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Charlemagne is seen by historians as the bridge between ancient and modern Europe. His Holy Roman Empire was the embodiment of an ideal that inspired leaders as different as Charles V, Napoleon, and Hitler, each of whom sought to make a unified Europe a reality again in their own times.
In this new biography, the first major study of Charlemagne in more than twenty-five years, Derek Wilson provides an absorbing and lively account of his life, character, and accomplishments. Charlemagne transcends every notion we have of the traditional historical hero. A military strategist of Julius Caesar's caliber, he had no knowledge of classical history. A ruler with the sagacity of Marcus Aurelius, he ordered summary executions more reminiscent of Caligula or Nero. A devout believer who ensured the survival of Christianity in the West, he considered himself above the Church, sired numerous bastard children, and generated accusations of incest.
Written by one of England's most respected biographers, Charlemagne is a masterful, multidimensional portrait of a great historical figure---a man whose earthy passions were surpassed only by his religious devotion, and whose religious devotion was exceeded only by his homicidal anger.
Derek Wilson graduated from Cambridge in 1961. He spent several years traveling and teaching in Africa before becoming a full-time writer and broadcaster in 1971. His highly acclaimed books include Rothschild: A Story of Wealth and Power, Hans Holbein: Portrait of an Unknown Man, and Tudor Tapestry: Men, Women and Society in Reformation England. The organizer of the Cambridge History Festival, Wilson is married and lives in Devon, England.
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Random House
Publication Date: 2007
|Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.19 (inches)|
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An incisive and absorbing biography of the legendary emperor who bridged ancient and modern Europe and singlehandedly altered the course of Western history.
Charlemagne was an extraordinary figure: an ingenious military strategist, a wise but ruthless leader, a cunning politician, and a devout believer who ensured the survival of Christianity in the West. He also believed himself above the rules of the church, siring bastards across Europe and coldly ordering the execution of 4,500 prisoners. Derek Wilson shows how this complicated, fascinating man married the military might of his army to the spiritual force of the Church in Rome, thereby forging Western Christendom. This is a remarkable portrait of Charlemagne and of the intricate political, religious, and cultural world he dominated.
Praise for Derek Wilson's Charlemagne
"Wilson interrelates the personal and political. . . with an effectiveness that few other biographers have matched." The Sunday Telegraph (London)
"Fast-paced. . . . Wilson deftly chronicles Charlemagne's military exploits, political intrigues and religious devotion." Publishers Weekly
"Masterful and lively. . . . [Wilson] writes with great conviction and a breathtaking attention to the kind of personal detail that makes his books such compelling reading." Alison Weir, author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII
"Brilliant. . . . An utterly captivating and exquisitely written narrative about the rise and fall of the Carolingian empire. . . . Charlemagne is also a timely and provocative essay about the idea of Europe." Donald Yerxa, editor at Historically Speaking