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Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  1,697 Ratings  ·  156 Reviews
* Tom Holland, author of RUBICON and PERSIAN FIRE, gives a thrilling panoramic account of the birth of the new Western Europe in the year 1000
Hardcover, 476 pages
Published September 18th 2008 by Little Brown and Company (first published 2008)
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Dec 02, 2008 Guy rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
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 structure ...more
I had my ups and downs with this book, but all in all I enjoyed it. If you are into history, then this is really only a retelling of everything you already know from 900AD to 1100AD with some history of religion and religious houses thrown in. Whilst I am very familiar with England's history during this phase, along with the Saracen's and the Northmen, I did learn much about France and the Wends and the Hungarians. Good book. It made me want to try another of Holland's books. I think I'll try Pe ...more
Justin Evans
Jun 10, 2012 Justin Evans rated it liked it
Shelves: history-etc
A classic example of the 'don't expect Barolo when you're drinking Vinho Verde' class; this is airplane history and as such quite successful- easy to read and rollicking tales, backed up by little analysis and couched as a tendentious and quite frankly pointless 'argument.' All you need to know about this book can be learned from the titles: in Australia and the UK, it's called 'Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom.' In the U.S., it's called 'The Forge of Christendom: ...more
Oct 31, 2010 TAB rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now that was a history book. As a fierce crusader for fictiondom all my life, this book shook my literary faith to its core. Well organised and superbly written, non-fiction or history like this stand above the rest.

I received this book as a present from my future wife for Christmas one year after she had seen me take great pleasure in The Silmarillion and in watching Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth miniseries. I can't say I was thrilled when I opened the present as well what can I say it was
Jan 10, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 decl
Sean DeLauder
Aug 01, 2013 Sean DeLauder rated it liked it
Shelves: history, holland
The best histories tend to have a solid theme and narrow focus. With Rubicon and Persian Fire Holland captured this technique admirably. With Millennium, he may have bitten off more than he could chew, at least in a mere 400 pages.

The work deals primarily with the centuries prior to the year 1,000 AD, a momentous year by the accounts of this book, filled with foreboding about the loosing of Satan and the Anti-Christ upon the world for the next thousand years, and the solidification of Christiani
Tom Ippen
Jul 05, 2013 Tom Ippen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know what? I read through half of this one a year and a half ago, and it just wasn't what I was looking for. I was in more of a "raw data" mood back then, but I just gave it another shot, and it grabbed me. I was hooked throughout the whole thing.

This is a book I would HIGHLY recommend for people who are interested but not well-versed in medieval Europe. It clips along at a good pace, and does a great job of profiling major players while staying grounded in the context of the 10th
Dec 24, 2008 F.R. rated it it was amazing
I have previously read, and was highly impressed by, Tom Holland's previous historical books 'Rubicon' and 'Persian Fire'. (I also read The Vampyre - his Byron as a bloodsucker novel, which wasn't so great.)

In this book he looks at the pre-millennial angst that took place at the end of the first millennium, where it was widely assumed that the Antichrist would return (SPOILER ALERT: He doesn't.) Holland then uses it as an exploration of how Christinaity spread across Europe and relations between
Gary Butler
Mar 01, 2014 Gary Butler rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
18th book read in 2014.

Number 335 out of 362 on my all time book list.

Follow the link below to see my video review:
Oct 01, 2009 Mechelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So interesting. I learned so much from this book. I was so disappointed when I finished it to not be able to read anymore.
Gumble's Yard
Mar 19, 2017 Gumble's Yard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
Brilliant account of European history around the last millennium – with a particular interest in how people’s fear/faith of a millennium apocalypse in some form interacted with and sometimes shaped historical events. The key initial contention (although one not really covered thereafter) is that Pope Gregory’s successful attempts (which form a large part of the end of the book) to gain independence for the Roman church from the politicians (especially those of the Holy Roman Empire) developed Ch ...more
Jan 21, 2015 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I've been looking for a paper copy of this book for the better part of a year, and I have to say, having finally laid my hands on one, that it did not disappoint. Having previously read In the Shadow of the Sword, this functioned very much as a companion book for me.

In Millennium, Holland chooses to recount mostly the growth of the Christian faith in Europe over the course of the first millennium, although he does take the time to talk about Al-Andalus, the Fatimid caliphate, and Constantinople
Millennium The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom by Tom Holland
Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom
By Tom Holland

This is an interesting overview of the millennium, the year 1000. Many thought the year 1000 or the year 1033 was the year of the Second Coming of Christ. There is an interesting cast of characters. There is Emperor Henry III of Germany who was so religious he refused to laugh and reportedly went to mass five times a day. There is Harold Hartrader (hard-ruler). He went from an officer in the Varangian guard in Constant
Aug 25, 2010 Doug rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Takes a while to get moving, but when it does it is extremely engrossing. This is a subjective history with a clear thesis - that millennial angst shaped the period of 900-1100 CE, and that this period was a turning point in the Christian West.

He makes his point lucidly and with style, and a clear feeling for the individuals who made the history in this period. He has a clear sympathy, but very spare admiration, for these people - mostly violent, egotistical, obsessive, greedy and vain very few
Jan 02, 2013 Katharine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
As a huge admirer of Tom Holland's earlier books "Rubicon" and "Persian Fire" I came to this one with high expectations, which it didn't quite meet. The theory behind the book, that many of the changes of the 10th and 11th centuries were caused by the idea that the Millennium heralded the coming of the end of the world, was fascinating and I learnt a great deal about the history of the Holy Roman Empire and its conflict with the Papacy. Add in the rise of castle building in France, the influence ...more
Feb 17, 2013 EvilNick rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As an antidote to all those books that appeared in 1999, sensationalising the end of the previous millennium and the idea that everyone thought the world was going to end, it tries to piece together the social and religious upheaval across Europe of the period 900-1100. In doing so, it mostly reinforces the idea that only some people thought the world due for imminent destruction. Unfortunately this small group of doom-believers tending to coincide with the small group of people who were general ...more
Feb 11, 2013 Carlos rated it liked it
Interesantes hechos sobre el cambio del papel de la Iglesia en los albores del siglo 11. Muy bien explicada la evolución del imperio otomano desde los bárbaros francos.

Sin embargo, Holland tiene un estilo recargadísimo que va poco con el libro y hay interpretaciones sociales que están demasiado ancladas en una visión actual. Echo de menos una visión de procesos más que de personas, que historiográficamente es más explicativa que las motivaciones individuales, la cual da la impresión de que los a
I am learning to cherish Tom Holland, both for his original insights into history and for his clear, lucid writing. Holland could make medieval laundry lists fascinating. His subject in this book, end of the world thinking in Medieval Europe, is compelling enough, but he heightened my interest by approaching from it from angles I had never considered before.All history is retelling a story, but Holland's books are never repetitive. His viewpoint is always fresh, his narratives always new and ing ...more
Aug 10, 2009 Benjamin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent way to teach history, finding people who embodied the broader historical movements and, rather than just name-and-dating everyone and everything, humanize each of those people, make them accessible and real, which makes the arcs easier to follow.

It also helps that there is a great deal of narrative action throughout, and wars to be fought with someone, always. But the important transitions of power from the broken Roman Empire to the kingdoms of Europe, and back to the Pope
Apr 26, 2014 Craig rated it really liked it
A concise, dramatic and eminently readable account of the forging of medieval Europe. Holland keeps his focus on broad social trends mixed in with shifts in power and belief, human interest, narrative flair and compelling accounts of key figures of the age to offer up a compelling introduction to a crucial two-century period for the consolidation of papal power and emergence of the high medieval political order. His grand-sounding prose may be off-putting to some, but the work is well worth the ...more
Mohamad Almokhllati
Jan 29, 2014 Mohamad Almokhllati rated it really liked it
This excellent chronicle is hugely marred by the prejudiced author against Islam. He wrongly uses extract from the holy Quran in a totally wrong context.
David Sasaki
Nov 10, 2009 David Sasaki rated it liked it
About a thousand years ago Europe was gripped with fear. Improbably, in the face of obstacle after obstacle, Christianity had spread itself from Jerusalem to Rome to Constantinople, throughout Western Europe, Saxony, even into England, Scandinavia, and Russia. Now, after that incredible diffusion and the fascinating power-play that underlaid it, Europe was finally united in worldview, moral foundation, and a sort of ecstatic anxiety that the end of the world was rapidly approaching. The very fou ...more
Jason , etc.
Jan 15, 2017 Jason , etc. rated it really liked it
I picked this up almost immediately after finishing Rubicon, because I was so enamored by the author's writing style and ability to turn the dry into the infinitely entertaining. I admit to some skepticism of this being the case here, given that this was an earlier work of his and the always uplifting focal point of Middle Ages Christianity, which has the potential to induce weeping or throwing oneself into traffic. Thankfully, the author delivered, and his narrative voice kept depression at bay ...more
Alejandro Ramirez
Nov 01, 2014 Alejandro Ramirez rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I was so impressed by Holland's other book: Persian Fire, that I vowed to get his other books. Millenium is equally well documented, but by far not as engaging as Persian Fire. Small kings, failed empires, petty tribal wars, superstition and religious fanatisim tend to get repetitive and boring after a while.

However, it is fascinating to see how the est as we know it was formed. How Norway and Russia got their names, how some words of the european languages were coined and remain in use after a
Feb 06, 2017 Alice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This book was outwardly so tantalising but the interesting premise, ambitious scope and wealth of potential material was killed for me by the rambly, unfocused style. At times I enjoyed the odd blend of story-telling and scrutiny, but at the end of each chapter I found myself asking: "so, what?"
Jim Mann
Mar 20, 2017 Jim Mann rated it really liked it
A very good history of the years just before the Millennium, and the century after, up through the sack of Jerusalem. It was a pivotal time in history, refining and changing the relationship between church and king, starting with things uncertain and ending with the church more firmly seated at the center of European society.
Oct 14, 2016 Joan rated it it was amazing
An interesting time in western history. I always enjoy Holland's books. He never belittles the beliefs of the people he writes about. It does take me awhile to get through them as there is so much detail but worth the time.
Aug 05, 2013 Gary rated it really liked it
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 decl
Feb 12, 2016 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval-history
The years between the fall of the Roman Empire and the turn of the first millennium are generally known as the 'Dark Ages', an era of brutality, poverty, illiteracy, paganism and savagery, when all the advances of the Greek and Roman civilisations seemed to vanish as though they had never been, and the shape of the countries we know as England, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Denmark, were barely coming into focus. Such was the case in Western Europe, at least. There was no such Dark Age in the ...more
Jun 18, 2014 Palmyrah rated it really liked it
This is an action-packed overview of an era when the Dark Ages were just becoming the Middle Ages. The author does a heroic job of helping the reader distinguish between the various mailed thugs — Frankish, Saxon, Norse (or Norman) and English — whose unedifying deeds form the basis of the action. Even so, the parade of Ottos, Henrys, Godfreys and the rest tends to blur into an undifferentiated mass as you keep reading. The same goes for the various revolting characters who passed through the tu ...more
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An 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 af
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