What’s Ashley Reading?: Powers and Thrones

Powers and Thrones by Dan Jones

First line: In the sixteenth century the English historian John Foxe looked over his shoulder at the great sweep of the near, and distant, past.

Summary: Dan Jones’ newest history of the medieval ages covers the period from the end of the Roman empire to the rise of Protestantism. He covers major players, battles and nations giving his readers a look into a world that was constantly changing.

My Thoughts: Dan Jones is a wonderful historian. He covers many of the people and time periods that I am interested in. He makes his topics easy to read and learn from. This one was no different. I know some about the Middle Ages from other readings of authors like Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory but this gave me much more of an insight into other parts of the world than just England.

He brought in major players like Genghis Khan, who I knew very little about. Learning about this warlord’s life before and his rise to power was all new to me. I never really think about how Asia and Europe had lots of interactions during this time due to the crusades and religion.

And during the chapter on the crusades they even mentioned something I had never heard about but was related to my family history. There was a Wendish Crusade where powers in Germany against a Slavic group called the Wends. My Pohlenz family were part of the Wendish community in Germany and lived in heavily populated Wendish towns in Nebraska after emigrating. I had never heard of this crusade against them but I instantly had to read more about this little known piece of history.

Jones does a great job of laying out his storyline. He goes chronologically but breaks each time into important factors like crusaders, knights, Arabs, Mongols, merchants and more. It gave me a feeling that the time was definitely broken into different parts and governed by these persons for their span of time but as the world changed so did the leaders of the time.

FYI: A concise but wide spread look at a time that covers hundreds of years. Great for people looking to learn more about the Middle Ages.