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A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th…
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A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (original 1978; edition 1987)

by Barbara W. Tuchman

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7,1531231,281 (4.14)295
The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and the exquisitely decorated "Books of hours"; and on the other, a time of ferocity and spiritual agony, a world of chaos and the plague. Barbara Tuchman reveals both the great rhythms of history and the grain and texture of domestic life as it was lived. Here are the guilty passions, loyalties and treacheries, political assassinations, sea battles and sieges, corruption in high places and a yearning for reform, satire and humor, sorcery and demonology, and lust and sadism on the stage. Here are proud cardinals, beggars, feminists, university scholars, grocers, bankers, mercenaries, mystics, lawyers and tax collectors, and, dominating all, the knight in his valor and "furious follies," a "terrible worm in an iron cocoon."… (more)
Member:kevitos96
Title:A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
Authors:Barbara W. Tuchman
Info:Ballantine Books (1987), Paperback, 704 pages
Collections:Your library
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A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman (1978)

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» See also 295 mentions

English (106)  Dutch (6)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Icelandic (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (119)
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
This book is fantastic in its depth. The author did not come to fuck around, she came to murder - with precision - the fond notion of knighthood, kings, princesses, castles and any kind feelings you may have reserved for “the Church”.

When I began reading Dante’s Divine Comedy (not finished yet JEEZ), I realized how little I understood of 14th century western culture. For instance how the world of Dante reacted to his canticles - how his writings influenced culture. Anyway, I remembered to read this book. Which given the time we find ourselves in during a global pandemic .... this is triggering as fuck and also so goddamned well written. The parallels between then and now will ENRAGE you.

Anyway, the author’s writing is entertaining and everyone should read PARTS of this book. I get that 14th century plague and cultural commentary may not be for everyone, but if nothing else read the preface. ( )
  s_carr | Feb 25, 2024 |
I found this book fascinating, but I fear that most people who pick it up will put it down after the first several chapters, in which Tuchman provides a religious, social, economic, and political context for the century. The rest of the book is defined by the military escapades of French knight Enguerrand de Coucy, but it's really just a framework to discuss the development of the themes Tuchman stakes out in the early chapters. However, if you're easily bored by military history, it might be best to take a pass on this one. ( )
  Byakhee | Feb 21, 2024 |
The actual history part of this book is fascinating. The chapters that followed the main character not so much. ( )
  theowiersema | Jan 2, 2024 |
I did the Audio Book and it its LONG but worth it-so interesting if you love historical context, very precise even if you feel it wanders a bit ( )
  HollyAHunt | Nov 2, 2023 |
I made a video book review that you can watch here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HXAf6J0hiw ( )
  cakecop | May 27, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (94 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tuchman, Barbaraprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sliedrecht-Smit, J.C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spaans-van der Bijl, J.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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and the exquisitely decorated "Books of hours"; and on the other, a time of ferocity and spiritual agony, a world of chaos and the plague. Barbara Tuchman reveals both the great rhythms of history and the grain and texture of domestic life as it was lived. Here are the guilty passions, loyalties and treacheries, political assassinations, sea battles and sieges, corruption in high places and a yearning for reform, satire and humor, sorcery and demonology, and lust and sadism on the stage. Here are proud cardinals, beggars, feminists, university scholars, grocers, bankers, mercenaries, mystics, lawyers and tax collectors, and, dominating all, the knight in his valor and "furious follies," a "terrible worm in an iron cocoon."

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