- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press (1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780300002300
- ISBN-13: 978-0300002300
- ASIN: 0300002300
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Making of the Middle Ages
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From the Back Cover
This is an absorbing study of the main personalities and the influences that molded the history of Western Europe from the late tenth to the early thirteenth century. Southern describes the chief forms of social, political, and religious organization.
Top customer reviews
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This is history at its finest. Not simply, this happened, then that happened, but what the impact of an event and the impact that the actions of principal players in society had on the life of the times. With the hindsight of 1000-years we can see clearly and appreciate the impact of seemingly disparate happenings.
History like this should be studies far more. Our current world outlook would be sharpened if we reminded ourselves of how our society and culture was forged. Ideas that we take for granted and never question were being hammered out with significant gains for the winners and colossal impacts for the losers. A king is anointed by God, does he also represent God? Is his power both spiritual and temporal or is the office simply administrative and military? We know the settled answer to this now, but at the time it could have gone the opposite way.
The ideas formed in this time lasted till the 1st World War and many are central to political organization today. This is history that should be studied and understood as it informs the very basis of our present society.
No small accomplishment, that thesis, and no small accomplishment this book. Southern's style of writing is charming and concise. You don't get the thesis till the last chapter, but the preceding chapters are entertaining, enjoyable reading.
The author who turned me on to this book was the recently deceased Norman F. Cantor in his dishy "The Making of the Middle Ages", which I also recommend for any one who is reading on this subject outside the academy. Cantor's main point was to show how the empire building mind set of the "Annales" school of the history of the middle ages (which concentrates its focus on the role of the peasant in the society of the middle ages), had deprived other "schools" of much needed oxygen. Well, he didn't put it that way exactly, but that's what he said.
Cantor, of course, studied under Southern, so the bias is there. None the less, having read several books from the Annales school and none from Southern and his progeny, I would have to say that the two compliment one another (and Southern cites Marc Bloch, the much revered founder of Annales school).
So read this book if you want to learn more about the history of the middle ages and the growth of invdividualism in the west. You won't be dissapointed.