I've been reading the "Age of Bede" recently and have become increasingly interested in the religious life of "Western" Christians prior to the schism. Can anyone recommend books to me about the history of Western Christendom (when it was Orthodox)? A book(s) that give(s) a vivid picture of what life was like for them. I'm particularly interested in Western monasticism and what it was like. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!
I'd recommend Vita Patrum: Life of the Fathers
of St. Gregory of Tours which was translated by Fr. Seraphim of Platina. Besides the actual lives of the Western saints there's pretty large introduction to western Orthodoxy written by Fr. Seraphim. In that introduction there's also some info about Western monasticism.