A Distant Mirror
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A Distant Mirror : The Calamitous 14th Century

4.05 (32,598 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

A "marvelous history"* of medieval Europe, from the bubonic plague and the Papal Schism to the Hundred Years' War, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Guns of August *Lawrence Wright, author of The End of October, in The Wall Street Journal

The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering age of crusades, cathedrals, and chivalry; on the other, a world plunged into chaos and spiritual agony. In this revelatory work, Barbara W. Tuchman examines not only the great rhythms of history but the grain and texture of domestic life: what childhood was like; what marriage meant; how money, taxes, and war dominated the lives of serf, noble, and clergy alike. Granting her subjects their loyalties, treacheries, and guilty passions, Tuchman re-creates the lives of proud cardinals, university scholars, grocers and clerks, saints and mystics, lawyers and mercenaries, and, dominating all, the knight--in all his valor and "furious follies," a "terrible worm in an iron cocoon." Praise for A Distant Mirror "Beautifully written, careful and thorough in its scholarship . . . What Ms. Tuchman does superbly is to tell how it was. . . . No one has ever done this better."--The New York Review of Books

"A beautiful, extraordinary book . . . Tuchman at the top of her powers . . . She has done nothing finer."--The Wall Street Journal

"Wise, witty, and wonderful . . . a great book, in a great historical tradition."--Commentary
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Product details

  • Paperback | 704 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 43.18mm | 567g
  • Ballantine Books Inc.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reissue
  • illustrations (some colour), maps
  • 0345349571
  • 9780345349576
  • 112,931

Flap copy

"Wise, witty, and wonderful . . . A great book, in a great historical tradition." Commentary
The 14th century gives us back two contradictory images: a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and a dark time of ferocity and spiritual agony, a world plunged into a chaos of war, fear and the Plague. Barbara Tuchman anatomizes the century, revealing both the great rhythms of history and the grain and texture of domestic life as it was lived.
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Review quote

"Beautifully written, careful and thorough in its scholarship . . . What Ms. Tuchman does superbly is to tell how it was. . . . No one has ever done this better."--The New York Review of Books

"A beautiful, extraordinary book . . . Tuchman at the top of her powers . . . She has done nothing finer."--The Wall Street Journal

"Wise, witty, and wonderful . . . a great book, in a great historical tradition."--Commentary
show more

About Barbara W. Tuchman

Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) achieved prominence as a historian with The Zimmermann Telegram and international fame with The Guns of August--a huge bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Her other works include Bible and Sword, The Proud Tower, Stilwell and the American Experience in China (for which Tuchman was awarded a second Pulitzer Prize), Notes from China, A Distant Mirror, Practicing History, The March of Folly, and The First Salute.
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Rating details

32,598 ratings
4.05 out of 5 stars
5 42% (13,702)
4 34% (10,983)
3 16% (5,200)
2 5% (1,537)
1 4% (1,176)
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