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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Original Millenium Bug?
Tom Holland does history and historians a great service. He brings areas of history such as the ancient world or the middle ages that have been increasingly the preserve of academics back to the general populace. He does this with wit, clever anecdote, narrative history and the confidence to nmatch his history with the trends in academia.

Millenium in this...
Published on 26 Sep 2008 by Kuma

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars evocative, but fails to cohere and doesn't live up to subtitle's promise
After having read Rubicon, Holland's masterpiece of popularization, this book was rather disappointing. It is about the approximate period of 900 to 1100 C.E., the convulsive transition between the Dark Ages and the great renascence of the Gothic era. This is an extraordinarily complex moment, not only in internal evolution of the Latin West but from the three...
Published on 1 Jun 2011 by rob crawford


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 25 July 2009
By 
Amazon Customer (PLYMOUTH, DEVON United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom (Hardcover)
Having read and enjoyed "Persian Fire" I gave this one a go. It is quite difficult reading mainly because it is not a concise subject matter and there are endless names to try and remember. In addition, Tom Holland's flowery prose does not always make for easy reading. I would go for the paperback version of this work if you are determined to give it a go.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Treat For Holland Fans, 11 Oct 2008
This review is from: Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom (Hardcover)
I agree with A Hall that the author's previous books (Persian Fire and Rubicon) are tough acts to follow. But for me, Holland completes the hat-trick in real style. What he does so well is combine genuine scholarship with an eye for a great story, and he keeps on picking out neglected areas of history and bringing them to life. The 11th Century may not sound that mouthwatering to begin with but it does include the Battle of Hastings and the First Crusade - pretty juicy. And if, like me, you have a taste for the bloodthirsty details, Holland digs them all up and delivers them in spades. The hardback is a bit heavy to carry around, so I might wait until his next one comes out in paperback.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sweeping history of a fascinating age, 6 Oct 2008
This review is from: Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed Persian Fire - a masterful and accessible re-evaluation of the wars between the Persians and the ancient Greeks - and this book is even more ambitious and fascinating. The Persian Wars was a story that almost wrote itself (with Holland's insight) but making a book about the early Middle Ages read like a novel is an even greater achievement. The many strands of the story require a deft and subtle weaving together, which Holland manages to do, all the while carrying the reader along at a roaring pace. Those who enjoyed Holland's storytelling and wit in his earlier books should not be disappointed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Like a Long, Long, Game of Thrones, 27 July 2014
By 
Andy (Berkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This is an interesting account of European history from the end of the Roman empire until about 1100, with a particular interest in the millennium. Apparently, one of the uppermost concerns amongst the religiously informed was the imminence of the end-of-the-world, a prediction that Christians seem to have been getting wrong for a very long time indeed. Its effect during this time was to act as a check (albeit limited) on the brutality of the period, as kings and emperors fretted about their immortal souls. And these were indeed brutal times, especially among the pagan classes, whose gods were particularly bloodthirsty.

The storybook aspect reads like a long-long episode of Game of Thrones: king rises to power through violent means; he is then deposed or dies and his empire may or may not survive him; next king, and repeat. Popes and bishops feature frequently throughout the narrative and sometimes as a voice of reason (relatively speaking). The Norman Conquest of England (there were others) is told particularly well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light to a dark spot in history knowledge, 1 Aug 2013
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The period from about 800 AD to 1100 AD when so much happened is sadly overlooked in mainstream history education. This book filled that gap for me. The story is told along threads that naturally move forward in time. A change of thread therefore leads to a return in time. I did not find this confusing, but I can understand that some readers may. So much happened around the year 1000, when Europe came out of the dark ages, our western cilivisation chose one road, but could have chosen another, way back then. Chistianity had Canossa and that did all the difference. The book is so filled with facts, I found myself wondering how much submerged the author must have been in the facts of the time when he wrote the book. It shows that the author thinks the story is important and that enthusiasm is contagious. The story is perhaps also important for our time. I loved this book and recommend it to anyone who sincerely wants to bring light to his knowledge of this important time and events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, 4 May 2012
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I must admit I didn't enjoy this one as much as Rubicon and Persian Fire, but that's only because Medieval history doesn't fascinate me as much as ancient history. It's the same good quality book from the same author as the other books I mentioned.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fascinating, 2 Oct 2009
Very well written, this book describes events in Europe, the Caliphate and surrounding terrotories in the decades either side of the first millennium (1000AD). Although some of the main actors (for example, those involved in the struggle for the English throne in 1066) are well known, the author tells us about their lives in a way I've never seen before in more than 20 years of reading history books. Their detailed biographies are great in their own right, and the way in which their various stories intertwine and interact is absolutely fascinating.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 2 Jan 2009
By 
Paul M. Wright "paulwright21" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom (Hardcover)
Religious history, obscure Frankish kings, wars and disasters - who'd have thought they'd make such a compelling read? It's a period I know very little about, but Tom Holland's narrative gripped me from the very first page. Highly recommended and even better than Rubicon.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable, 27 Oct 2008
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This review is from: Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom (Hardcover)
Millenium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom by Tom Holland is a very good book dealing with the turbulent years around the turn of the first millenium. At the start of this period western European Christianity seemed to be under threat from all sides and obsessed with the end of the world. However, as time progressed Catholicism and the states of Europe gained confidence and took the offensive against its opponents. This book shows how this happened but also provides interesting pieces of information about how the nation states of Europe such as Germany, France and Germany evolved and came to be different for example how France became a deeply divided country with a weak central government while England became heavily centralised. It is an immensely readable book which provides insights into how Europe developed and how Catholicism reformed itself and became dominant unifying factor that brought about the Crusades. All in all a good and very readable book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as it sounds, 4 Dec 2010
By 
Brawny Withed (Leeds, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I was really looking forward to reading this title as I have really enjoyed Tom Holland's previous titles 'Rubicon' and 'Persian Fire'. Sadly in my opinion this book didn't live up to those standards.

The language used in the book unfortunately is lofty and distracting from the main narrative and I feel he could of written a more interesting and engaging book given the potential for excellent history and characters within the historical time period the book is based on.

So unfortunately the book isn't going to be one of my keeper's and will be shortly vacating a space in my local charity shop.
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