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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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An excellent general history book of European countries. ( )
  larainy | Jan 13, 2017 |
In this work, Tuchman introduces us to the life and times of the 14th century by following the story of Enguerrand, Sire of Souci.

I very much enjoyed this book. I've been trying to brush up on my knowledge of history, and this has been a great read for me. Tuchman writes in an accessible style and takes time to explain and elaborate, making it a work that is quite complete and goes into depth, without it being too complex for people who are not well-versed in history.

I liked the fact that she chose to tell the story of a specific person. It makes the story more personal, interesting to follow, and gives it a very human aspect. This makes it much more fun to read than a dry history textbook with just numbers and facts. In a way, it reads a bit like a fictional historical novel - but with much more information.
Though Tuchman writes the story of a single person in history, she also gives a lot of information surrounding this story. In many ways, Enguerrand de Souci was not a 'typical' 14th century person - he was an important nobleman with ties to both England as well as France, giving him quite a unique position in this period of warfare between the two countries. Tuchman expands the story with a lot of information about other aspects of the 14th century, the situation people lived in, the culture and the politics. Though I did sometimes find these explanations broke up the story a bit, they were also very welcome and give a very complete view of 14th century life. ( )
  Britt84 | Jul 31, 2016 |
One of the best books I have read on the 14th century. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Very heavy, but historically a classic. ( )
  Frances.S.Brown | Apr 26, 2016 |
A great, entertaining history of the 14th century. This book was as good reading it the second time as it was the very first time I read it. ( )
  M_Clark | Apr 26, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara W. Tuchmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
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. "

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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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