A guest book review/essay by the Norwegian writer, Fjordman.
The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000 was written by Chris Wickham, a Professor of Medieval History at the University of Oxford, England. He was also the editor of the work Marxist History-writing for the Twenty-first Century from 2007, which received praise for its distinctly Marxist outlook in International Socialism, a journal associated with the Socialist Workers Party in Britain, a party of revolutionary Socialists.
The Inheritance of Rome consists of roughly six hundred pages densely packed with names, often excessively so compared to deeper insights into historical trends. Although the author has dedicated several chapters each to the Byzantine and Arab Empires in addition to Western Europe, which is fine, he is rather weak in comparing how these cultures used the Greco-Roman heritage differently, for instance Greek natural philosophy or secular Roman law.
He talks about Arab conquests and “raids,” but doesn’t explain Islamic Jihad as a word or concept. By reading this book and this book alone you will have no understanding whatsoever of the fact that Europe was for over a thousand years targeted by a religiously sanctioned war of conquest, certainly not that in the minds of many Muslims this drive for world domination continues to this day. In fact, you will learn more about Tunisian olive oil than about Jihad.
Even though he writes extensively about Charles Martel and the Carolingians, he barely mentions the Battle of Poitiers in AD 732 when Martel’s troops halted the Arab Muslim advances into Western Europe north of the Pyrenees. This is, quite frankly, incomprehensible when considering the amount of detail he spends on issues that are of lesser importance.
I am not claiming that there is no information of value in these six hundred pages. I did find bits and pieces of interest here and there. Yet the book suffers from fundamental flaws and should for that reason not be used as the main source of information about this era. It may at most be used with some caution to supplement information you get from other, better works.
Read the rest over at Andrew Bostom’s blog.