Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire

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9780674058095: Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire
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The Holy Roman Empire lasted a thousand years, far longer than ancient Rome. Yet this formidable dominion never inspired the awe of its predecessor. Voltaire distilled the disdain of generations when he quipped it was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. Yet as Peter Wilson shows, the Holy Roman Empire tells a millennial story of Europe better than the histories of individual nation-states. And its legacy can be seen today in debates over the nature of the European Union.

Heart of Europe traces the Empire from its origins within Charlemagne’s kingdom in 800 to its demise in 1806. By the mid-tenth century its core rested in the German kingdom, and ultimately its territory stretched from France and Denmark to Italy and Poland. Yet the Empire remained stubbornly abstract, with no fixed capital and no common language or culture. The source of its continuity and legitimacy was the ideal of a unified Christian civilization, but this did not prevent emperors from clashing with the pope over supremacy―the nadir being the sack of Rome in 1527 that killed 147 Vatican soldiers.

Though the title of Holy Roman Emperor retained prestige, rising states such as Austria and Prussia wielded power in a way the Empire could not. While it gradually lost the flexibility to cope with political, economic, and social changes, the Empire was far from being in crisis until the onslaught of the French revolutionary wars, when a crushing defeat by Napoleon at Austerlitz compelled Francis II to dissolve his realm.

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About the Author:

Peter H. Wilson is Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford.

Review:

If, like most people, you know little more about the Holy Roman Empire than Voltaire’s bon mot―that it ‘was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire’―then this is the book for you. In his masterly study of the original ‘1,000-year Reich’ (Hitler’s was merely a grotesque caricature), the Oxford professor Peter H. Wilson condenses a great deal of modern scholarship while wearing his learning lightly... Wilson’s account is distinctive in treating the empire neither as a sequence of obstacles on the path to national self-determination, nor as a blueprint for the European Union. Instead, he seeks to understand how and why it worked. (Daniel Johnson Sunday Times 2016-01-17)

Hugely impressive... Wilson is an assured guide through the millennium-long labyrinth of papal–imperial relations. (John Adamson Literary Review 2016-02-01)

Superb... Wilson attempts something very ambitious―to treat the history by categories... Wilson’s history represents the culmination of a lifetime of research and thought, and in its scope and depth of detail is an astonishing scholarly achievement. The author moves from the grand themes to detail with felicity...Wilson uses a relaxed and easy prose, turning antiquated and odd pieces of evidence or description into approachable and comprehensible explanations... [What] pleasure that a massive work of scholarship like Wilson’s can give the conscientious reader... This book [is] a very stimulating read. (Jonathan Steinberg The Spectator 2016-01-23)

Engrossing... Even those who know the empire well will read this book with profit... Peter Wilson is to be congratulated on writing the only English-language work that deals with the empire from start to finish and on the basis of staggering erudition. (Brendan Simms The Times 2016-01-23)

Wilson has given [the Holy Roman Empire] its longest and most readable one-volume history in the modern era. (Steve Donoghue Christian Science Monitor 2016-03-01)

An ambitious, sprawling tome that seeks to rehabilitate the Holy Roman Empire's reputation by re-examining its place within the larger sweep of European history...Heart of Europe succeeds splendidly in rescuing the empire from its critics. (Mark Molesky Wall Street Journal 2016-05-20)

In his remarkable book, Wilson argues that a broad and deep perspective on the old Reich―broader and deeper than those available to either Charles IV or Goethe―discloses a fundamentally positive vision of that much-maligned institution. Wilson has set himself a staggering task, but it is one at which he succeeds heroically. Over the course of nearly a thousand pages, Wilson recounts with unflagging lucidity the history of an empire spanning continental Europe from the North Sea to the Vistula and from the Baltic to southern Italy, which endured for more than a millennium, between Charlemagne and Napoleon. Wilson does more. He tracks the medieval Empire back to its ancient roots, and he excavates its subterranean modern afterlife. His book amounts to a panoramic vision of pre-modern Europe, expanding outward from the vast and varied landscapes of the Reich...Despite its vast sweep, this is remarkably fine-grained history. (Len Scales Times Literary Supplement 2016-06-15)

Distils in over a thousand pages the millennium from Charlemagne to Napoleon. It is indispensable to any serious library. (Simon Heffer Daily Telegraph 2016-11-26)

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Book Description Belknap Press. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1008 pages. The Holy Roman Empire lasted a thousand years, far longer than ancient Rome. Yet this formidable dominion never inspired the awe of its predecessor. Voltaire distilled the disdain of generations when he quipped it was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. Yet as Peter Wilson shows, the Holy Roman Empire tells a millennial story of Europe better than the histories of individual nation-states. And its legacy can be seen today in debates over the nature of the European Union. Heart of Europe traces the Empire from its origins within Charlemagnes kingdom in 800 to its demise in 1806. By the mid-tenth century its core rested in the German kingdom, and ultimately its territory stretched from France and Denmark to Italy and Poland. Yet the Empire remained stubbornly abstract, with no fixed capital and no common language or culture. The source of its continuity and legitimacy was the ideal of a unified Christian civilization, but this did not prevent emperors from clashing with the pope over supremacythe nadir being the sack of Rome in 1527 that killed 147 Vatican soldiers. Though the title of Holy Roman Emperor retained prestige, rising states such as Austria and Prussia wielded power in a way the Empire could not. While it gradually lost the flexibility to cope with political, economic, and social changes, the Empire was far from being in crisis until the onslaught of the French revolutionary wars, when a crushing defeat by Napoleon at Austerlitz compelled Francis II to dissolve his realm. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Seller Inventory # 9780674058095

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