Originally Posted by Daylate
Have always heard that Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", in six volumes, published from 1776 thru 1800 or so, is the be all and end all of Roman history. And the standard against which all other Roman histories are compared.
There are many excellent reasons to read Gibbon's Decline and Fall
. However, a serious discussion of the Holy Roman Empire isn't one of them. He does have a section on the subject towards the end of chapter XLIX, but that's particularly superficial. It should also be said more generally that there is pretty much no subject on which Gibbon is 'the be all and end all'. That's not why historians still read him.
Originally Posted by Sitnam
I'd like some background on the topic, particularly the dynastic geopolitical intrigue and more specifically on the German states.
As it is horribly expensive, very long and only covers the period from the late fifteenth century onwards, it's probably not really what you're looking for, but the obvious answer is Joachim Whaley's recent big book on the subject.