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A.D. 1000: A World on the Brink of Apocalypse Paperback – September, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Ulysses Press (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569751579
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569751572
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
"A.D. 1000" reads like a work of narrative fiction, and it proves quite interesting. The fundamental structure of the book follows the chronology of Gerbert's fascinating rise to the Papacy. Because of Gerbert's unusual opportunities for travel, educational development, and influence in the most powerful courts of Europe, the book provides opportunities to discuss living conditions in the time. But caveat emptor: the author is not sufficiently critical of his sources. Some descriptions are presented as fact even though other seasoned historians have discredited similar claims.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
A vivid and entertaining look at the life and times of the people living in Europe at the end of the first millenium. The book reads like a serious version of Monty Python's "The Holy Grail". Lots of historical factoids, gritty and sometimes disturbing descriptions of tenth century lifestyles, and complicated narratives of religious and political intrigue.The only negative I found is that the book, or at least the edition I read, is poorly edited. There are frequent typos, and sometimes the paragraphs and chapters seem a bit confusing, somewhat unfocused and slightly disorganized. These editing problems become a bit distracting at times. However, on the whole the subject matter is fascinating, and the author's approach (focusing on the life of Pope Sylvester II and using him as a centerpiece for discussing tenth century life) is effective.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John B. Ferguson <ferguson@bard.edu> on July 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am not a professional historian, so I cannot comment on the veracity of Mr. Erdoes's description of Europe at the last millennium, but if one-tenth of what he says is true, it was a pretty horrifying place. The book is in a sense a biography of Gerbert of Aurillac, who was to become Pope Sylvester II, the pope who presided over midnight mass in St. Peter's at Rome on December 31, 999. Gerbert's life is used as a centerpiece in a banquet of vignettes of European life at the time, including studies of the Holy Roman Empire, the papacy, the Byzantine Empire, the Moors in Spain, feudal France and Germany, the Slavs in Russia, the Vikings in Scandinavia, and the Magyars in Hungary. Very, very few people seem to have been well behaved, but perhaps Gerbert was. What becomes painfully obvious is that living conditions have improved dramatically in Europe in the last thousand years, but human nature has remained pretty much the same. An extensive bibliography and a decent index, but no notes to indicate specific sources, accompany this very entertaining history. Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
As Karen Armstrong says in her introduction, the year 1000 was a very different world, one that would never have believed that the global triumph of the West would take place in the next 1000 years. There were no cohesive nations of long standing; the Roman Empire's collapse hundreds of years prior remained the defining influence, and even consolidations under the likes of Charlemagne would not change the fact that half of Europe was still fighting the other half, usually in small, tribal cliques.
Despite the dominance of the Christian church, still at this time officially undivided, much of Europe was rife with superstition and nature religions that occasionally practiced barbaric rituals; the church unfortunately occasionally engaged in barbaric rituals of its own.
The Muslim and Chinese dynasties, on the other hand, were cultivated and developing at a rapid pace; the Greek Christian world was considered peripheral civilisation not to the West (considered barbarian territory) but to the other two dominant powers, neither of which concerned themselves much with Europe.
Robert Erdoes' book is not really a history book, but rather a narrative historical almost-fiction, a dramatised vision of what the world was like at the turn of the first millennium. he speculates that many people were thinking that this might be the millennium spoken of in some biblical interpretations -- this is generally incorrect, given that many people didn't realise what year it was, and other dominant cultures didn't use the now-standard Christian-inspired calendar.
The main figure in Erdoes' book is a man named Gerbert, an up-and-coming figure in the Western church hierarchy, who by virtue of his position is afforded opportunities to travel and experience different peoples and places.
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