About Boils and Y2K
Review time. It’s summer and maybe you’re doing the vacation thing or the relax thing. That’s cool. But you need something to read, otherwise your brain goes soft.
So try this on. Tom Holland’s (not the actor) Forge of Christendom. Unlike most of my recommendations, this is nonfiction, but… Tom Holland is one of the best writers of any genre living today. He knows all the words and every conceivable way to squeeze them, from angles you never even thought about.
I love that.
Of course I love that.
But so shall you.
This isn’t some dull history of the church, rehashed and slightly reframed so a dusty professor can get a paycheck. I wouldn’t do that to you. This is an epic tale, and it puts you in a place that most people don’t really think about—the centuries surrounding 1000 A.D.
These were crazy times. I like reading about crazy times, because they make me feel less freaked about our current crazy times. Perspective and all that.
Just think. Rome has ostensibly disintegrated, but their church is still kicking hard. This thing called the Holy Roman Empire has popped up in the middle of Europe, but it’s not all that Holy and not Roman. Not really much of an empire, either. There’s Vikings coming down from the north, tribes smashing from the east, Muslims pretty much making people look stupid all over.
It’s like a cage match. And then throw in the millennium. Fire? Check. Match? Check.
Remember the stupid Y2K thing? I do. People were worried that there might be a technological apocalypse. Some did, anyway. I was a kid and was more concerned with making out with girls or whatnot.
But imagine you’re in the cage match back in the day. You believe (though Holland downplays this because he’s a real historian) that the 1000 year mark might be the end. Something has to happen. There’s something about a thousand years in the Bible, and even though you’re a peasant with one shirt that can’t read, that’s enough to cause a general sense of internal upheaval.
Hard to imagine what these folks were going through. Tectonic shifts were taking place in non-geological time frames. The average guy or gal was probably just trying to get on and not die of boils or whatever, but still—epic times, bro.
Give it a stern perusal. It’s fairly heady stuff. I like to read something of this ilk before I settle down for a good helping of Harry Potter and the Whatever the Hell. The last part was a joke.
History. It does a body good. And nobody does it gooder than Tom Holland. Maybe Paul Johnson. It’s a running debate. Later nerds!!
See you after.