Thursday, August 04, 2005


A simply marvelous excursion, written with warmth and humor; not at all as dry as you'd think. Brown carefully de-constructs certain fashionable notions about "Europe" and "Rome" and "barbarians" and "pagans." I found his portraits of people (Colombanus, Patricius, Gregory of Tours, Boniface, etc) and places (Syria, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, France, England, etc) to be evidence that even in remote, "primitive" times the world was already small.

And many of the conflicts troubling the world between 2000 and 1000 years ago are still haunting us today.

It took me a while to finish because I kept re-reading other great stuff concurrently, most notably: