William Manchester's A World Lit Only by Fire is the preeminent popular history of civilization's rebirth after the Dark Ages.
A World Lit Only by Fire
Warning: Contains graphic descriptions of unsavory practices and activities of popes, royalty, and regular folks during the medieval period.
Civilization embedded with a Judeo-Christian ethic has refined most of us, so to some this book may be distasteful.
The info about Martin Luther was 2 parts shocking, one part depressing, 10 parts amazing. I now want to read a biography of Luther. The author makes plain that religious history's linchpin was Martin Luther and his absolute defiance of Rome. "Here I stand; I can do no other."
As a Protestant Christian, what a thrill that Luther went against the grain and stood for ordinary people reading the Scripture in everyday languages rather than Latin, which only the elites of the age understood.
I read on despite the hard-to-stomach details and was glad to reach the distant shore at last, thrilled to see how heroic men stretch for the stars, the 'undiscovered country', the place of discovery and self-revelation.
I've also read the 3-part Winston Churchill biography (5 stars with no qualms) and the Gen. MacArthur bio (5 stars with no qualms).
A Fascinating Book
By Brad Hesse
I am apparently one of the few college-aged people who read this book purely for fun and not as a class requirement. I think it's an excellent book, endlessly fascinating and a unique look at European history.
My only complaint lies in the fact that he spends most of the book discussing the Renaissance and not the Middle Ages. I still cannot believe that he spent almost zero time on Charlamagne, Clovis, William the Conquered...while the topics he did cover were certainly fascinating, I think that a discussion of someone as interesting as King Clovis would have made it an even better book.
Great history book for the non history person
By Washington Week addict
I read this way back in high school and loved it. I've read it a few times since and learn something new about our world with each read. It's one of those books that cuts through the stuffy history text and presents the Middle Ages in clear, easy to understand language. Plus it also talks about all the debauchery happening at the time. Read the book with an open mind and you'll soon learn to love it.
Offensive? I'm sold!
If a history book is deemed too offensive, it's got to be sniffing around the truth.
And u kids...shame on you. Bill Manchester is a treasure. Go back to your Harry Potters.
What is so boring about this book? This is an amazing and entertaining read, it is almost as watching a movie and taken through time and learn how far we have come as human race. Of course, those that approach it not knowing the true history of the church find it repulsive. Looking for more reads like this one? Search for Christopher hitches or bart d ermann
Don't keep the faith.
By MFT 77
If you don't like this book, you probably shouldn't be taking AP European History
I also have to read it for AP European history! -.- I can't et past the second page. I feel like I'm reading off Wikipedia and it never ends.
So it looks as though my teacher isn't the only one making students read this fir Advance Placement European History. I can tell you that I am still on page 12/296 in 3 hrs of reading, only because this book is one of the most driest, boring, hard-to-focus-on book in the world. I think reading a text book would be better, at least that has pictures. Go get tiny tower on the app store. That's what I do instead of read.
A world lit only by fire
I found this book extremely offensive. I had to read it over the summer for AP Euro, and it was a struggle to get through. I would NOT recommend it to anyone.