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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A serious, modern, and thorough, introduction to this subject
I came to this book knowing nothing of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, but had happened recently on Kantorowicz' 1920s biography, which roused my curiosity but I found bewildering in its treatment. Abulafia's book gives the subject the kind of treament I am used to in a modern historical biography designed for a serious student. Don't go to it for a light read - it's not...
Published on 18 July 2010 by ECD

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21 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars somewhat flawed
In tackling one of the most fascinating characters of the Middle Ages Abulafia has, with characteristic shrewdness, noted a gap in the market. A balanced, detailed and professional biography of Frederick II has long been overdue.
What a pity, then, that this book is neither balanced, nor detailed... Abulafia appears blind to the wider significance of the events he...
Published on 18 Feb 2002


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A serious, modern, and thorough, introduction to this subject, 18 July 2010
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ECD (Great Britain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Frederick II: A Medieval Emperor (Hardcover)
I came to this book knowing nothing of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, but had happened recently on Kantorowicz' 1920s biography, which roused my curiosity but I found bewildering in its treatment. Abulafia's book gives the subject the kind of treament I am used to in a modern historical biography designed for a serious student. Don't go to it for a light read - it's not meant for that, though this is no criticism of the author's style, which is fluent, clear and with a nice light touch on occasion, and altogether admirable for its purpose - but it does give a very thorough and, so far as I can tell, comprehensive account. Having read this, I think I would be able some day to tackle Kantorowicz' work, which is altogether different in approach but appears to be a classic in its own right, and probably as enlightening for the author's own standpoint and background as for the subject himself.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly compelling work of history, 2 Dec 2004
By A Customer
Having read Abulafia's book, I can safely say that it is the exactly what good history should be. He uses sufficient evidence to back up his argument and overall offers a very humane outlook on Frederick II. He allows readers to engage in both the text and the pursuits of the 'medieval emperor' creating a first class read for both the general audience and the historian. Without a doubt this is a fine book that should be read by all.
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21 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars somewhat flawed, 18 Feb 2002
By A Customer
In tackling one of the most fascinating characters of the Middle Ages Abulafia has, with characteristic shrewdness, noted a gap in the market. A balanced, detailed and professional biography of Frederick II has long been overdue.
What a pity, then, that this book is neither balanced, nor detailed... Abulafia appears blind to the wider significance of the events he describes and appears determined, despite all evidence to the contrary, to shoehorn Frederick into the role of a Mediterranean prince...
It is regrettable that it is only the political events of Frederick's reign that are examined. Pieces of evidence that support Abulafia's thesis are presented devoid of context and the overall effect is of someone more interested in churning out a quasi-historical novel rather than a piece of serious research.
Sadly at present this book is the only modern biography available of Frederick. Rather than suffering this litany of antiquarianism, though, the interested student of medieval European history would do better to find discussions of Frederick's life in the works of his contemporaries. It wouldn't take much effort to write a better book than this one.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Revisionists Dilemma, 2 Aug 2011
This is not an authoritative work. Abulafia has an agonistic relationship with the work of Kantorowicz and the work is marred by this preoccupation.
In this sense it is immature.
I hope Sturners work is translated in time.
Its a good introduction to Frederick but is likely to be eclipsed.
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Frederick II: A Medieval Emperor
Frederick II: A Medieval Emperor by David Abulafia (Hardcover - 30 Jun 1988)
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