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Book Title: The Forge of Christendom: The End of Days and the Epic Rise of the West|
The author of the book: Tom Holland
ISBN 13: 9780385520584
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.77 MB
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Reader ratings: 5.7
Date of issue: May 5th 2009
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Tom Holland provides a thoroughly readable history, showing a sharp grasp of the history of the Dark Ages, as well as a passion for his subject. He reviews the history of Europe roughly from 900 CE to 1000.
Always in the background is the alarm about the possible end of the world, Armageddon and the promise of the return of Christ, popularly known as millennial fever, as we saw again in the 1990s and the first few years of the 21st century.
Chapter One , 'The Return of the King' discusses the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, the spread of Christianity, the invasion of the old Roman domain by Germanic and Eastern tribes , the co called 'Barbarian invasions' and the shift from power from Rome to Byzantium.
Chapter Two , 'The Old Order Changeth' charts the building up of the Frankish Empire including West Frankia which would become the Kingdom of France and East Frankia which would become the Kingdom of Germany and the roots of the Holy Roman Empire as well as the 'end of days' fears gripping Europe. It also discusses the development of the church, the Muslim threat to Constantinople and Muslim slave trade in Europe. In the lands invaded and occupied by Muslims, Christians and Jews were either slaughtered (and there was massive genocide in this regard ignored by mainstream liberal historians) or else enslaved, with slaves referred to by Mohammed and his successors as 'human livestock'. Christians and Jews once brought to acknowledge their own subjugation were not to be slaughtered or converted but carefully husbanded, as befitted a valuable resource.
"Tolerance had been carefully set at a price, the extortion of protection money from both Christians and Jews had been laid down by the Prophet as a most solemn duty of the faithful. all who paid it- dhimmis as they were termed by their Muslim conquerors-were made to feel themselves subdued". Thus began the practise of dhimmitude, the Islamic system of Apartheid that exists in many Muslim countries to this day, and is the reason for the roots of Islamic rage jihad, at being forced to be the equals of those of other faiths.
Chapter 3 , 'Yielding Place to New' provides how the Feudal System was created and took root in Europe, effectively enslaving the hitherto more free lower classes of Europe and robbing them of all they had, the effects still felt in the class system today. It also describes how the Church played a primary role in the creation of this system. And as the Bishop of Leon, Aldaberto lamented "Changed are all the orders of society! Changed utterly are the ways of men".
Chapter 4, 'Go West' discusses the shaping of Western Europe, the Vikings, the Franks, the evolution of the kingdoms of France, Germany and England, the latter with the great changing of it's social order, with the invasions of Britain by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. And the creation of the Saxon kingdoms in England.
While Chapter 5 'Apocalypse Postponed' really gets to grips with religious matters of the time in Europe, and how the Catholic Church took hold of Europe.
Chapter 6 '1066 and All That' chars the Norman invasion of England, and the consolidation of Feudalism and the domination of the Norman nobility in that country by William the Conqueror and his successors.
'Chapter 7' details the consolidation of the Holy Roman Empire , the Church in France and Germany including the importance of the Church and monastery at Cluny in France , the Popes and Papal system, and the causes of the Crusades, which were actually started (a politically incorrect but incontrovertible fact)by massacres of Christians in the Holy Land, the imposition of Islam by the sword, and the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The crusades though also influenced by political and theological issues in Europe, were essentially a reaction to this. Though the massacres of Jews by the Crusaders embarking on their mission was clearly caused by something different altogether and without justification.
Tom Holland shows a consummate understanding of Europe in the Dark Ages, and this is a highly readable and rewarding work.
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Read information about the authorAn acclaimed British author. He has written many books, both fiction and non-fiction, on many subjects from vampires to history.
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Holland was born near Oxford and brought up in the village of Broadchalke near Salisbury, England. He obtained a double first in English and Latin at Queens' College, Cambridge, and afterwards studied shortly for a PhD at Oxford, taking Lord Byron as his subject, before interrupting the post graduate studies and moving to London.
He has adapted Herodotus, Homer, Thucydides and Virgil for BBC Radio 4. His novels, including Attis and Deliver Us From Evil, mostly have a supernatural and horror element as well as being set in the past. He is also the author of three highly praised works of history, Rubicon, Persian Fire and Millennium.
He is on the committee of the Society of Authors and the Classical Association.