Feudal Society

By Marc Bloch,

Book cover of Feudal Society

Book description

Marc Bloch said that his goal in writing Feudal Society was to go beyond the technical study a medievalist would typically write and 'dismantle a social structure.' In this outstanding and monumental work, which has introduced generations of students and historians to the feudal period, Bloch treats feudalism as living,…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Feudal Society as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Marc Bloch was one of the greatest historians of the 20th century. He was also hero of the French Resistance, tortured and executed by the notorious Nazi Klaus Barbie. Feudal Society (2 volumes) is perhaps his best book. 

It is often said that the past is a foreign country, and it is true that the world of the Middle Ages is alien to us in many respects. What Bloch does is to provide a systematic examination of all aspects of that world, that is he examines it it from a legal, a sociological, an anthropological, an economic, and a political…

An English translation of a book published in French in 1940 (La société féodale). One of the truly great books on medieval society, it brought the richness and diversity of the Middle Ages alive for me in ways that have stayed with me throughout my career as a scholar and author. It also introduced me to History as written in France, again something that has always inspired me.

Marc Bloch was one of the most important historians of the twentieth century as well as a brave and principled man - he joined the French resistance after the German occupation of 1940 and was captured, tortured, and killed by the Gestapo in 1944. Feudal Society first appeared in French in 1939-40 and was quickly recognized as a brilliant introduction to the feudal Europe of the ninth to thirteenth centuries. Besides setting out the power structures of that society, such as the kindred, the fief, and the manor, it pioneered new approaches – one chapter is titled “Modes of Feeling…

From Robert's list on a look at medieval Europe as a whole.

I have always loved this classic economic history that is so understanding and elegant that I cannot resist quoting it and rereading it as well.

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