someday ill be in company of all....

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Review: A world lit only by fire by William Raymond Manchester

Title: A world lit by fire:The Medieval mind And the Renaissance: Portrait of Age
Author: William Raymond Manchester
Publisher: Back Bay books
Price: Rs 894
Genre: History through Age
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Borrowed

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From tales of chivalrous knights to the barbarity of trial by ordeal, no era has been a greater source of awe, horror, and wonder than the Middle Ages. In handsomely crafted prose, and with the grace and authority of his extraordinary gift for narrative history, William Manchester leads us from a civilization tottering on the brink of collapse to the grandeur of its rebirth-the dense explosion of energy that spawned some of history's greatest poets, philosophers, painters, adventurers, and reformers, as well as some of its most spectacular villains- the Renaissance.

I came across a list of Best Unappreciated Books in goodreads that really got me curious, One of the books in the list was A world lit by fire..William Manchester its author is a controversial author in his own right who is often labelled as a storyteller than getting his facts right, before plunging into this master piece, I didnt have to find twice... This book is a wonderful window to European Medieval age and Renaissance.. From page one I was deep into the historical chronicle..From the decline of Roman empire to Inquisition every dry topics are presented in such a delightful way that  you get engrossed completely into it...The book is divided into three parts, The Medieval mind,Shattering, One man alone..The first is my very favorite which explores the psychological aspect of thought processing and the behavior, and the way of life, religion that has various categories of superstition and spirituality that got mixed in between, confusing and misleading people.

"The ethnic code then settled in its conquered lands and darkness descended upon the devastated, unstable continent.. It would not until forty medieval generation had suffered, wrought their pathetic destinies and passed on .(p-5)
"Dark Age" that saw extreme level of fear in the mind of people, who thought twice before traveling across countries ..The society was adulterated by dark magic polluting thoughts and actions... Robbers, crooks ruled, normal life was disrupted more than often.....

Reading through Shattering is all about the darker side of Catholic Church , reading is like browsing through the pages of a fictional suspense thriller involving, sex (oh yes sex), treachery, murder, horror, betrayal everything a Church preaches against..Though there were expected ways of events, yet some of them were real scandalous...There are shocking information of pope's take over and their succession the circumstances that led to Protestant reformation till the time of Martin Luther King...Do not miss Erasmus through the curiosity to read further.. The final part is One Man Alone, about Ferdinand Magellian, his expedition failures and the idea that was revolutionized is given in an ever entertaining narration....Though he has reserved his personal opinion upon most of the events, there are few instances where his cynicism comes across evidently...Though this book went onto become the New york bestseller, professional historians have shunned this book..You love it or hate it, but you may not really come across a better historical entertainer...

Book 10 for TBR 2012 reading Challenge


  1. You have me drawn in. . .love this sort of book, and I look forward to reading it. . .it has been added to my wish list on Kindle. Hope this message gets through - although a phrase like that is rather useless, don;t you think? If you can read it, it obviously got through, if you don't get it, what does it matter what I write? :lol:

  2. By Co - incidence I am currently reading A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman. I think that Manchester's book encompases a longer period. Indeed this was fascinating time that many know little about!


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