A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

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Ballantine, 1979 - History - 677 pages
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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User Review  - alexlubertozzi - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cecrow - LibraryThing

An amazing collecting of facts, figures and narrative, emphasized by the introduction that outlines the difficulty any researcher faces when looking into this era. Tuchman set out to write about the ... Read full review

Contents

The Dynasty
3
The Century
24
Youth and Chivalry
49
War
70
This Is the End of the World The Black Death
92
The Battle of Poitiers
126
The Bourgeois Rising and the Jacquerie
155
Hostage in England
185
The Worms of the Earth Against the Lions
365
The Lure of Italy
398
A Second Norman Conquest
416
The Fiction Cracks
438
The Siege of Barbary
458
In a Dark Wood
478
Danse Macabre
494
Lost Opportunity 5 17
517

Enguerrand and Isabella
204
Sons of Iniquity
222
The Gilded Shroud
232
Double Allegiance
246
Coucys War
269
Englands Turmoil
284
The Emperor in Paris
306
The Papal Schism
320
Part Two 17 Coucys Rise
343
Nicopolis
538
Hung Be the Heavens with Black
564
Epilogue
582
99
612
Reference Notes
619
Index
655
365
677
Copyright

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About the author (1979)

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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