Powers and Thrones
A New History of the Middle Ages
by Dan Jones
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Pub Date 02 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 02 Sep 2021
Head of Zeus, Apollo
From the bestselling author of The Templars, Dan Jones's epic new history tells nothing less than the story of how the world we know today came to be built.
Dan Jones's epic new history tells nothing less than the story of how the world we know today came to be built. It is a thousand-year adventure that moves from the ruins of the once-mighty city of Rome, sacked by barbarians in AD 410, to the first contacts between the old and new worlds in the sixteenth century. It shows how, from a state of crisis and collapse, the West was rebuilt and came to dominate the entire globe. The book identifies three key themes that underpinned the success of the West: commerce, conquest and Christianity.
Across 16 chapters, blending Dan Jones' trademark gripping narrative style with authoritative analysis, Powers and Thrones shows how, at each stage in this story, successive western powers thrived by attracting – or stealing – the most valuable resources, ideas and people from the rest of the world. It casts new light on iconic locations – Rome, Paris, Venice, Constantinople – and it features some of history's most famous and notorious men and women.
This is a book written about – and for – an age of profound change, and it asks the biggest questions about the West both then and now. Where did we come from? What made us? Where do we go from here?
PRAISE FOR DAN JONES:
'Exhilarating, epic, sword-swinging history ... A skilful storyteller ... He enlivens the narrative with bloodcurdling details and arresting turns of phrase ... There is also fine scholarly intuition' TLS
'Jones carries the Templars through the crusades with clarity and verve. This is unabashed narrative history, fast-paced and full of incident ... Jones tells their story extremely well' Sunday Times
'Stonking narrative history told with pace, wit and scholarship' Observer
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 34 members
A sweeping tapestry of the
Middle Ages, a rollicking journey through Medieval civilization, its restlessness, its ambiguities and all the truculent changes that transformed Europe's identity and its destiny over several centuries.
Dan Jones takes us once again on a memorable trip through the magnificent and tumultuous ups and downs that transformed the European landscape from the fall of the Roman empire to the first lights of the Renaissance with a bold new analysis.
An unforgettable reading experience from one of the best historians at work today in English.
Highly recommended and to be enjoyed without any moderation. Bravo!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Head of Zeus for this terrific ARC
To the surprise of no one, I am giving a Dan Jones book 5 stars. He’s always the first stop when I want to research an area of medieval history for my own books. This was an excellent overview of the intricate web of politics, dynasty and kingship during the middle ages. Thoroughly enjoyed. Recommend this and all Jones’ other books too.
A big thank-you to Dan Jones, Head of Zeus, and NetGalley for arc in exchange for my honest review.*
I always try to read everything that Mr Jones offers, and was delighted to have received a copy of his latest book. Being interested in the Middle Ages in general, I wanted to learn more about the early periods, beginning with the fall of the Roman Empire, and ending with the appearance of the Renaissance.
The book is terrific! For one thing, the Author manages to comprise millions of bits of information and at the same time write in an egaging way, not at all scholarly, and I appreciated this most. I am not a historian and have a general understanding of the millenium on which the Author focuses. having said that, I enjoyed enormously the panorama of the events which were at the core of that period.
Again, the tome is rather thick, however, reading it was a pleasure and for this I thank Mr Jones.
Wow this is a whole lot of history its fun and informative and very well researched ( from my prospective as having a keen interest in history but with a lot to learn).
Lots of history can be told very differently depending on your stand point including your faith, nationality and interests. So I say this as you may not always like certain takes on history but from as neutral a point of view as possible I feel this is extremely well written. As factual as possible and a lot more fun than a study book but this would be a great source of information to get a take of each era that is covered. The collapse of The Roman Empire to the beginning of the Reformation where another Roman Era faced a uncertain future. I feel that the 2 groups here Catholic and Protestant have far more in common than not but then that's my take on it in a sentence.
Each stage of history has winners and losers each side has a background and I felt this was covered as well as possible, specially over a 1000 years in under 1000 pages that's quite a feat to achieve. I enjoyed this as I've said and it brought history to life which is what you want if you're interested in any subject and if your interest is history then this is a wonderful book to have. I felt for me it's a book that you can just read about one era and come back later to look at another time later on. Its a lot to take in reading from front to back which I did and your right there's far too much information to grasp hold of the whole book. So I will look back at one time at a time next time I read it (that's a lot of times)
I hope you have a lot of fun and learn much from Powers and Thrones I certainly did.
Bestselling author Dan Jones tells the story of how the world we know today formed.
It is a thousand-year emprise of Middle Ages that moves from the ancient Rome, invasions of barbarians in AD 410, from ruin of mighty Rome - to the first contacts between the old and new worlds in the sixteenth century. From a state of crisis and collapse, the West was rebuilt and came to dominate the entire globe. Success of the West was established on three pillars:
Dan Jones is a skillful storyteller, the book is written with such a clarity, wit and ease. It is even fast paced, full of fascinating facts and stories of people, metropolises, such as Constantinople, Venice, Rome, Paris that ruled the world, ideas, progress and growth - everything based on sources, of course.
Author provides thorough and well researched historical facts and subsequent analysis of Middle Ages and involves the reader to question and ponders more about those tendencies that put the West world on the throne of the whole world.
Epic and eye-opening read!
This author is my favourite historical writer. His accounts read like novels.
Sadly, I cannot read much of this book, because the supplied format is so difficult to read. Either the text is too small or else it is not all on-screen.
What I did read was up to his normal level, but comprises only 10% of the book.
You need a format with both text magnification and re-flow. The books used to be offered in epub and azw formats. Why you have changed to pdf I have no idea, but it cannot be for security reasons, as none are secure against removal of drm.
“I promise you, it is going to be fun” (p.2)
It is fun - Jones has bags of charm and a strong sense of how to pitch his explanations to engage and entertain - (you probably already know this). Here, he is very much on form.
It is very readable and the global perspective is very welcome (though he admits he only shows Asia and Africa as they impinge on the West). The book comes in 4 parts and covers the following basic periods: 1) 410-750 - 2) 750-900 - 3) 900-1300 - 4) 1400-1600. That’s a lot of ground to cover - the great thing is that it is never heavy going and no section seems covered for the sake of it, or only to provide a bridge to some other more interesting period. I guess his media experience is coming into play: make the subject interesting (relevant and informative) and don’t be boring.
A generation ago books of this sort would have aimed to pack in a mass of detail (battles, royal genealogies, &c) with the aim of forming an unbroken chain of facts. Jones is more modern in trying to grasp the more general processes (structural transformations) that meant certain regions rose while others declined. There is lots of detail in here, and the passages of narrative are very clear and engaging. His skill lies in making those narrative passages seem clear and vivid, even as he then shows how their value lies in colouring in the bigger picture stuff. As I said, not only does he do this, he manages it with a deft touch.
In all this the book actually reflects what is now taught in schools he includes topics like: climate change; economy; law; population/migration; health and disease, and technological change. Obviously, this is in addition to the institutional structures the Church and State used to weather all the various pressures they faced. He is judicious and puts established views to the test of modern experience (as when he explains why the Roman sources denigrated the Vandals and how we might be able to take a different view).
I would recommend you overlook the length/size/weight - it is a super-readable and accessible overview from a well-informed and sensible modern perspective. 5-stars all the way!
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