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A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th…

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (1978)

by Barbara W. Tuchman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Mirror of the Past (1)

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English (65)  Dutch (4)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  Icelandic (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
Tough read. Curious time I don't know much about. Best-seller in it's time. ( )
  Bruce_Deming | Feb 5, 2016 |
Barbara Tuchman could write popuar history. I liked this just like the Guns of August. I have always been fascinated by the Black Death and its toll on society. ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
Harrowing and infuriating. Never was there a more vivid narrative of man's inhumanity to man and the indecency of archaic thinking. ( )
  mafinokc | Oct 30, 2015 |
Not bad, but not very good too. Author repeated all possible myths about Middle Ages. But it's ease and fun to read. As a reader I'm satisfied. As a history lover I need to find better book. ( )
  melyne28 | Oct 28, 2015 |
A splendid book, without doubt. The action runs from London to Byzantium and somehow Tuchman keeps it comprehensible or anyway close.

Tuchman mentions at the beginning of her forward that the preceding two decades had uncomfortably collapsed assumptions: that would have been 1958 to 1978. Practically forty years later, has that trajectory of collapse been reversed? Gun violence is in the news - but it sure seems like our level of violence doesn't reach even close to that of the 14th Century!

The period covered in this book was the decline of chivalry, the mounted warrior. Our period of industrial warfare still seems solidly on its legs, but perhaps that will prove to be a view distorted by our perspective, with our blindness to our future. Will aircraft carriers soon become as useless as lances?

So much of our modern world was formed in response to the disintegration of the preceding world. As this modern world in turn disintegrates, again a new world will be patched together from the pieces, as a way to respond to the crises of our day. Tuchman provides a wonderful mirror in which to start to see the shape of such a trajectory. ( )
1 vote kukulaj | Oct 13, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara W. Tuchmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sliedrecht-Smit, J.C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vries, S. deEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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" For mankind is ever the same and nothing is lost out of nature, though everything is altered. "

John Dryden
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The genesis of this book was a desire to find out what were the effects on society of the most lethal disaster of recorded history-that is to say, of the Black Death of 1348-50, which killed an estimated one third of the population living between India and Iceland.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345349571, Paperback)

In this sweeping historical narrative, Barbara Tuchman writes of the cataclysmic 14th century, when the energies of medieval Europe were devoted to fighting internecine wars and warding off the plague. Some medieval thinkers viewed these disasters as divine punishment for mortal wrongs; others, more practically, viewed them as opportunities to accumulate wealth and power. One of the latter, whose life informs much of Tuchman's book, was the French nobleman Enguerrand de Coucy, who enjoyed the opulence and elegance of the courtly tradition while ruthlessly exploiting the peasants under his thrall. Tuchman looks into such events as the Hundred Years War, the collapse of the medieval church, and the rise of various heresies, pogroms, and other events that caused medieval Europeans to wonder what they had done to deserve such horrors.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:45 -0400)

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The prize-winning historian traces the major currents of the fourteenth century, revealing the century's great historical rhythms and events and the texture of daily life at all levels of European society.

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