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The First European Revolution: c. 970-1215 (The Making of Europe) Paperback – October 19, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0631222774 ISBN-10: 0631222774 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Blackwell Publishing; 1st edition (October 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631222774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631222774
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This is a remarkable book... it can function as a synthesis of the best studies for upper-division undergraduates or graduate students. It is so well researched and argued that even though it asks the reader to accept yet one more period as revolutionary, it is entirely convincing." History: Reviews of New Books <!--end-->

"A volume which is consistently intelligent and stimulating, not least because it draws on the insights of social anthropology and of other periods and places in history than its own ... it is the essence of a good book that it should open the reader's mind and sharpen his arguments. By that token this is assuredly a good book." Ecclesiastical History

Book Description

This compelling new history provides a radical reassessment of Europe from the late tenth to the early thirteenth centuries.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Johan Franzon on January 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book for those who wish to delve deeply into medieval history and can handle a book without pictures and illustrations, apart from a few maps. R.I. Moore, a British professor and editor for Blackwell publishers, deserves high points for a thorough scientific investigation, but also for describing his theories accessibly and vividly.
The title of the book heralds a new perspective, and Moore convinces his reader that changes occurred during this rather anonymous period in European history, after Charlemagne, but before the High Middle Ages, that were as fundamental as the French and Industrial Revolutions.
He argues that no real civilization existed in Europe before the tenth century, and that a new system of farming, administration and inheritance developed during the period 970-1215, which was a necessary foundation for all later appearances of universities, cities, commerce, castles, kings and taxes.
It is the birth of the feudal system, of course, which is a plain historical fact. What sets this book apart from many other history books is Moore's thourough grip on the minds and reasons of the actual people involved. Through sharp analysis of documents and wisely chosen and interpreted quotes, he makes the people of the period - sons of noblemen without an obvious career, intellectual monks, religious protesters, nomad farmers - come alive as thinking human beings with a rational cause for their actions. Moore shows how the actions and choices, the logic of the times, build up to a new social order, new customs and institutions, and introduce concepts as tithe, diocese, and cerealization.
His focus is mostly on France, where the development started, and partly on England, where it was perfected, and helped kings unify a nation.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Certain Bibliophile on October 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
For some reason, it's been second nature to sometimes think - at least since the time of Burckhardt, it seems - of the Renaissance as single-handedly bringing us out of the so-called Dark Ages, which loomed for almost a millennium after the fall of the Roman Empire. There have been occasional attempts at revising this historiographical conclusion, more notably Charles Homer Haskins' "The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century," which offer up details on the incredibly complex changes in science, technology, church life, and agriculture which occurred during this time. In fact, some historians claim that the renaissance to which Haskins refers is actually the third in a series of medieval "re-births," the first two being the Carolingian and Ottonian, which were both intellectual and artistically important in their own right.

R. I. Moore's "The First European Revolution" picks up Haskins' revisionist theme and broads his timeline a bit, stretching it from the end of the tenth century to the beginning of the thirteenth, in order to discuss an even wider range of cultural phenomena. During this time, Europe experienced "profound changes in the economic and political organization of the countryside, amounting to a permanent transformation in the division of labor, social relations, and distribution of power and wealth" (p. 2-3). This is a lot of territory to delve into in just around two hundred pages, and the book does seem to suffer from this excessive ambition.

At the end of the tenth century, both the potentes (the powerful) and the paupers (not the poor per se, but the powerless) were both responsible for cereal production, which accounted for almost all agriculture.
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17 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Collin Garbarino VINE VOICE on August 2, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In The First European Revolution: c. 970--1215, R. I. Moore argues that "Europe was born in the second millennium of the Common Era, not the first" (1). He asserts that concepts from antiquity were used and discarded by individuals in this long century to construct a new kind of social order that would provide the foundations for modern Europe. "Citied civilization" characterizes this new foundation, and the revolution between 970 and 1215 made the supporting of cities possible. In arguing his thesis, Moore investigates the roles of political elites and the church, emphasizing their complementary natures. These two institutions worked together, sometimes consciously sometimes unconsciously, to better exploit the land and those who worked it.

Moore cites a wealth of evidence in this book, but he interprets it from a Marxist point of view. For example, he writes, "The resulting combination of greed, curiosity and ingenuity drove these first Europeans to exploit their land and their workers ever more intensively, constantly to extend the scope and penetration of their governmental institutions, and in doing so eventually to create the conditions for the development of their capitalism, their industries and their empires" (197). If you are a typical American student of medieval history, you will probably find these passages annoying.

The book has many other flaws. First and foremost, the book needed more editing. Though I did not agree with much of his thesis, he managed to argue it better in the first half of the book. Also, his prose manifests banal moralism and promotes gross stereotypes. Moore obviously finds the Church distasteful.
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