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Publisher's Summary

At the approach of the first millennium, the Christians of Europe did not seem likely candidates for future greatness. Weak, fractured, and hemmed in by hostile nations, they saw no future beyond the widely anticipated Second Coming of Christ. 

But when the world did not end, the peoples of Western Europe suddenly found themselves with no choice but to begin the heroic task of building a Jerusalem on Earth. 

In The Forge of Christendom, Tom Holland masterfully describes this remarkable new age, a time of caliphs and Viking sea kings, the spread of castles, and the invention of knighthood. It was one of the most significant departure points in history: the emergence of Western Europe as a distinctive and expansionist power.

©2008 Tom Holland (P)2018 Tantor

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From Charlemange to Cannosa

Tom Holland's gift lies in capturing the spirit and feeling of an age as if you were living through it yourself. The arc of this story flows from the time of Charlemagne to the First Crusade, with the interactions of the Popes and Holy Roman Emperors providing the backbone of the narrative. In lovely Holland prose, he also dives into great detail into the rise of castles and monasteries in France, the wonders of Al-Andalus, and the transformation of the Northmen from pagans to Christian kings. As the Bayeux Tapestry features on the cover, the Duke of Normandy's conquest of England is given an extremely well-contextualized treatment as well. If you enjoyed In the Shadow of the Sword, Rubicon, or Dynasty, pick this up.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful