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

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  2,241 ratings  ·  196 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 Abacus (UK) (first published 2008)
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3.84  · 
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 ·  2,241 ratings  ·  196 reviews


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Gary
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Guy
Dec 02, 2008 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
Terri
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 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
Gary
Jan 10, 2016 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
...more
Isabelle Leo
Very cool and informative and well-written. If I had one suggestion, Tom, I would please signpost more. I know it would interrupt your flow, and it is a nice flow, but blease Tom. Tell me what you're going to tell me and then tell me it.
Sean DeLauder
Aug 01, 2013 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
...more
TAB
Oct 31, 2010 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
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Omar Ali
Tom Holland's latest book is about the slow recovery of Western Europe between 900 and 1100 AD, a period that he sees as the beginning of Western Europe's transformation from a decaying and dilapidated backwater to the mastery of the world. Tom Holland clearly thinks Christianity had much to do with this rise and presents the violent elimination of paganism in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe as positive achievements of the age. This is mostly done not by direct editorializing; it is done by using ...more
Tom Ippen
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**UPDATE**
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
...more
F.R.
Dec 24, 2008 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
...more
Mechelle
Oct 01, 2009 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.
Aneece
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, audiobook
Did not know that a Catholic peace movement against the depredations of Christian knights culminated in the Crusades.
Gary Butler
Mar 01, 2014 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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz3O6...
Patrick
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Remember all that fuss about the collapse of civilisation owing to the millennium bug around the turn of the century? Turns out that they did it on a bigger scale last time, with many sincerely worried that the turn of the millennium would lead to the appearance of 'antichrist' and the end of the world. I don't think I'm spoiling the book to note that the very last sentence is “antichrist did not appear.”

I enjoyed this, not least because it filled in a fairly significant gap in my knowledge of E
...more
Gumble's Yard
Mar 19, 2017 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
Michael Hołda (Holda)
Book that teaches well of, known world of first millennium. Starting with fall of Rome and rise of Francia, that has been from Germanic Tribes.Then Saxonic Reich. Along with predictions about doom times written by monks, in books with such value that you could get war horse for one book on black market.

There is also writing about Poland and her help towards Christianity. That has been under archbishopric of Magdeburg with all known Slavs. When, in west of Europe, ruler, before battle prays, just
...more
John Coleman
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All that you ever wanted to know about the 10th and 11th centuries - and them some.
Ryan Yoder
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read that gives a too-broad overview of medieval history and the Church. It ties many things together showing how legend very easily becomes fact. There are also fascinating anecdotes on ancient culture that no one asked for.
Jeff
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simply tremendous. Holland is one of the great historians writing today. His take on the First Millennium being the actual divide between the Dark Ages and the Modern World is well premised.

In Tom Holland’s the Forge of Christendom he starts off with a huge premise. This is that the battle between Pope Gregory and the leader of the Holy Roman Emperor for supremacy was the touchstone that began the modern era. This is because, at least in the West, it brought about the idea of the separation of c
...more
April
Jan 21, 2015 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
...more
Jerry-Book
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
...more
Matthew Cooper
Spanning the 10th and 11th centuries of European history, the book gives an account of the tumultuous times that led up to the first crusade. It covers numerous important events and figures of the time and deals with the important conflicts of the age, that of regal and papal power, and the struggle between Christianity and Islam. Because of the book covering a large area, focussed on events in modern-day France, Germany, England and Turkey, it adopts a sort of wave-like structure, where the nar ...more
Doug
Aug 25, 2010 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
...more
Katharine
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
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
EvilNick
Feb 17, 2013 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
Libby
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
Ray
Jun 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Tom Holland writes excellent popular history books. He is able to bring a subject to life, and I enjoy the way he combines arcane and obscure - I like arcane and obscure - with a knack for explaining the broad sweep of history.

The theme of this book is the first Christian millennium and the way that it shaped Western Europe. He majors on the tension between pope and emperor, with the normans playing a major supporting role.

Overall I think his earlier books - such as Rubicon - are better (perhaps
...more
Craig
Apr 26, 2014 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
Benjamin
Aug 10, 2009 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
...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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