Becoming Charlemagne by Jeff Sypeck
Europe, Baghdad, and the Empires of A.D. 800

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Synopsis

On Christmas morning in the year 800, Pope Leo III placed the crown of imperial Rome on the brow of a Germanic king named Karl. With one gesture, the man later hailed as Charlemagne claimed his empire and forever shaped the destiny of Europe. Becoming Charlemagne tells the story of the international power struggle that led to this world-changing event.

Illuminating an era that has long been overshadowed by legend, this far-ranging book shows how the Frankish king and his wise counselors built an empire not only through warfare but also by careful diplomacy. With consummate political skill, Charlemagne partnered with a scandal-ridden pope, fended off a ruthless Byzantine empress, nurtured Jewish communities in his empire, and fostered ties with a famous Islamic caliph. For 1,200 years, the deeds of Charlemagne captured the imagination of his descendants, inspiring kings and crusaders, the conquests of Napoléon and Hitler, and the optimistic architects of the European Union.

In this engaging narrative, Jeff Sypeck crafts a vivid portrait of Karl, the ruler who became a legend, while transporting readers far beyond Europe to the glittering palaces of Constantinople and the streets of medieval Baghdad. Evoking a long-ago world of kings, caliphs, merchants, and monks, Becoming Charlemagne brings alive an age of empire building that continues to resonate today.

 

About Jeff Sypeck

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Jeff Sypeck teaches medieval literature at the University of Maryland. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, among other publications. He lives in Washington, D.C.
 
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Becoming Charlemagne

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Sypeck, who previously covered this subject for middle-schoolers (The Holy Roman Empire and Charlemagne in World History, not reviewed), works here to deconstruct and dispel myths about both Charlemagne and his era.

Dec 01 2006 | Read Full Review of Becoming Charlemagne: Europe,...

Publishers Weekly

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Sypeck affectionately peers behind the legends surrounding Charlemagne and magnificently chronicles four significant years in the emperor's life. From 796 to 800, Charlemagne, the king of the F

Sep 18 2006 | Read Full Review of Becoming Charlemagne: Europe,...

Publishers Weekly

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Sypeck affectionately peers behind the legends surrounding Charlemagne and magnificently chronicles four significant years in the emperor's life.

Sep 18 2006 | Read Full Review of Becoming Charlemagne: Europe,...

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