Through McGregors eyes, we witness... Protected in a tidal estuary from barbarian invaders and Byzantine overlords, the fishermen, salt gatherers, and traders who settled there crafted an amphibious way of life unlike anything the Roman Empire had ever known. Venice came to life on spongy mudflats at the edge of the habitable world. McGregor begins with the river currents that poured into the shallow Lagoon, carving channels in its bed and depositing islands of silt. McGregor recreates this world-turned-upside-down, with its waterways rather than roads, its boats tethered alongside dwellings, and its livelihood harvested from the sea! He then describes the imaginative responses of Venetians to the demands and opportunities of this harsh environment – transforming the channels into canals, reclaiming salt marshes for the construction of massive churches, erecting a thriving marketplace and stately palaces along the Grand Canal. In an astonishing feat of narrative history, James H.