When were the real Dark Ages? I only ask because there's recently been such a spate of books about the barbarism unleashed by the fall of the Roman Empire that we now know almost as much about that period as we do about Heston Blumenthal's kitchen hygiene. And it appears that the only difference between the Europe of the Dark Ages and The Fat Duck is that the restaurant is the more dangerous environment of the two.
Aficionados of barbarism have certainly been served up a rich feast these past few months. As well as Tom Holland's Millennium, there's been Chris Wickham's magisterial The Inheritance of Rome, James O'Donnell's The Ruin of the Roman Empire, Judith Herrin's history of Byzantium, now in paperback, and, just before Christmas we had Christopher Kelly's gripping biography of Attila the Hun.
I don't know what to say to this. Any of these books would have made it clear that the term "dark ages" is redundant. Gove is normally quite a bright guy.