In Volume VI of his acclaimed Hinges of History series, Thomas Cahill guides us through the thrilling period of the Renaissance and the Reformation (the late fourteenth to the early seventeenth century), so full of innovation and cultural change that the Western world would not experience its like again until the twentieth century. Read more...
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In Volume VI of his acclaimed Hinges of History series, Thomas Cahill guides us through the thrilling period of the Renaissance and the Reformation (the late fourteenth to the early seventeenth century), so full of innovation and cultural change that the Western world would not experience its like again until the twentieth century. Beginning with the continent-wide disaster of the Black Death, Cahill traces the many developments in European thought and experience that served both the new humanism of the Renaissance and the seemingly abrupt religious alterations of the increasingly radical Reformation. This is an age of the most sublime artistic and scientific adventure, but also of newly powerful princes and armies and of newly found courage, as many thousands refuse to bow their heads to the religious pieties of the past. It is an era of just-discovered continents and previously unknown peoples. More than anything, it is a time of individuality in which a whole culture must achieve a new balance if the West is to continue.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-08-05
- Reviewer: Staff
Between the late 15th century and the early 17th century, Luther nailed his 95 Theses to a church door, Henry VIII declared himself England’s supreme ruler, and Michelangelo created several masterpieces that still attract millions of tourists to Italy each year. Cahill (How the Irish Saved Civilization) cheerfully explains the enduring value of the Renaissance and Reformation movements to 21st century Western principles, injecting humor and a conversational style into well-written and easily accessible chapters centering on controversial issues and mesmerizing personalities. The illuminating discussion covers key figures such as the inventive da Vinci and the good-natured Erasmus—while showing no affection for covetous and gluttonous Henry VIII—as well as the high cost of the spread of religious dissent across Europe. Well-chosen illustrations and discreetly placed asides clarify his arguments without overwhelming or speaking down to readers. In this remarkable fourth installment of his Hinges of History series, Cahill writes passionately about the era’s transformational art, the unexpected benefits of the Black Plague, and the intellectual struggles over secular and papal power, resulting in an entertaining yet thought-provoking examination of Western civilization. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Oct.)