[with] a crowd of kings alike deserving of oblivion" to Roger Collins's late-twentieth-century observation "that it might be time someone stood up for Charles the Fat
," MacLean provides a thoroughly judicious review of the historiography of his subject, which clearly justifies his modest observation after the Collins quote that his study is "a case for the defence" (1, 8-9).
West Frankish rulers like Charles the Fat
and Louis the Stammerer in the ninth and tenth centuries struggled against the local warlords, while the Danes colonised Normandy and marauding Magyar horsemen from Hungary brought havoc and destruction as far west its Paris, Orleans and Tours.
It is, however, as many wise people have pointed out, the least worst system of government, beating anarchy (Year Zero in Cambodia, The Young Ones on BBC?) imperial rule (Nero, Genghis, Bokassa?) and monarchy (Mad King Ludwig, various Tarquins, George III and Charles the Fat
- who may well have been all right, but I just like the name) straight into the proverbial cocked hat.