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

by

Barbara W. Tuchman--the acclaimed author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning classic The Guns of August--once again marshals her gift for character, history, and sparkling prose to compose an astonishing portrait of medieval Europe.

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, 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.”

Title:A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
Edition Language:English
ISBN:0345349571
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:677 pages

    A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century Reviews

  • Kalliope
    Sep 24, 2015

    What an extraordinary read it is when one book is as action packed as thirty riveting novels. And if it also contains rich and erudite disquisitions and is narrated in a language as clear and flowing ...

  • William1
    Nov 20, 2014

    A vivid and detailed look into a lost world. The major players are The Black Death, The Hundred Years War, the sick, uproarious joke of chivalric valor, The Papal Schism, ruinous taxation, serfdom, pe...

  • Hana
    Mar 10, 2015

    I was a little worried at the start that 600 pages of 14th century history might be, shall we say, a bit too much. There is no denying the book is long and very detailed and at times it was a struggl...

  • Matt
    Apr 26, 2016

    My interest in medieval times is not incredibly strong; it is, in fact, relegated mostly to the hope of someday going to a Medieval Times restaurant. I’ve read Ken Follett’s two Kingsbridge novels...

  • Aaron
    Oct 25, 2008

    I'm not quite sure how I came to read this strange and unwieldy book. It just kept popping up in my sights. For a while now, I've had a boyish fascination with the Middle Ages, intensified by a couple...

  • Glenn Russell
    Dec 14, 2016

    A Distant Mirrorr by Barbara W. Tuchman is, on one level, a seven hundred page encyclopedia of the 14th century’s political, military, religious, social, cultural and economic history. Since Ms. Tuc...

  • Chrissie
    Nov 13, 2014

    Tuchman's books are always interesting, but usually they have more than one can absorb. For this reason, reading them is always a bit of a struggle. OK, I am merely speaking for myself. I am going to ...

  • Matt Brady
    Aug 29, 2014

    The Hundred Years War, the Papal Schism, the Black Death, peasant uprisings, the death of chivalry, crusades, assassinations, tournaments, all these things and more Tuchman explores through an examina...

  • Susan
    Nov 18, 2010

    I read a little more than half of this a couple of years ago and stopped. This time I read it all, for the discussion of my local book group. I really liked it--I've never NOT liked a Tuchman book. I ...

  • Marita
    Jan 02, 2016

    A comprehensive who's who and what's what of 14th century Europe....

About Barbara W. Tuchman

Barbara W. Tuchman

Barbara Wertheim Tuchman was an American self-trained historian and author. She became best known for The Guns of August, a history of the prelude and first month of World War I.As an author, Tuchman focused on producing popular history. Her clear, dramatic storytelling covered topics as diverse as the 14th century and World War I, and sold millions of copies.