The Middle Ages were hell. If you are looking for a well researched and reasoned history of the Dark Ages and the Renaissance do not read this book. Maybe 25,000 in the 1880's. I'm no expert on the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance but I remember enough from college courses taken a millennia ago to know that this book has problems. Unfortunately it ultimately skewers itself on its biases.
Not that I believe that Magellan's accomplishments are small, but hardly worth attributing the culmination of the Renaissance to him. Manchester has stumbled on the outline for one here. Lucrezia Borgia's fabled sex life, The Pied Piper of Hamlin as a serial killer, the use of the Iron Maiden, to name only a few of his confidently asserted opinions. Each hero, Beowulf and Dante, will arise a champion of two worlds. This is not a history of Renaissance art, which you might expect, but of the Renaissance mind or thinking process that resulted from the times preceding it, Aside from those members of the church and some of the ruling class, there was not much thinking going on.
Be sure to pace yourself and not procrastinate. Grendel lays waste to Herot, the mighty mead hall. The organization of the book seemed poor almost from the very start. A world lit only by fire the medieval mind and the renaissance portrait of an age william manchester on amazoncom free shipping on qualifying offers from. Again, in the first millennium of the common era Manchester says there were exactly two innovations worth notice: the windmill and the water wheel. But I've been impressed with the books I've read recently and my interest is piqued.
He's probably thinking of New Yorkers. This semester Reading the book a world lit only by fire by William Manchester was fun. If you are looking for a starting point for the Intellectual History of Europe during the Dark Ages and Renaissance; this book might be a good way to go. As an aviator and navigator, I am in awe of those who were able to travel so far and navigate so precisely without the tools, tables and computers we have available today. One such random fact that the author gets stuck on is that silverware wasn't introduced until the end of the 16th maybe 15th. It is a popular telling of the history of Europe primarily during the time of the Renaissance, but starts us out at the first sack of Rome in 410 A.
With pictures on high quality paper, and yet which did not cost an astronomical sum? The section on Magellan and his adventure against all odds to attempt to circumnavigate the globe is very interesting, though a bit disjointed with the rest of the book. In the 15th century, Western Europe rediscovered the Greek classics. During the early sixteenth century, lust seethed throughout Europe. This section contains 533 words approx. As we see, that resolve is doomed. One thing I have to say - this book certainly puts things into perspective. A World Lit Only by Fire, by William Manchester, is a general synopsis of the Middle Ages in Europe, from the years 410 to 1536.
We - being those addicted to fantasy novels and the Renaissance Faire, and especially the younger and more naive among us - tend to romanticize the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Shiny happy peasants and the occasional despot and villain existing only to be vanquished by the shining hero. I just saw an article warning that in the next 40 years this planet will need to produce more food than it did in the past 8000 years. Instead of spending a few years researching and getting a feel for the era, the complexities and viewpoints and the historically fuzzy spots, he just sat down, picked up some often outdated secondary sources and wrote a book as he was reading them. But a minimum of elementary education is compulsory, and free, for every child; the learning is available, but not every child or adult has the other resources apart from money to take advantage of it. And part of that gap is my misunderstanding of the meaning of the title. He devoted his time as the leader to the construction projects of Rome.
The tone of the entire work is condescending, both to the reader occasionally , and to the subject matter al I had been meaning to read this book for a long time. I value what I learned from it - especially about Magellan, which was straight-forward and clear, and more than I remember ever learning before, thank you very much grades 1-10 history. So, the book paints a picture of a static society that was breaking down into license and abuse of power that is unlikely to be very accurate in either direction. One doesn't learn to write history by just reading secondary sources and deciding that one's own opinions on the time are the true and correct ones. As a history geek it felt to me like a cheap thrill. It's a superb title - it put that sort of glazed light in my eyes as I thought about just what it meant, or what I took it to mean.
I think I was just too put off by memorizing dates and names in high school. What the author does is take a very one sided argumentative stance. I would not recommend it for any age. It's a pleasure to pass it on to another initiate. A cathedral took 200 years to build, yet how many of their builders are known? My biggest irritation is that from the bare This is not a deep insightful book about the the exit from the middle ages toward the modern age. A World Lit Only by Fire claims to give a portrait of an age.
In the past couple of hundred years, we have shot up vertically without much growth at the base. I abandoned this book midway through a flight to Rome, and was happier reading leftover magazines for the rest of the flight. Manchester explained that he wrote this book as a break from writing the final volume to my favorite Winston Churchill biography. It is an entertaining somewhat superficial introduction of that era. Unfortunately it ultimately skewers itself on its biases. The Spirit gave him that gift while he was doing Number Two.
It resulted partly from a rediscovery of the ideas of antiquity, derived from rediscovered records. What then is there left to read about in this book. His wife was shorter and lighter. He even slights the great cathedrals built by these nameless workers despite the new discoveries in architecture that have kept them standing even today. The author states early on that there was no original research in this book; all the material came from available sources. But with context, it is hard to view him as a hero so much as an inevitability.