Coming Soon!
Early Modern Europe
Facts and Fictions
by Brian Jeffrey Maxson
June 2023, 249pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6745-3
$65, £50, 57€, A90
Available for purchase 30 days prior to publication.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6746-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Despite current popular belief, very few people believed that the world was flat before Christopher Columbus made his voyage in 1492.

Through the exploration of nine common myths about the history and culture of early modern Europe, roughly 1350–1700, this book uses common assumptions to introduce newcomers to the period and its key figures, developments, and events.

Many myths about early modern Europe originated in the 19th and 20th centuries and continue to appear today across popular media. In recent years, such popular documentaries and television shows as Game of Thrones have tended to reinforce what we think we know about the world during the early modern period.

Early modern Europe birthed the modern world—just not in the way we think it did. This installment in the Facts and Fictions series utilizes primary sources to interrogate popular beliefs about early modern Europe and reveal the true story behind such movements and events as the Scientific Revolution, the Crusades, and the European witch hunts. Focusing on how perceptions of these events have shifted and evolved through history, this book is an excellent resource for students of this period as well as general readers interested in understanding what really happened during this time.


  • Provides readers with an introduction to early modern Europe
  • Dispels common assumptions about the past
  • Encourages readers to approach historical information based upon questions, evidence, and interpretations
  • Includes a wide array of primary sources illustrating various myths and misconceptions
Brian Jeffrey Maxson is professor of history at East Tennessee State University. He holds a PhD in history from Northwestern University (2008). He is the author and editor of numerous books related to early modern Europe, including A Short History of Florence and the Florentine Republic and The Culture and Politics of Regime Change in Italy, c. 1494–c. 1559, co-edited with Alexander Lee. Maxson has received awards from the Massachusetts Historical Society, Villa I Tatti - the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, the Fulbright Foundation, and many others. He is currently writing a book about the idea of the Italian Renaissance in the United States.

Historical Facts and Fictions

Did Nero really fiddle while Rome burned? Did the Egyptians really worship animals and gods with animal heads? History is full of misconceptions that have been passed down as historical facts and become rooted in the popular imagination. This series explores historical fictions and what we now believe to be historical truths. Each book focuses on a particular topic, such as a period, event, civilization, movement, religion, or person, and explores roughly 10 misconceptions. Chapters summarize the misconception, discuss how it arose and was propagated, and explain what is now taken as historical fact. The series helps readers think critically about the past and prepares them to be equally critical of the present.
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