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The Birth of Europe (Making of Europe) Paperback – November 22, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (November 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405156821
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405156820
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,036,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Recommended ... .Illustrate[s] the continuing differences on how scholars treat the past, differences found among early modern scholars as well as medievalists." (Sixteenth Century Journal, Summer 2009)

"A book that never fails to be informative, readable and provocative. [Le Goff] has been the bravest and best of champions for medieval history. This book, written by its author at the age of 80, is in every sense an inspiration." (BBC History Magazine)

"[A] superb and necessary book. This provocative assessment from a lifetime of scholarship might help us to place ourselves, not just territorially, but in that other precious element of history: time." (The Guardian)

"Le Goff authoritatively traces the initial development of virtually all aspects of modern society." (The Morning Star)

"A fine survey of medieval Europe that will benefit both specialists and non-specialists alike." (History: Reviews of New Books)

"Le Goff's book not only embodies his long-term project of a new political history but is a politically engaged history in the most valuable sense: it should be on the compulsory reading list of politicians everywhere." (Reviews in History)


"This is a fascinating and timely study of the medieval origins of today’s Europe. It is extraordinary how many of the themes and ideas in this book reverberate through the arguments of the 21st century." Rt Hon Christopher Patten, CH, Former Member of the European Commission

"The Middle Ages was a fulcrum epoch that compared with the Renaissance and the trading, industrial and technological revolutions as eras of systemic change in Europe. But whilst the significance of the historic surges since the late 15th Century is widely known, the formative relevance of the age before that is less recognised. Professor Le Goff addresses that and brilliantly provides an intriguing and convincing explanation of the vital importance of the early centuries of the second millennium for the shaping of Europe and its identity and diversities." Neil Kinnock, Vice-President, European Commission

"Jacques Le Goff has capped off a lifetime of contemplating the Middle Ages with this work of great insight and learning. A fascinating rumination on the structure of medieval culture and society." Norman F. Cantor, Late of New York University

"This book distils the life's work of one of the great historians of our time. It is remarkable equally for the breadth of its learning, the clarity of its exposition, and the depth of its humanity and wisdom. Anyone who asks why Europe needs its history, or why History needs Europe, should read it." R. I. Moore, Professor Emeritus, University of Newcastle

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Book worm on September 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jacques Le Goff is a renowned scholar with a gift of coherent explaination. He helped me to understand the time between the decline of Rome and the advent of the Renaissance in a new way. He brought color and life to what had been a landscape with few discernible features.

Charlemagne's reign formed just a part of the labor. Feudalism, chivalry, the rise of the university all played dynamic parts in a complex society before the idea of Europe really came to full form.

Just like the ideas of the Roman Empire, the ideas accompanying the birth od Europe continue to influence and shape us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marcos on January 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A rich panorama of the formation and evolution of European societies throughout the Middle Ages. Insightful and highly readable. The fact that if was my first book on the subject turned out not to be a problem - quick Internet searches were enough to provide basic context whenever a character or event was mentioned without being described.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Renato Baserga on May 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have always heard of LeGoff and his books, but I had never read one. I finally broke down and read The Birth of Europe, and I congratulated myself for this being my first (and last) Le Goff. It is a superficial book, in which Le Goff has put together well known facts about Europe from about 500 CE to 1300, there is no insight on the developments and there are glaring omissions (no mention, for instance, of the emergence of the Italian communes about the year 1000, that were really the forerunners of the Renaissance. Venice, Genoa, Milano and Florence most prominent, but do not forget Amalfi, Pisa and others). No mention either of the influence of Muslim states on the developments of Europe (that is why Venice and Genoa are so important in the year 1000). Le Goff is now dead, and de mortuis nisi sed bonum, so I will stop my review here. Requiescat in pace....
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