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Acknowledgments ix Introduction: The Crisis of European Identity 1 Chapter One: A Poisoned Landscape: Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century 15 Chapter Two: Imagining Peoples in Antiquity 41 Chapter Three: Barbarians and Other Romans 63 Chapter Four: New Barbarians and New Romans 93 Chapter Five: The Last Barbarians? 120 Chapter Six: Toward New European Peoples 151 Notes 175 Suggestion for Further Reading 185 Index 189
A book of the best possible originality. It presents a theme that has been hotly debated in modern scholarly circles with a novel freshness, while drawing the attention of the reader to the urgent relevance of such debates to the history of modern Europe. This is a book of quite exemplary clarity. It deserves to be widely read and will doubtless spark off lively discussion among scholars. -- Peter Brown, Princeton University
Patrick J. Geary is Professor of History at the University of California at Los Angeles. He is the author of "Phantoms of Remembrance: Memory and Oblivion at the End of the first Millennium" (Princeton), "Living with the Dead in the Middle Ages, and Furta Sacra: Thefts of Relics in the Central Middle Ages" (Princeton).
"Geary's lucid and expert examination of the circumstances in which ... stories and identities were created ... offers a satisfying and ... often a subtle approach to some of the most elusive aspects of a complicated period. Its methodology is brilliantly and persuasively vindicated."--R.I. Moore, Times Literary Supplement "In this compelling historical treatise, Geary debunks the myth that modern European national and ethnic groups can be traced to distinct ancient or early medieval peoples... [H]is arguments are important in light of the nationalistic excesses of the 20th century, and his conclusions are sure to provoke controversy among scholars."--Publishers Weekly "An admirable survey of a complicated and important subject."--Kelly McFall, History: Review of Books "Patrick Geary's The Myth of Nations is more timely than he could have anticipated... Since 1989, this period--between the third and eighth centuries--has been persistently misrepresented by Europe's nationalist and racist populations, who claim to find in the Middle Ages some kind of justification for their policies... Demythologizing the early Middle Ages entails first understanding how the myths were created in the 19th century. Geary is blunt ... it is impossible to map linguistic or ethnic identities onto national territories... Ethnicity is 'impervious to mere rational disproof.' This is why Geary's message is so compelling, and why it matters to keep faith with reason: getting Europe's medieval past straight gives a bearing on its future."--J.L. Nelson, London Review of Books