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A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century Unbekannter Einband – 1978


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Produktinformation

  • Unbekannter Einband
  • Verlag: Penguin (1978)
  • ASIN: B00JKHD0RO
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.4 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (36 Kundenrezensionen)

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4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Paul Bobbitt am 16. Mai 2000
Format: Taschenbuch
With painstaking detail and bittersweet humour, Tuchman delves into the history and events surrounding one of the greatest of the French knights. Enguerrand de Coucy is a knight caught between old and new world orders. Perhaps the highest example of a crumbling ideal - chivalry - he shows the fatal flaws in an oppressive system beginning to decay before his birth, leading to some of the greatest excesses within his lifetime, and finishing with the fall of the French monarchy in the 18th century.
Parts of Tuchman's tale are more gripping than an adventure novel, more humourous than a comedy, and more unbelievable than fiction. In fact, her story is so engaging because of its truth.
Anyone intersted in the Avignon Papacy, the Great Schism in the Church, Popes and Antipopes, the Black Plague, Feudalism, Protestantism, the persecution of witches and sorcery, the prelude to the Renaissance, Italian banking, Antisemitism, and the Medieval in general should adore it.
I must admit, my jaw dropped several times while reading this book, particularly during the chapters focusing on the schism in the church. It is not easy to escape the image of a furious Pope screaming anathema and excommunication from the walls of the Castel Sant'Angelo upon the beseigers below. Unbelievable arrogance and mercilessness seem the hallmark of the times, and Tuchman captures the essence of these with great alacrity.
Following de Coucy lets us experience life through the attitudes of someone placed firmly in the time. While many of his attitudes may seem foreign to us, his more modern qualities allow us to identify, if perhaps not sympathize, with him.
I highly recommend this book both as an introduction to the study of the 14th century, and as fascinating reading for anyone interested in the human condition.
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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Alex Lubertozzi am 7. Dezember 1999
Format: Taschenbuch
I am always amazed at people who don't seem to enjoy or understand the relevance of history. Trying to understand the present without a knowledge of the past is like trying to figure out what's wrong with a clock by examining its face. It's like being a leaf that doesn't know it's part of a tree.
In Tuchman's comprehensive look at 14th century Europe, we see the beginnings of our modern market economy, the notion of romantic love, trade unions, urbanization, nationalism, anti-semitism (portents of the Holocaust), ideas of chivalry in warfare being torn down by advances in technology, and on and on. I found this book to be endlessly fascinating, told in a lively and engaging manner.
If you don't think civilization has made much progress, read this book. It will give you a new perspective on just how far we've come--despite the sometimes eerie similarities.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Ein Kunde am 22. Dezember 1996
Format: Taschenbuch
A Distant Mirror is a worthy addition to Barbara Tuchman's
reportoire of historical works. She brings to life the events
of 14th century Europe and exposes chivalry and the church
for what they really were: Corrupt people subjugating the
population of Europe.

She uses the life of Enguerrand de Coucy as the centerpiece of
her treatment of the times. A prominent, but historically obscure
noble, Coucy is shown vividly in all his elegance at court and
bloodthirstiness in slaughtering peasants who attempted to assert
their freedom.

No one can come away from this book without seeing the 14th
century in human terms.

Ms. Tuchman's work, as are all of her books, is a challenging
read. Her grammar, although impeccable, is complex and imaginative.

Not for the light reader, but fascinating for anyone who wants
to learn about history without sugarcoating or nationalistic
slanting.
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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Peter am 16. Juni 2000
Format: Taschenbuch
I read this book in 1989 and it has had a profound effect on how I view the Middle Ages and indeed how I understand history in general. It really is a fascinating book, so intelligent and very readable. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Ein Kunde am 7. Mai 2000
Format: Taschenbuch
I can't recommend this book highly enough. Barbara Tuchman obviously had a really good time in the 14th century, and you get to have a good time, too. I challenge you to find a more vivid and complete picture of this period, one as free of bias as this, or one as well written. I first read this book 12 years ago, and when I search bookstores for "popular" history, this book is still my standard.
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Having come to this book as a stranger to the 14th Century, I was mostly impressed. Tuchman's mobile, novel-like narrative makes learning about these people and events--many of whom/which are dismal--almost painless and often exciting. I recommend this book to anyone such as myself with an interest in, but not much experience with, this subject.
However, I do not think that this book is as well done as the author's book on Stilwell. It seems obvious to me that she is more comfortable with Vinegar Joe and 20th Century China (which she renders marvelously comprehensible), than with Enguerrand de Coucy and 14th Century France. She does an equally first-rate job with events in both books, but her portraiture is decidedly better when her subjects are more contemporary. This could be blamed on the lack of good records from the earlier period. But that doesn't seem to be the whole story. While she admirably strives to understand the Medieval mind, her inability to transcend a modern outlook is everywhere apparent. She recognizes many of the differences. But she doesn't seem to feel them. This is probably why her characterizations of Italian proto-realpolitikers, such as the Visconti brothers, are more effective than those of some of the central, Christian characters.
I don't think that my criticism rises to the level of a reason not to read this book. It's very worthwhile. Perhaps interested readers should try something that I am finding helpful: Enjoy the book; but supplement it with some other excellent book that is more specialized concerning the Medieval mind, such as C.S. Lewis's The Discarded Image. This may sound too much like work, but it's a great way to breathe life into the characters of Tuchman's otherwise wonderful danse macabre.
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