From Library Journal
What impels the leaders of a religion to begin systematically to convert an entire continent? How do they go about doing it? How thorough is the conversion to be? What roles do politics and military conquest play in such religious conversion? How does conversion proceed in society, and how does it change society? Fletcher is well qualified to answer these and many other related questions with respect to the Christianizing of Europe during the Middle Ages. The prize-winning author of Moorish Spain and The Search for El Cid, he teaches at the University of York and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. specializing in medieval Spanish history. Spanning an entire millennium and a whole continent, his new work is dauntingly broad in scope, but his lucid presentation and lively and engaging style will carry even casual readers smoothly along. Recommended for both academic and public libraries.?James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, Va.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Fletcher weaves a rich tapestry out of a complex array of materials. He carefully addresses a nonspecialist audience, largely abandoning explanation of the acceptance of Christianity in favor of description of it. Guided by 10 considerations concerning evangelism and conversion, communication and acceptance, he is sensitive to the various ways in which Europe was Christianized and Christianity Europeanized during the course of a thousand years and amid considerable cultural, geographic, and linguistic diversity. Because of his 10-point agenda and because he resists dissolving stories into a single master narrative, his rambling but not superficial description depicts a conversion process that amounted to the continuing invention of Europe, a process that was cultural, not isolatedly individual, and intimately connected with economic, social, and political developments that often involved, as Fletcher puts it, "looking both ways." The conversion Fletcher describes extended beyond the temporal and geographic limits he sets, of course, and his narrative provides essential background for understanding Christianity's shape and cultural impact today, at the end of its second millennium. Steve Schroeder