A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

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Ballantine, 1979 - History - 677 pages
565 Reviews
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, 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ikeman100 - LibraryThing

Amazing book. This well researched tome is packed full of history and facts about the 14th century. Tuchman is good at keeping, what can be tedious, history interesting. I will be interested in any of her other works. Read full review

Review: A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

User Review  - Anthony Meaney - Goodreads

This is largely the history of France in the 1300's with the story centering (to a degree) around one noble Enguerrand de Coucy who's life is intertwined with the major historical events of that age ... Read full review

Contents

Part
3
The Century
24
Youth and Chivalry
49
War
70
The Black Death
92
The Battle of Poitiers
126
Hostage in England
185
Enguemmd and Isabella
204
The Worms of the Earth Against the Lions
365
The Lure of Italy
398
A Second Norman Conquest 41 6
416
The Fiction C racks
438
The Siege of Barbary 4 58
458
In a Dark Wood
478
Danse Macabre 4 94
494
Lost Opportunity 5
517

Sons of Iniquity
222
The Gilded Shroud
232
Double Allegiance
246
Coucys War
269
I4 Englands Turmoil
284
The Emperor in Paris
306
The Papal Schism
320
Part Two 17 Coucys Rise
343
Nicopolis
538
H ung Be the Heavens with Black
564
Epilogue
582
9 9
603
Reference Notes
619
Index
655
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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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