Charlemagne by Derek Wilson

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An absorbing biography of the great leader who was the bridge between ancient and modern Europe — the first major study in more than twenty-five years.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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Derek Wilson

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Derek Wilson is a renowned Tudor historian. He is the author of over thirty books including The Uncrowned Kings of England, Sir Francis Walsingham, The Lion's Court, the award-winning A Brief History of the Circumnavigators, and recent biographies of Charlemaigne, Martin Luther, and Hans Holbein (Pimlico). He is the founder of the Cambridge History festival.
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 270 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Charlemagne not only conquered much of Europe but also created the idea of "Europe," one that has lasted far longer than the empire, which began to fracture soon after his death in 814.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Charlemagne

Publishers Weekly

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Christian warrior, scholar prince, pilgrim saint and emperor, Charlemagne (742–814) has influenced modern rulers from Napoleon to Charles de Gaulle. As acclaimed British historian Wilson (

Mar 13 2006 | Read Full Review of Charlemagne


The crown of Emperor which Leo III placed upon Charles’ head on Christmas day 800 was almost besides the point, being mainly a ceremonial title bestowed by the Pope as means of further solidifying the Frankish king’s pan-European stature—there is evidence that Charles was actually disinclined to ...

Aug 30 2006 | Read Full Review of Charlemagne

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