Witold Rybczynski (review date 28 June 1987)
SOURCE: “The Burgher Kings,” in Washington Post Book World, June 28, 1987, pp. 1, 13.
[In the following review, Rybczynski offers a positive assessment of The Embarrassment of Riches.]
Like all good histories, Simon Schama's masterly investigation of Dutch culture in the 17th century—its so-called Golden Age—illuminates not only the past but also the present. Which is not to say that this book makes any facile analogies; Schama—a Harvard professor—is much too serious a historian for that. But the question that he asks in The Embarrassment of Riches is one that has recognizably modern overtones: How does a culture cope with sudden economic success?...
(The entire section is 988 words.)