Burgundians: A Vanished Empire (Hardcover)
"A sumptuous feast of a book." —The Times, 21 Best History Books of 2021
A publishing phenomenon in Europe, where it has sold 230,000 copies in hardback, Bart van Loo's epic history of the dukedom of Burgundy has the grip of a great historical novel and the fascination of a wonderful factual narrative.
At the end of the fifteenth century, Burgundy was extinguished as an independent state. It had been a fabulously wealthy, turbulent region situated between France and Germany, with close links to the English kingdom. Torn apart by the dynastic struggles of early modern Europe, this extraordinary realm vanished from the map. But it became the cradle of what we now know as the Low Countries, modern Belgium and the Netherlands.
This is the story of a thousand years, a compulsively readable narrative history of ambitious aristocrats, family dysfunction, treachery, savage battles, luxury and madness. It is about the decline of knightly ideals and the awakening of individualism and of cities, the struggle for dominance in the heart of northern Europe, bloody military campaigns and fatally bad marriages.
It is also a remarkable cultural history, of great art and architecture and music emerging despite the violence and the chaos of the tension between rival dynasties.
Rightly compared to great narrative historians like Barbara Tuchman, Bart van Loo has written a popular and scholarly masterpiece.
"Bart Van Loo's pacy history The Burgundians revives the forgotten duchy that had a northern powerbase mightier than kingdoms – then vanished... The Burgundians is history told – and well told, too – for those who value narrative at least as much as the finicky details of economics or treaty-making. While Van Loo amiably admits to not being a specialist, he is as fair an inheritor of the Burgundian legacy as you could hope to find: a Dutch-speaking Belgian Francophile born into a country whose cultural mish-mash is, as he puts it, “a Burgundian invention”." —Telegraph
"THE BURGUNDIANS is a cracking read.... I can't recommend it too highly." —Dominic Sandbrooke,Historian
"lively, anecdotal unpicking of this fascinating but nebulous entity" —Michael Prodger, New Statesman