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A world lit only by fire : the medieval mind and the Renaissance : portrait of a
Manchester, William
Adult Nonfiction CB369.M36 1992

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Using only secondary sources, Manchester plunges readers into the medieval mind-set in a captivating, marvelously vivid popular history that humanizes the tumultuous span from the Dark Ages to the dawn of the Renaissance. He delineates an age when invisible spirits infested the air, when tolerance was seen as treachery and ``a mafia of profane popes desecrated Christianity.'' Besides re-creating the arduous lives of ordinary people, the Wesleyan professor of history peoples his tapestry with such figures as Leonardo, Machiavelli, Lucrezia Borgia, Erasmus, Luther, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Manchester ( The Arms of Krupp ) devotes much attention to Magellan, whose globe-straddling voyage shattered Christendom's implicit belief in Europe as the center of the universe. His portrayal of the Middle Ages as a time when the strong and the shrewd flourished, while the imaginative, the cerebral and the unfortunate suffered, rings true. Illustrations. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

The popular biographer of Winston Churchill ( The Last Lion , LJ 5/1/83) and Douglas MacArthur ( American Caesar , LJ 9/1/78) has turned his attention to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Reformation. It was a hasty move. Under the title ``The Shattering,'' two-thirds of the book purports to deal with the decline of medieval superstition and obscurantism under the brilliant light of the Renaissance; actually, this section is a lengthy catalog of tired salacious tales about the clergy. The final third of the book claims that Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe and proof that the world was round broke forever the power of the medieval mind, a debatable thesis. Based on long out-of-date secondary sources, rife with anachronisms and errors of fact and interpretation, and filled with howlers such as Martin Luther ``was also the most anal of theologians . . . this derived from the national character of the Reich,'' this book will only perpetuate myths long refuted by modern scholarship. The popular audience for whom it is intended deserves much better. Not recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/91.-- Bennett D. Hill, Georgetown Univ., Washington, D.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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