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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic medieval history

Great narrator, witty writing, interesting subject matter. 10/10. I have to type more words for the review to be accepted.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Fast paced

Wasn't quite what I was expecting, but gave a pretty quick paced overview of events about 100 years either side of the year 1000. I learned a few things. I thought the narrator was quite entertaining, but my wife thought he talked too fast.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Like Game of Thrones, but with less incest

This book is a phenomenal tale of Western history, full of violence and intrigue. I will definitely listen to it a couple more times. Be prepared to hear a ton of names, and to learn about a ton of figures in the history of Christendom.

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Disjointed

Good material, but disjointed, and ends abruptly. Very much a cursory overview of the era.

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Amazing story and fantastic narration

This was a complete and compelling story about the millennium. The narration was the best I have ever heard. This is the first narrator better than Derek Perkins.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful