The greatest of medieval monarchs, Charles the Great (742-814) towers over every notion we have of national heroes and semi-mythical champions. His military conquests exceeded those of Julius Caesar. He had the sagacity and dedication to public service of a Marcus Aurelius. In ruthlessness, as in dedication to personal culture, he was reminiscent of Augustus. But that is only the beginning. Charlemagne was a phenomenon and phenomena do not die. Later European leaders from Frederick Barbarossa and Charles V to Louis XIV, Napoleon I and Hitler took Charlemagne as their model. His growing mythology inspired the Crusades, fed the concept of chivalry, bolstered absolutist regimes, excited nineteenth-century liberals and emerges today among those who claim Charles the Great as the founder of European unity. Charlemagne is one of the most remarkable figures in European history: only by understanding him in all his complexity can we begin to understand Europe today. Derek Wilson's biography provides such an opportunity.
Derek Wilson is well known through his books, radio and TV appearances, frequent journalistic features and festival appearances as one of the UK's leading narrative historians. Among his critically acclaimed and bestselling books are: The King and the Gentleman: Charles Stuart and Oliver Cromwell 1599-1649, In the Lion's Court: Power, Ambition and Sudden Death in the Reign of Henry VIII, All the King's Women: Love, Sex and Politics in the Life of Charles II, Charlemagne: The Great Adventure.
by Derek Wilson
by David Rozelle
by Alistair Tait
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