Endre Fodstad's Reviews > Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom

Millennium by Tom Holland
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's review
Dec 05, 2011

it was ok
Read on December 05, 2011

I read this one on the recommendation of Tim O'Neill over at the Armarium Magnum (http://armariummagnus.blogspot.com/). I think he rates it a bit too high. It is a quite decent popular history, and gives an ok if slightly confused overview of the 11th century church reform movement and the Investiture conflict, but I felt that more time should have been spent on explaining how integral bishops were, administration-wise, to the kings in early medieval germany. Less time could be spent on...a lot of minor details. The prose is good, but I fear that the flowery style and the emphasis on miracles and rumours of miracles might confuse a modern reader - it certainly brings out a mood, but it can also serve to alienate the reader. I am unsure as to whether Holland did this in Persian Fire and Rubicon (which I have not read yet), but if I, as a new reader unfamiliar to the periods, were to be exposed to all the hocus pocus (especially related to warfare!) that permeated the Hellenic world and roman republic (and which tends to be glossed over in other popular histories of the "cradle of our civilization), I would have some trouble seeing what relevance these weirdoes were supposed to have for me.

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