Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom
Tom Holland, who wrote a very good book on the fall of the Roman Republic (Rubicon) and a not-so-good one on the Persian wars (Persian Fire) swings and misses in this breezy account of the rise of Europe during the tenth and eleventh centuries. The canvas stretches from Iceland to Byzantium, but without any clear focus or coherent story to tell. None of the historical figures are fleshed out and the writing style seems the product of extreme haste, stuffed with overwrought scenery and repetitive rhetorical emphases. Finally, the argument for the importance of the period is never convincingly demonstrated, with the millennium itself, like our own Y2K, turning out to be a damp squib. An easy read, but rice cake for fans of popular history.