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From the Publisher"The case is made for specialists, but the depth and subtlety of its analysis give it much wider relevance. West's argument … is scrupulously conducted … it bears forcefully on many central issues, including the nature of feudalism and the dynamics of papal reform. Its reconciliation of the tension between continuity and change which is at the centre of this debate, as of so many others, shows how much has been lost in the hardening of a division between the early and the central Middle Ages. It evokes an even larger debate by implying that the European future was built not on the achievements of the Romans but on starting again at a level of society which they had failed to penetrate."
Times Literary Supplement