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The Last Apocalypse : Europe at the Year 1000 A.D.

Reston, James, Jr.

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ISBN 10: 0385483368 / ISBN 13: 9780385483360
Published by Anchor Books, New York, NY, U.S.A., 1999
Used Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Last Apocalypse : Europe at the Year ...

Publisher: Anchor Books, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Trade Paperback

Book Condition:Good

Edition: Third Printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

Accomplished historical author James Reston, Jr., presents the enthralling saga of how the Christian kingdoms converted, conquered, and slaughtered their way to dominance in Europe as the year 1000 approached.
 
Through Reston's brilliant narrative and engaging portraits of the unforgettable historical characters who embodied the struggle for the soul of Europe, students are introduced to a pivotal period in history during which an old order was crumbling, and terrifying, confusing new ideas were gaining hold in the populace. From the righteous fury of the Viking queen Sigrid the Strong-Minded, who burned unwanted suitors alive; to the brilliant but too-cunning Moor, al-Mansur the Illustrious Victor; to the aptly named English king Ethelred the Unready; to the abiding genius of the age, Pope Sylvester II—warrior kings and concubine empresses, maniacal warriors and religious zealots bring this stirring period to life.

Review:

With the turn of the century approaching, talk of the apocalypse runs rampant. In The Last Apocalypse, James Reston reminds us that such talk is nothing new. At the previous turn of the millennium, Vikings, Moors, and Hungarian Magyars beseiged Europe with wanton cruelty and violence, spreading fear and destruction wherever they went and leading many to believe that the end of the world was near. Such colorful characters as Sigrid the Haughty, Svein Forkbeard, Ethelred the Unready, and Al-Mansor the Illustrious Victor were the heroes and villains of the era.

Reston, author of previous works that include Galileo: A Life and Sherman's March, evokes the historical essence of the time using limited legal and church documents, archaeological artifacts, and rare contemporary literary accounts. Reston's history reads like an engrossing novel, carefully crafted without getting bogged down in dry details. He skillfully interweaves the complex story of how each European country dealt with these changes, bringing the period back to life.

Reston portrays A.D. 999 as a profound turning point for mankind, mapping out the fate of each country as the Christian kingdoms, unified in belief, brutally conquered and imposed the will of Christianity upon heathen Europe. In the space of 60 years, the established ruling elite were slaughtered or forced to succumb to the turning religious tide. By A.D. 1050, the sign of the cross fell like an ominous shadow across Europe, paradoxically signifying the dawn of peace under Christian unity.

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