The Jesuits, a History
Publisher's description: 'We are called the Pope's janissaries, the favourite brood of anti-Christ,' reported Jesuit missionaries to England in 1614. Very soon after its foundation in 1540 the Society of Jesus had gained an almost legendary reputation for efficiency and unscrupulous cunning as the spearhead of a Catholic counter-attack that wrested the initiative from a seemingly triumphant Protestantism. The original ambition of its founder, the Basque aristocrat Ignatius Loyola, was to travel alone to the Holy Land to convert Muslims. Yet an astonishing sequence of inspired improvisations transformed a group of ten ragged fanatics into the most formidable religious force of its time.
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