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BOOK OF THE MONTH

The Holy Roman Empire: a Thousand Years of Europe’s History

By Peter H Wilson

Allen Lane, £35,1008 pages, hardback

Covering a thousand years in as many pages, it’s fair to say that the history of the Holy Roman Empire makes for a hugely ambitious project. Yet – thanks to Wilson’s accomplished scholarship and accessible tone – it’s also hugely compelling. From AD 800 to 1800, massive tracts of central Europe were ruled by a single Emperor, but how did that actually work? Was it, as some commentators have argued, not really ‘holy’ or ‘Roman’ or even an ‘empire’? And by taking in warfare, politics, law and religion, as well as the varying cultures, Wilson makes a strong case for why this period still matters in the 21st century.

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The March 2016 issue of History Revealed.