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Emperor of the West: Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire Hardcover – 29 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; First Edition edition (29 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849161909
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849161909
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4.2 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 568,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'Excellent and thought-provoking ... tells the story of an iconic figure for the new Europe' Tom Shippey, Times Literary Supplement.

'A magisterial survey of the great European emperor, of the Latin culture of his court and the political extent of his domains' A.N. Wilson, Observer.

'This scholarly and meticulously researched biography is a book one really does want to read' Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph.

'a substantial and worthwhile volume ... a valuable book' Journal of Ecclesiastical History. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

The achievements and legacy of the emperor Charlemagne have had an enduring impact on Europe's history and civilization for over a thousand years. Crowned a king of the Franks in 768, he expanded their kingdom into an imperial order that incorporated much of western and central Europe. Charlemagne recreated a single Christian imperium in the heartlands of the western Roman empire for the first time since the decline and fall of that power in the fifth century. After his imperial coronation in 800, Charlemagne was seen as a rival, in both power and majesty, to the Byzantine Emperor in Constantinople. The military campaigns and programmes of reform inspired by Charlemagne make him a defining figure in the history of the Middle Ages, and of western Europe as a whole. Charlemagne's empire, and the cultural golden age that is associated with it, encouraged the development of a common European identity. In this magisterial new study, Hywel Williams explores every facet of the rule and legacy of one of the most remarkable rulers in European history. Williams reveals how the Carolingian dynasty ensured the evolution of Roman imperial culture into the Christian civilisation of Charlemagne's time. Both in its sweep and its detail, Emperor of the West is a major contribution to early medieval history and is essential reading for anyone interested in the wider history of Europe.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Edward Gregory on 10 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very painstakingly and accurately researched. Gives the reader an excellent overview of life in the early middle ages in Europe as well as the transition from late Roman Empire to medieval Europe. Anyone interested in the medieval will find this book fascinating and enlightening
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Thompson on 24 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
A surprisingly easy to read history of a fundamental change in pagan Europe, ad interesting description of the secular and spiritual alliances that combined to unify most of West and Central Europe in the years after Imperial Rome moved it`s capital to Constantinople.

Hywell Williams explores the influences of Islamic expansion and the evolution of the Byzantine Empire in the context of Charlamagne`s conquests, he leaves no stones unturned and manages to hold the readers interest without effort.

If I could pick a fault it would be the total lack of information on the effect these changes had on the peasants, mention of the odd rebellions would suggest the peasants had the odd grumble or two!

But a superb read, it should be made obligatory!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. D. A. Demeyer on 22 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very complete history of Charlemagne with the why and the how. It goes as far as covering what followed. For this book to have had a full 5 stars mark would have required a much in-depth analysis which is not the purview of this book. So if you want a good historical account, this will be it.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By B. Beaven on 27 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A comprehensive book that is well written and unlike others on the subject not translated. No outrageous insights but a sound base for those interested in Charlemagne.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jacob la Cour on 2 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The problem with the reviews inhere is, that so many books have both good and bad reviews. It is therefore hard to know, which one to trust. But in the case of this book, Bob is right! Very dissapointing book. He hits the nail right on with the statement: " Having waded through these pages I was asking myself if I wrote a study of Winston Churchill would I spend a number of pages describing the Reformation and Renaissance struggles which produced Oliver Cromwell?"

The text part of this book is 380 pages. Having reached page 60, the main character has not even been born yet! Bob got set of by the section about St. Augustine's "City of God". I got worried by the section starting as follows: "The spread of kingly rule in western Europe in the centuries immediately after the withdrawal of Roman imperial authority from the region is a fact which needs some explaining" And then 4 pages is spent on discussing how a land could turn to monarchy with all the bad presedents... REALLY?? Maybe it's because its the simplest form of government!!

I flipped forward some pages and found similar sections all through the book. Huge detours about perifery themes such as "The Romanization of Christianity", "Who were the Avars?", "Late antique culture: Strategies for survival".... I went back inhere to read the reviews, and saw that A. Benson, WHO gives 3 stars writes "In some ways not a book to read through, but more for reference"

That made me give up and buy another one in stead! It might be a good book for scholars, but it is not a good book for a casual read about the subject!
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By adam cleghorn on 6 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic read. Really took your into the minds of the people under rule of the emperor
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