Read De gang naar Canossa: de westerse revolutie rond het jaar 1000 by Tom Holland Free Online
Book Title: De gang naar Canossa: de westerse revolutie rond het jaar 1000|
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Reader ratings: 3.5
The author of the book: Tom Holland
Edition: Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep
Date of issue: October 1st 2010
ISBN 13: 9789025368050
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 3.91 MB
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books:
The two centuries from 900 to 1100 were a fascinating time in Europe. Somehow the centuries of chaos and decay after the fall of Rome were brought to an end and a dynamic and expansive Europe was born. This book attempts to tell the tale of those years and (according to the author in his Preface) to identify some of the key factors that contributed to Europe's rise. "Attempts" being the operative word: the telling is stylistically flawed, and the key factors insufficiently analyzed and structured.
Part of the problem is the complexity of the subject. Any book which tries to cover the end of the Dark Ages, the creation of the Middle Ages, the Christianization of northern Europe, the separation of Church and State, the rise of the Pope and the fall of Byzantium, the halting and then reversal of the tide of Islam in the West, and the genesis of the Crusades, has set itself a hard task. If on top of this it tries to explain why all these things happened as they did, well then it better be written by a literary Hercules.
All the more important then to approach the subject systematically. A clear structure is required, story-telling needs to be separated from analysis, endogenous and exogenous factors need to be distinguished, cultural, geographic, economic and military factors considered, the roots in the past as well as the consequences in the future sketched. But that's not what Holland does. Instead we get a confused mixture of story-telling and occasional analysis, repetitive emphasis of religious factors coupled with near total silence about any others, and all written in a naive and breathless style apparently intended to be reminiscent of contemporary chroniclers.
As narrative it is flawed: I was left longing for a modern voice, and the profusion of cliches, flowery language, and distracting and/or misleading references (for example, the last chapter's title is "An Inconvenient Truth", and yes, this was written after Al Gore's film was made), is just irritating.
As history, which I take to mean description and analysis of past events to help us better understand what happened and how, it is close to a failure. The central focus on Christianity is probably correct, but the rise of Papal Rome and the spread of Christianity throughout northern Europe is, it seems to me, insufficient to explain why Europe rose to dominate first the Mediterranean and then the world. There are many more parts to this story... but they are passed over or given short shrift here. As a result I am left less convinced than I might otherwise have been about the importance of Christianity in the overall process... not, I'm sure, the result that Tom Holland was hoping for.
I still read the book through to the end, because I am fascinated by the time and I learned enough that was new to me (even while gritting my teeth sometimes at the style) to make the effort worthwhile. But it could have been a so much better book than it is.
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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.