This is an excellent academic discussion of the cultural shift that took place during the 'Dark Ages', and the evolution of 'Christendom' in a geographic and philosophical sense. Certainly, it ticks the boxes in terms of a wide subject coverage, good level of detail, and well-chosen themes to tie the analysis together.
However, the real treat is Fletcher's narration - he is clearly passionate about the subject, and his enthusiasm is infectious. If you like history with ambitious temporal comparisons (e.g.: 5th century meets 19th century), various 'whimsical (but still really relevant!) fancies', and some genuinely hilarious passages, all set within a first-rate analysis, then you should definitely give this a look.
This is a good book filled with facts directly relevant to the subject. It is obviously the result of extensive research by the author. The photos of religious evidence from early Christianity are extremely interesting as well. As opposed to a fellow reader who contributed his opinion below, I did not find any anti-clerical bias, just historical facts. This is not to say that the book will keep you glued to it. So many facts are crammed into it that you will find yourself wanting to turn the TV on instead. It is not an entertaining book but a very good reference document. If you can last to read it until the end, your reward will be a thorough understanding of this seldom researched time of our culture.
Very well documented and thourough review of the spread of Christianity. Because Fletcher has so few primary sources he has to rationalize much of his writing through a vast knowledge of the Middle Ages.
In The Barbarian Conversion Richard Fletcher enlightens his readers with the story of Europe's conversion to Christianity. He gives in-depth hindsight analysis and anecdotal support and grants vast amount of knowledge upon the reader. While all of this is great and it makes the book definitely worth reading Fletcher has a tendency to occasionally go on and on on certain points and as a section wears on the narrative starts to sound like a lecture instead of a book. Fletcher, probably unintentionally, makes it very clear that he is a professor. Overall the work was gratifyingly worth the effort and enlightened me on a little-discussed period of history but it also made my eyelids a little droopy.