100 books like The Merovingian Kingdoms 450 - 751

By Ian Wood,

Here are 100 books that The Merovingian Kingdoms 450 - 751 fans have personally recommended if you like The Merovingian Kingdoms 450 - 751. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of France Since 1945

Jeremy Black Author Of France: A Short History

From my list on the history of France.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian with wide-ranging interests and publications, including, in European history, histories of Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Mediterranean, eighteenth-century Europe, Europe 1550-1800, Europe since 1945, and European warfare.

Jeremy's book list on the history of France

Jeremy Black Why did Jeremy love this book?

The leading British interpreter of French history from 1940 produced this valuable guide to a period of major transformation in French history. Gildea has cogently argued that French politics reflects long-lasting divisions that play out in different mileux.

By Robert Gildea,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked France Since 1945 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The last fifty years of French history have seen immense challenges for the French: constructing a new European order, building a modern economy, searching for a stable political system. It has also been a time of anxiety and doubt. The French have had to come to terms with the legacy of the German Occupation, the loss of Empire, the political and social implications of the influx of foreign immigrants, the rise of Islam, the destruction of rural life, and the threat
of Anglo-American culture to French language and civilization.
Robert Gildea's account examines the French political system and France's role…


Book cover of Paris: The Biography of a City

Katrina Lawrence Author Of Paris Dreaming: What the City of Light Taught Me About Life, Love & Lipstick

From my list on the history of Paris (and Parisians).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been obsessed with Paris since the age of five. For most of my life I’ve travelled there regularly and read every book on the subject I could find. After working as a beauty editor, I decided to try to make my passion my day job. That inspired me to write Paris Dreaming: What the City of Light Taught Me About Life, Love & Lipstick, and launch a travel consultancy business, Paris for Dreamers. I work with like-minded lovers of Paris, who constantly yearn for the city’s beguiling beauty and fascinating history, and who are always planning their next trip—or visiting Paris virtually, through the pages of a book!

Katrina's book list on the history of Paris (and Parisians)

Katrina Lawrence Why did Katrina love this book?

If you’re new to the history of Paris, this is an ideal book to start with. It’s a sweeping account of this fabled city’s story, from Roman times to the turn of the twenty-first century, but while lofty in aim it’s charmingly fun to read, the author being adept at packaging wide-ranging information into a fast-paced narrative. One neat feature is the way Jones highlights certain Parisians or Paris locations, giving them breakout sections that allow readers to delve deeper into the likes of Madame de Sévigné, Rose Bertin, and Josephine Baker. You realise that Paris is so much more than the sum of its stones. Yes, it’s about beautiful monuments, but just as much about the people who have breathed such life into Paris that their spirit lives on to this day.

By Colin Jones,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Roman Emperor Julian, who waxed rhapsodic about Parisian wine and figs, to Henry Miller, who relished its seductive bohemia, Paris has been a perennial source of fascination for 2,000 years. In this definitive and illuminating history, Colin Jones walks us through the city that was a plague-infested charnel house during the Middle Ages, the bloody epicenter of the French Revolution, the muse of nineteenth-century Impressionist painters, and much more. Jones's masterful narrative is enhanced by numerous photographs and feature boxes-on the Bastille or Josephine Baker, for instance-that complete a colorful and comprehensive portrait of a place that has…


Book cover of The Oxford History of the French Revolution

Jeremy Black Author Of France: A Short History

From my list on the history of France.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian with wide-ranging interests and publications, including, in European history, histories of Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Mediterranean, eighteenth-century Europe, Europe 1550-1800, Europe since 1945, and European warfare.

Jeremy's book list on the history of France

Jeremy Black Why did Jeremy love this book?

Bill Doyle is the leading British interpreter of the French Revolution and this is a subtle account of its causes and course. Very good on the need to look for specific political causes rather than any supposedly inevitable pattern of socio-economic conflict.

By William Doyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oxford History of the French Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its first publication to mark the bicentenary of the French Revolution in 1989, this Oxford History has established itself as the Revolution's most authoritative and comprehensive one-volume history in English, and has recently been translated into Chinese. Running from the accession of Louis XVI in 1774, it traces the history of France through revolution, terror, and counter-revolution to the final triumph of Napoleon in 1802. It also analyses the impact of
events in France upon the rest of Europe and the world beyond. The study shows how a movement which began with optimism and general enthusiasm soon became a…


Book cover of The Valois: Kings of France 1328-1589

Jeremy Black Author Of France: A Short History

From my list on the history of France.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian with wide-ranging interests and publications, including, in European history, histories of Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Mediterranean, eighteenth-century Europe, Europe 1550-1800, Europe since 1945, and European warfare.

Jeremy's book list on the history of France

Jeremy Black Why did Jeremy love this book?

A scholarly account of the family that ruled France from 1328 to 1589. Knecht concentrates on the high politics, but his book is a valuable linkage of the Middle Ages and the early-modern age, taking readers from the Hundred Years’ War to the French Wars of Religion. France’s bloody history emerges clearly.

By Robert Knecht,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Valois as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The house of Valois ruled France for 250 years, playing a crucial role in its establishment as a major European power. When Philip VI came to the throne, in 1328, France was a weak country, with much of its modern area under English rule. Victory in the Hundred Years' War, and the acquisition of Brittany and much of Burgundy, combined with a large population and taxable wealth, made the France of Francis I the only power in Europe capable of rivalling the empire of Charles V. Francis displayed his power by spectacular artistic patronage and aggressive foreign wars. Following the…


Book cover of The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400-1000

James Calbraith Author Of The Saxon Spears: An Epic of the Dark Age

From my list on Barbarian Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my novels, I aim to present a different vision of early Post-Roman Britain than the one usually imagined in fiction – especially in the future Kingdom of Kent, where my books are set. To show these connections, and to present the greater background for the events in the novels, I first needed to gain knowledge of what Europe itself looked like in this period: a Gaul divided between Gothic, Frankish, and Roman administration, a complex interplay of Romans and Barbarians, a world in transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. The story gleaned from the pages of these books proved as fascinating and intriguing as any I’ve ever read.

James' book list on Barbarian Europe

James Calbraith Why did James love this book?

Another synthesis of the ‘Dark Ages’ Europe, this one from the Penguin History series. An easy, but thorough read, painting a broad canvas from Ireland to Byzantium, and from the last days of Rome to the last days of Anglo-Saxon England, shines the light on the centuries that, while still seen as shrouded in the darkness of violence and barbarism, are in fact the true cradle of the European civilization as we know it today.

By Chris Wickham,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Inheritance of Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The breath  of reading is astounding, the knowledge displayed is awe-inspiring and the attention quietly given to critical theory and the postmodern questioning of evidence is both careful and sincere."--The Daily Telegraph (UK)

"A superlative work of historical scholarship."--Literary Review (UK)

A unique and enlightening look at Europe's so-called Dark Ages; the second volume in the Penguin History of Europe

Defying the conventional Dark Ages view of European history between A.D. 400 and 1000, award-winning historian Chris Wickham presents The Inheritance of Rome, a work of remarkable scope and rigorous yet accessible scholarship. Drawing on a wealth of new material…


Book cover of Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe

James Calbraith Author Of The Saxon Spears: An Epic of the Dark Age

From my list on Barbarian Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my novels, I aim to present a different vision of early Post-Roman Britain than the one usually imagined in fiction – especially in the future Kingdom of Kent, where my books are set. To show these connections, and to present the greater background for the events in the novels, I first needed to gain knowledge of what Europe itself looked like in this period: a Gaul divided between Gothic, Frankish, and Roman administration, a complex interplay of Romans and Barbarians, a world in transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. The story gleaned from the pages of these books proved as fascinating and intriguing as any I’ve ever read.

James' book list on Barbarian Europe

James Calbraith Why did James love this book?

Peter Heather’s work is one of the broadest in scope on the topic of the European ‘Barbarians’, while still retaining enough detail to keep the reader’s attention pinned. A great starter for this period of history, encompassing the entire first millennium AD, the time when the heart of European civilization gradually moved from the Mediterranean South to the cold Barbarian North. It reads like a novel – but is supported by years of painstaking research. If you can only read one book on Barbarian Europe, this is the book.

By Peter Heather,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Empires and Barbarians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the start of the first millennium AD, southern and western Europe formed part of the Mediterranean-based Roman Empire, the largest state western Eurasia has ever known, and was set firmly on a trajectory towards towns, writing, mosaics, and central heating. Central, northern and eastern Europe was home to subsistence farmers, living in wooden houses with mud floors, whose largest political units weighed in at no more than a few thousand people. By the year 1000, Mediterranean domination of the European landscape had been destroyed. Instead of one huge Empire facing loosely organised subsistence farmers, Europe - from the Atlantic…


Book cover of The Roman Empire and Its Germanic Peoples

James Calbraith Author Of The Saxon Spears: An Epic of the Dark Age

From my list on Barbarian Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my novels, I aim to present a different vision of early Post-Roman Britain than the one usually imagined in fiction – especially in the future Kingdom of Kent, where my books are set. To show these connections, and to present the greater background for the events in the novels, I first needed to gain knowledge of what Europe itself looked like in this period: a Gaul divided between Gothic, Frankish, and Roman administration, a complex interplay of Romans and Barbarians, a world in transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. The story gleaned from the pages of these books proved as fascinating and intriguing as any I’ve ever read.

James' book list on Barbarian Europe

James Calbraith Why did James love this book?

Herwig Wolfram is the Grand Master of Germanic history. His mighty History of the Goths is a work cited perhaps more than any other by any author writing about this period, and its influence of study of Early Middle Ages is unparalleled. But History of the Goths is a heavy, dense, scholarly work, and not easy to find these days. The Roman Empire is a more popular synthesis, focusing not just on Goths, but on all Late Antiquity Germanic tribes – Franks, Burgundians, Saxons, and others – providing a rich view of the barbarians from the perspective of their Roman neighbours. 

By Herwig Wolfram, Thomas Dunlap (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Roman Empire and Its Germanic Peoples as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The names of early Germanic warrior tribes and leaders resound in songs and legends; the real story of the part they played in reshaping the ancient world is no less gripping. Herwig Wolfram's panoramic history spans the great migrations of the Germanic peoples and the rise and fall of their kingdoms between the third and eighth centuries, as they invaded, settled in, and ultimately transformed the Roman Empire. As Germanic military kings and their fighting bands created kingdoms, and won political and military recognition from imperial governments through alternating confrontation and accommodation, the 'tribes' lost their shared culture and social…


Book cover of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World

James Calbraith Author Of The Saxon Spears: An Epic of the Dark Age

From my list on Barbarian Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my novels, I aim to present a different vision of early Post-Roman Britain than the one usually imagined in fiction – especially in the future Kingdom of Kent, where my books are set. To show these connections, and to present the greater background for the events in the novels, I first needed to gain knowledge of what Europe itself looked like in this period: a Gaul divided between Gothic, Frankish, and Roman administration, a complex interplay of Romans and Barbarians, a world in transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. The story gleaned from the pages of these books proved as fascinating and intriguing as any I’ve ever read.

James' book list on Barbarian Europe

James Calbraith Why did James love this book?

You can’t overstate the impact of religion on this tumultuous period. The transition from paganism to Christianity not only coincided with, but greatly impacted everything that happened in early medieval Europe. Catherine Nixey’s controversial book focuses on that transition and shows it in full, gory detail – the violence it spurned, and the destruction it caused to the ancient culture that preceded the onset of Christianity. A necessary read for understanding the full picture of the 4th and 5th centuries in Europe.

By Catherine Nixey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Darkening Age as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Darkening Age, Catherine Nixey tells the little-known - and deeply shocking - story of how a militant religion deliberately tried to extinguish the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in unquestioning adherence to the 'one true faith'.

The Roman Empire had been generous in embracing and absorbing new creeds. But with the coming of Christianity, everything changed. This new faith, despite preaching peace, was violent, ruthless and intolerant. And once it became the religion of empire, its zealous adherents set about the destruction of the old gods. Their altars were upturned, their temples demolished and their statues hacked…


Book cover of The Dark Queens: The Bloody Rivalry That Forged the Medieval World

Patrick J. Geary Author Of The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe

From my list on the end of Antiquity and the early Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

Patrick Geary is Professor of History Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at UCLA. He is the author of some fifteen books and many articles and edited volumes on a broad range of topics including barbarian migrations, religious history, ethnicity, nationalism, genetic history, and the modern misuse of ancient and medieval history in the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries. Currently he co-directs an international, interdisciplinary project funded by an ERC Synergy Grant that uses genomic, historical, and archaeological data to understand population structures during the so-called Migration period at the end of the Roman Empire in the West.

Patrick's book list on the end of Antiquity and the early Middle Ages

Patrick J. Geary Why did Patrick love this book?

And now for something completely different: my other recommendations are dense, scholarly volumes, well written but demanding for a general audience.

It is often hard to imagine the people who appear in their pages, based as they are on the scarce and laconic chronicles of the early Middle Ages, as flesh and blood humans.

In this novel, Puhak breathes life into two of the most remarkable women of the period, the Visigothic princess Brunhild, married off to the Frankish King Sigebert, and her sister-in-law Fredegund, who began as a Frankish slave and rose to become a rival queen to Brunhild.

Their story of rivalry, assassination, murder, seduction, but also of governance and diplomacy as two isolated women wielded unheard-of power across the decades, makes the world of seventh-century Gaul come alive.

The ways that the memory of these two women were twisted and manipulated by both contemporary and subsequent male…

By Shelley Puhak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dark Queens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A well-researched and well-told epic history. The Dark Queens brings these courageous, flawed, and ruthless rulers and their distant times back to life.”--Margot Lee Shetterly, New York Times-bestselling author of Hidden Figures

The remarkable, little-known story of two trailblazing women in the Early Middle Ages who wielded immense power, only to be vilified for daring to rule.

Brunhild was a foreign princess, raised to be married off for the sake of alliance-building. Her sister-in-law Fredegund started out as a lowly palace slave. And yet-in sixth-century Merovingian France, where women were excluded from noble succession and royal politics was a blood…


Book cover of Queens, Concubines, and Dowagers: The King's Wife in the Early Middle Ages

Miriam Shadis Author Of Berenguela of Castile (1180-1246) and Political Women in the High Middle Ages

From my list on medieval women’s history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of medieval women, especially women in the Iberian peninsula, and royal women. I became interested in Berenguela of Castile through studying her sister, Blanche, who was queen and regent of France. I learned about Blanche through studying Cistercian architecture – I remain really interested in material culture, memorialization, interpersonal relationships (like motherhood!), and political life in the medieval world, all of which I study primarily through the lens of gender. I still turn to these classic, foundational works on medieval women when I want to teach students how the field developed, and when I want to understand essential premises about Iberia, motherhood, religion, queenship, and historiography. 

Miriam's book list on medieval women’s history

Miriam Shadis Why did Miriam love this book?

Last, but certainly not least, Queens, Concubines, and Dowagers was a book that helped formed the field of queenship studies, now a booming industry. Stafford teaches us how to think about the meaning of queenship, the sources and limits of the queen’s power, and the evolution of her office; she tells the stories of a number of remarkable early medieval women along the way in what is now England, France, and Germany. Deeply influential for me as I sought ways to think about queenship in later periods, this book remains widely available, accessible, and influential.

By Pauline Stafford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Queens, Concubines, and Dowagers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A biography of the queens and royal bedfellows of the 6th to the 11th centuries, providing an assessment of their political importance and the many factors that affected their personal lives.


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Interested in France, the Middle Ages, and Paris?

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