This is just terrific book: it pursues curiosity and relates dramatic events (most of them minor ones) and narrates the operations of and changes to institutions in the world in the early to mid 1600s. Beavers (poor Swedish beavers were exterminated!), silver, mixing of peoples are some of the main themes (each chapter is given its focus). The writing is just about perfect for history: not academic, not caught up excessively in drama, not moralizing; its edifying and sympathetic. A very lengthy further reading guide is included in the end.