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Feudal Society, Volume 2

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  300 Ratings  ·  8 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
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A well-known milestone in medieval historiography and one of the easiest five stars I've ever given. To sum up, Bloch starts off with the internal breakdown of state power in early medieval Europe and the numerous external threats it faced, setting the stage for a society where power was increasingly local and based on personal bonds of allegiance - in other words a feudal society. He then proceeds to analyse in-depth the nitty-gritty workings of these personal bonds and how they shaped both the ...more
First there was Feudal Society, volume 1 which unsurprisingly flows in to the second volume were 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.
Christopher Sprague
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Academic, dry at times, but overall a very interesting account of European society between the Roman Empire and the late renaissance.
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medieval-culture
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.
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
  • Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade
  • Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages
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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...