age 7 or so, everyone grew up severely messed up. Sounds about right. A world where having a serial killer psyche is the norm, and being nice is a form of mental illness.

Money printer go brr. King Jean tries to get clever debasing currency and trying to reform the military. Long account of Battle of Poitiers, another debacle for the French. The 100 years war seems to develop one confused and stupid battle at a time. Each is Harambe-like.

Complaints were heard that the archers had killed too many who might have been held for ransom

This business of capturing enemy knights for ransom is hilarious. The business model was ransoms. Like Latin American gangs today. Military objectives had to compete with ransom objectives.

This tension between archers (remote work, pragmatic war) and knights (melee work, honor war) appears to have been a much bigger deal than I thought. It’s like Jane Jacobs commerce vs guardian syndromes. Archers = win effectively, via strategery. Knights = honor points.

The French apparently underutilized their archers for honor reasons. Besides being limited to crossbows and lacking longbow capacity. Must resist crossbow vs longbow Internet bunny trail and return to book.

Now we’re talking commerce and urban life in Paris. Apparently streets didn’t have names then and people spent hours lost. Also curfew on economic production work after dark and sumptuary laws still constraining conspicuous consumption.

Guardian > Commerce. Economy no go brrr.

… furniture was meager. Beds, which served for sitting as well as sleeping, were the most important item. Chairs were few: even kings and popes received ambassadors sitting on beds

1357, third estate under provost Étienne Marcel gets Dauphin to fire old cronies of King Jean captured by English and sign Great Ordinance of 1357, a sort of Magna Carta of third estate. Jean repudiates it from captivity.

Long section on brigand bands, some the size of small armies ravaging France as it became ungoverned. English knights staying behind to loot after Poitiers and ransomed and bankrupt French knights joining them. Gallantry gone rotten. Medieval Mad Max.

These English bands in 14th century France, looting merrily in a nominal truce during the Hundred Years War, are basically what we’d call terrorists today, except they had no ideology beyond loot. Reminds me of post-Soviet-withdrawal transformation of Mujahideen into terror groups.

Country families hastened with their goods to take refuge in cities, monks and nuns abandoned their monasteries, highways and roads were unsafe

So cities were like Rivendell in LOTR 🤔

Third estate assault on Dauphin/regent loses support of nobility. So now it’s peasants plus third estate vs nobility and lame-duck monarchy. Meanwhile King Jean is living luxuriously in England as captive waiting to be ransomed. French still trying to do so despite extreme terms.

Now into the Jacquerie rebellion of 1358. When nobility turn to vampiric brigandage, clearly peasantry must turn into zombie mobs. Am rooting for peasants here though. They were the less awful people. Seriously exploited. This is like Trumps vs Trumpies.

Ah shit. Clearly I backed the wrong conceptual horse here as Rick would say. The Jacques have been slaughtered by the knights. Bloodbath.

This era in Europe is relentlessly stupid with no redeeming qualities. Just pointless slaughter, plague, and general shittiness. No wonder it triggered the Age of Exploration in the next century. Who would want to live like this?

“…short of a fluke like the capture of a king at Poitiers, medieval armies had no means of achieving a decisive result, much less a surrender.”

On Edwards’s weird campaign in France in the winter if 1358 trying to exact the biggest possible ransom for Jean.

The Treaty of Bretigny… this is some weird-ass shit. Large territorial claims insured by exchanging a king for a bunch of nobility? Apparently this was the occasion when the first franc was minted.

Our hero, Enguerrand de Coucy is among the nobles exchanged for the king. Eng is apparently going to end up as the son-in-law of Edward III [winner at Poitiers]… this hostage/ransom shit among royalty was all very nominal. The royalty treated each other like royalty.

***

Writer dude Jean Froissart is on the ship carrying noble hostages back to England. He’s gonna make Eng famous. Geoffrey Chaucer is also onboard. Eng is curiously lifeless so far in this long 7-chapter setup. Finally he’s getting foregrounded. I never read the Canterbury Tales [supposed to be very liminal, kinda like our times].

It’s a be somebody or do something century. Tuchman says unless you were royalty nobody cared about your appearance or character. You were known only by your deeds. Curious kind of dehumanization. Much klout. Very karma.

No live portraits of Eng exist, only one painted 200 years after his death. He was apparently tall, dark, and handsome. And could sing and dance well. Basically a generic harlequin romance cover hero.

1361, plague is back after 12 years. Everybody is gloom-and-doom. This is relentless shittiness. Including actual shit. London is awash in manure apparently. No wonder the rich lived a barbell life of death sports and nihilistic hedonism.

Between the happening of a historical process, and its recognition by rulers, a lag stretched, full of pitfalls.

The rulers here are half-criminal brigands anyway. The poor really seem to need the monarch for hope.

Now into the story of Eng and his spoiled bride-to-be, Isabella Kardashian-Hilton. Woman sounds awful.

Chapter about women. Seems like the age had a theory of submission around women’s role in the works but in practice they had a lot more unofficial agency than anyone admitted. They ran things while the men were off fighting or being held ransom etc.

Eng and Isabella now married, with 2 daughters. It’s 1367 and they’ve been given a lot of wealth, titles and territory in both England and France. Dude’s married up. Still not come to life though. Isabella is better portrayed so far.

Eng and Isabella now back to France, 3/4 of which is now overrun by brigand companies who are getting institutionalized. Description is a bit like gang-run Mexico or Afghanistan today. Except line between them and “legitimate” royalty/nobility is really just a matter of taste.

The old king Jean and Pope Innocent are now dead. Charles V and the new Pope Urban try to export the brigand companies to Hungary for a crusade against Turks and fail, but succeed in exporting them to Spain where Anglo-French proxy war is unfolding under excuse of fighting Moors. This is very confusing 4d chess.

Also the brigands are weirdly religious enough to demand both loot and absolution when attacking the clergy. Everybody tries to pay off brigands to go away with other people’s money. Stationary bandits pay off roaming bandits with OPM.

Brigands are zeroth estate really. Includes both fuckit knights and even destitute clergy. First and second estate are trying to get rid of them by taxing the third to the limit. Had anyone made up zeroth estate concept? If not I claim it. Hobbesian ground state of humanity.

Adding this side read. How the Black Death Gave Rise to British Pub Culture

Another side read: knights vs archers, contemporaneous Indian edition.

Back to the story. It’s around 1368 now. Coucy frees serfs for rent. The nobility appears to be slowly healing after 2 decades of war and plague. The brigand companies have been foisted onto Spain. Life sucks for most people but nobility is doing ok.

Long passage now about the Visconti family of Italy who sound like psycho gangsters. They are challenging papal forces. Brigand company called the White Company fights on all sides of all conflict. Hobbesian ergodicity going on here. [Mercenary John Hawkwood features prominently]

[May 30 tweet, during George Floyd protests] Here we go. Looting and explosions and sirens and choppers in DTLA outside as we pick up the story in 1360s Italy.

Another boom outside my window. Fireworks?

Meanwhile in 14th century Italy Duke Lionel of England dies after marrying Violante Visconti at a lavish wedding, and elsewhere Philip of Burgundy marries Marguerite of Flanders which will apparently have consequences later.

The amount the rich could squander on occasions like these in a period of repeated disasters appears inexplicable, not so much with regard to motive as with regard to means. Where, in the midst of ruin and decline… did the money come from to endow the luxury?

France and England back at war. Eng begs neutrality and goes off to fight in papal-Visconti wars instead. Wins glory in futile war that changes nothing and returns with honor to a France that’s winning. Plague back for third wave, Petrarch and Boccaccio dead. 1374.

This section is a bit of a slog. Tedious chapter in the 100 years war. Very grimdark wind-down of futile shit. Age of chivalry slowly dying, nobody achieving any strategic aims. Key figures aging and dying. Eng has had a charmed career so far.

Second half of book is turning into a bit of a drag. First half was going brrrr. Not author’s fault. The material is like our time. Running out of manic pandemic energy. Eng off to fight a war in Austria to claim some title. Financed by French monarchy to get rid of companies. This is the Gugler war. The mercenary army was barely in control, pillaging along the way. Half the intent was to lose them. So this was an attack on Switzerland against a dowry claimed from Austria. Swiss peasants beat back French-English mercenary knight brigands and this battle paved the way for Swiss independence later. Kinda interesting. Swiss and Flemish peasants were rare commoner non-losers.

Dowries and marriages were like corporate board memberships looks like. High nobles all had claims on all sorts of titles all over Europe, via succession calculus. Church exercised power by sanctioning some consanguineous marriages but not others. Everybody was cousins.

Fairly decent system for keeping ownership circulating in a fixed elite class of nobles since they didn’t marry out of the class. Feudal estates = crony corporations. Distant claimants of titles via dowries etc = activist shareholders. Buncha Carl Icahns basically.

Most of the wars were carefully justified as just wars. Paper trails for religious-legal reasons. The church was sort of a spiritual SEC. Ransom ops make sense as stock and debt deals. This was just a very violent and inefficient capital market.

Humanity has always been depressingly stupid, violent, and apathetic. Earth should just be demolished by Vogons to make the hyperspace bypass. On some key fronts we’ve learned nothing of importance in 700 years.

Funny how they endowed perpetual rents on monasteries for perpetual prayers for their souls while going off to fight in constant corporate raider type wars. Hobbesian eternity with afterlife insurance. They really thought nothing would ever change on earth or heaven. Grimdark. Today’s equivalent: corporate barons endowing universities in perpetuity to eternally keep the family name laundered and clean forever.

***

Back to this slog. Coucy returns to England in dual role as son-in-law to Edward looking in on lands, and emissary of France on the DL to broker peace. England is now in same shit of depopulation, brigandage, and restive peasants. The legend of Robin Hood is growing in popularity.

Kinda interesting. The knights had their Arthurian legends, the peasants their Robin Hood and William Tells. Never noticed the Europe-wide pattern.

Now reading about John Wycliffe who laid the seeds of secession from Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism to come centuries later. Never heard of him. Doh realization that Brexit is not the first English secession from an EU. It all makes sense now.

Damn everybody of importance in this story is really young. Under 40 mostly. We are such an old society.

I’m beginning to suspect this story won’t have a happy ending.

My mansion must have a robot seneschal. Wtf how do I not have a seneschal. This is unfair.

Tables turned. France ascendant, Edward III and Black Prince both dead. Eng finally picks a side, the winning one, forfeiting both English allegiance and property and wife Isabella.

French raid England triggering peasants rebellion. Karmic meat grinder here.

Apparently this was when nationalism began superseding feudal allegiances crafted by marriages. Eng’s divorce was symbolic. This was when the channel became basis of boundary between England and France rather than noble family land titles. Nobility= tax-haven corps today.

I’m struck by how much religion was an economics theory back then. Indulgences, confession, absolution, heaven/hell, grace: these were all monetary concepts in 14th century with church being spiritual bank. Even used metaphor of Jesus paying off debt of sins, treasury of merit.

Modern idea that economics is a religion is false. Traditional religion when seriously believed and practiced is an economics. Modern half-assed religiosity is more like a fandom hobby. Abrahamic and karmic religions are schools of afterlife economics. With fiscal/monetary policy.

Very interesting chapter on the visit of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV to Paris in 1377 to visit his nephew Charles V [there’s a whole book about it]. Dog and pony show to legitimate former’s resumption of hostilities with England. Lots of pomp.

Segues into account of mystic sects like the Brethren of the Free Spirit. Wikipedia has a page on everything. I’d never heard of this. Church was basically a bank so people looked elsewhere for spiritual needs.

Magic, black magic, witch burning and some early rational philosophy. 1370s were basically intellectual bankruptcy proceedings.

This guy, Nicholas Oresme, seems alright.

Finally at halfway point of book. Lengthy telenovela type chapter on papal succession conflict, attempted return of papacy from Avignon to Rome, Catherine of Siena, and much else. This is deep inside baseball of European history. Kinda tedious. Pope Urban vs Pope Clement schism splits EU.

Now into commoners revolts in England, Netherlands and France.

Pattern: they revolt over taxes, are suppressed brutally, bunch of executions, ceremonial apologies and heavy fines follow, king distributes fines to nobles doing the suppressing.

Big lesson from this book: never bet on the commoners. They get their periodic opportunities to blow up violently but pay a heavy price later. Being a countryside noble is good. Being a town noble is sketchy. Being upper bourgeoisie is dangerous. Being Jewish is very dangerous.

***

Now several chapters into Part 2, Rise of Coucy. Not as much to summarize or highlight since it’s more biographical. Our hero goes on diplomatic missions and military campaigns, plays a part in court intrigues etc. Among the better reps of a decadent class.

On [poet] Eustache Deschamps:

Deschamps is a scold but not an advocate of fundamental change… he is a bourgeois in sympathy, deplores injustice to the peasant… but he denounces peasants who attempt to become squires

Contemporary verse about Louis 1, Duc d’Orleans. Apparently a mix of hedonist and ascetic, and a gambling addicted politically ambitious scholar.

Sorrowing, even sad, yet beautiful;
He seemed too melancholy for one
Whose heart was hard as steel

Evil uncles removed from scene in France and Coucy gets to be the Grand Butler to Charles VI. Various intrigues that sound like a cross between Seinfeld and bizarro Camelot. General bloodiness seems to have given way to palace intrigues with young kings in England and France.

Everything seems to be falling apart by the late 1380s, but our man Coucy is doing well for himself. A ghostly portrait is starting to emerge: balding, sage, epitome of chivalry and knightly virtue but apparently not the vices that are rotting the median knight.

This book just goes on and on piling on the shittiness. Dumb mini-crusade against Tunisia (the Mahdia or Barbary Crusade). Tedious religious crap, a bad king Wenceslas. I suspect we’re headed for an exhausted whimper of an unhappy ending.

Even Tuchman’s writing cannot redeem this last decade. It just exhausting stupid intrigues among elites. General condition is ghoulish fascination with death. Death cults on the rise. Death masks, obsession with rotting corpses, danse macabre on the rise.

[Rotting corpses featured in the new style of funeral effigies, which showed the decaying body rather than healthy. Book talks about Guillaume de Hersigy whose monument started the trend apparently].

Generally impressed by the sheer amount of 14th century information that seems to be available to historians. This whole reconstruction is very vivid. I’d like to watch a solid TV show based on this book.

Mad king Charles VI on throne for decades. Makes Trump look actually stable if not a genius. Evilunclocracy in England and France. Rise of occult and magic. Torture and extraction of confessions to devil worship a routine way to cancel people. OG cancel culture. We are at 1393.

Well, more intrigues in Italy and a misguided crusade (the 1396 Crusade of Nicopolis) later, out man Coucy is dead in Turkish captivity waiting to be ransomed. Kinda sad. He’s the hero of this story even though he never quite comes alive. Tuchman chose him because his life intersected a lot of key events.

He’s a better example of chivalry and missing the corrupting weaknesses of the class. Sagacious and level-headed. Tuchman suggests he might have been a Washington style leader in a non-monarchical time but I don’t buy it. He comes across as a COO type. Execution, not vision.

Tuchman’s own tldr of the ~60 years spanned by Coucy’s life: elites had exciting times, commoners had “plague, pillage and taxes.” Book does a fair job balancing the two, if favoring elite storyline a bit. Fair because there’s more to tell. Elites were mobile and had more agency.

Whew after a whistle-stop tour to the Middle Ages nadir in the 1450s and an epilogue tracing the fate of the Coucy estate into modernity, we’re finally done. Long-ass book but now I am an expert on the long 14th century++.

tldr: lousy-ass century. Not recommended for time travel.

History books are always unsatisfying and don’t end cleanly. The part she rushed through in 1 chapter to stick the landing (1400-1453) is probably worth its own book. Joan of Arc, Agincourt, etc.

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About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat is the founder and editor-in-chief of ribbonfarm. Follow him on Twitter

Comments

  1. Modern idea that economics is a religion is false. Traditional religion when seriously believed and practiced is an economics.

    History is full of curious inversions. German nationalism started as a leftist, anti-French project and was suppressed by conservatives / reactionaries, slavery abolition was launched by conservative Christians and so on. It is as if sentiment or emotional energy is invested into political or religious projects by different groups at different times. A revised Hitlerism ( a teaching of the eternal race war ) which comes out of the woke movement may be the newest kid on the block.

    However, with religion as economics, religion became sort of Turing complete. It could now express traits of a different subsystem – but that doesn’t flow naturally from its foundations and as we see in the history of 14-th century, people were ripe for a new political economy.

  2. You might check out the (video series) Purdue University professor-led Great Course called The Black Death – which expounds on contextual questions you found in A Distant Mirror, references additional historical sources to ADM (which is also referenced, but only a couple times) and places the entire Great Mortality in a much larger context: other pandemics, as a catalyst for societal change and artistic innovation, its impact on feudalism, its composition of multiple high-fatality diseases called ‘plague’ lasting near 300 years, the Church’s importance to basic European organization (far more than any ‘deep state’ – it was the largest landowner in Europe, and still is one of the largest in the world), and even explains the hawking. Amazon Prime had the series on last month. (A bit repetitive from lecture to lecture, because clearly they want each lecture to make sense on its own, but I’m not gonna forget what the 3 estates are now.) She also references several solidly researched historical fictional works with the Great Mortality as a main theme.

  3. Aside: if you like this format, let me know. I have a bunch of threads on Twitter that are probably suitable for this sort of light-touch blogification.

    +1 Very coherent reading. It might an even better idea than the blogchain to extract and polish such streams.

  4. This was a fun read, thanks! Really appreciate the economics lesson and a new perspective on capital allocation

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