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Feudal Society, Volume 2

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  196 ratings  ·  7 reviews
"Few have set themselves to the formidable task of reconstructing and analyzing a whole human environment; fewer still have succeeded. Bloch dared to do this and was successful; therein lies the enduring achievement of Feudal Society."—Charles Garside, Yale Review
Paperback, 229 pages
Published August 15th 1964 by University Of Chicago Press
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While I didn't like this one quite as much as Volume 1 - it lost a bit of its clarity and momentum, I think - it's still a great read. This section deals a bit more with how the feudal society laid out in the first volume, based on a weak state and the inadequacy of traditional ties of kinship, interacted with broader structures of power like kingship, empire, and a little bit on the Church.

I think Bloch is a better cultural historian than a socio-economic one. His sections on chivalry, knighth
Marc Bloch concludes his masterpiece with these revealing and significant words: “... feudalism in the West. The originality of the latter system consisted in the emphasis it placed on the idea of an agreement capable of binding the rulers; and in this way, oppressive as it may have been to the poor, it has in truth bequeathed to our Western civilization something with which we still desire to live” (452). This somewhat startling statement warrants and explains the passion and fascination he sho ...more
In the second volume we get the shifting social classes and the development of polities.

Despite the age of Bloch's work it provides along with Ganshof's Feudalism one of the basic or fundamental definitions of Feudalism. From a non-technical point of view it's also rich in detail.
Insightful and pleasant to read, Bloch's analysis of the development and maintenance of feudal structures and societies is one of the best I have read. Succinct but still rich in detail, highly recommended work from a premier medieval scholar.
The same stuff as above, but about the political institutions of the Middle Ages as opposed to prevailing conditions!
I didn't like this one as much as the first one, and he's extremely detailed, so sometimes I got lost in that.
See the review for the first volume.
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  • The Making of the Middle Ages
  • Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages
  • Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800
  • Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade
  • The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization, and Cultural Change, 950-1350
  • From Memory to Written Record: England 1066 - 1307
  • The Sicilian Vespers: A History of the Mediterranean World in the Later Thirteenth Century
  • The King's Two Bodies: A Study in Mediaeval Political Theology
  • The Perspective of the World
  • The Ties That Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England
  • Medieval Civilization 400-1500
  • Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error
  • On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State
  • The Age of the Cathedrals: Art and Society, 980-1420
  • The History of the Franks
  • Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources
  • The Waning of the Middle Ages
  • Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350
Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch (6 July 1886 in Lyon – 16 June 1944 in Saint-Didier-de-Formans) was a medieval historian, University Professor and French Army officer. Bloch was a founder of the Annales School, best known for his pioneering studies French Rural History and Feudal Society and his posthumously-published unfinished meditation on the writing of history, The Historian's Craft. He was captu ...more
More about Marc Bloch...
The Historian's Craft: Reflections on the Nature and Uses of History and the Techniques and Methods of Those Who Write It. Feudal Society, Volume 1 Strange Defeat I re taumaturghi Feudal Society

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