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Chronicle of the Popes: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Papacy over 2000 Years Hardcover – November 17, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: The Chronicles Series
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1st edition (November 17, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500017980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500017982
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

In Chronicle of the Popes, P.G. Maxwell-Stuart, a historian at the University of Aberdeen, provides a good selection of illustrations with a lightweight text. -- The New York Times Book Review, Henry Chadwick

About the Author

P. G. Maxwell-Stuart is Lecturer in the Department of Modern History at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 22 customer reviews
A very informative and interesting book.
Manuel T. Silva
The book will whet the interest of anyone with a shred of curiosity about this enormous institution.
ewomack
This is another excellent survey book in this historical series.
S. Cheshier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Joe Owen VINE VOICE on March 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I am a History Major in college and one of my area's of interest is the Middle Ages (400AD-1500AD). Of course this means that to study the time of the Middle Ages, one must study Papal History as well. I find that this book is essential in researching not only the history of the Papacy but also the Emperors who were allies and enemies of individual Popes.
This reference is easy to follow, outstanding timeline references, great drawings, paintings and pictures, but MOST OF ALL it has the brief history of each Pope since St. Peter and also significant achievements of each Pope as well. It also tells about other significant events around the world during the history of the Catholic Church as well. Without this reference book (I consider it a tool) I would be at a definite disadvantage.
This book is a MUST have for Medieval-Church Historians as well as those who are Medieval History Buffs as well.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With the passing of Pope John Paul II and the subsequent election of Benedict XVI last month, this 1997 book officially becomes a little out of date (always inevitable when dealing with a living lineage). Nonetheless, the book will give readers with little knowledge of the papacy the basic story behind how it arrived at its current state (those who already have knowledge of the papacy and its history will likely learn nothing new).

It's a dizzying journey, and doubtless much had to be left out to fit the entire 2,000 year journey into one volume (two volumes may have been more appropriate). Still, those not seeking details and the nitty gritty of the papacy can come to a cursory appreciation of the office's history and evolution since its founding during the late Roman Empire.

After a 2-4 page preface (not a lot of background) the book leaps into history beginning with St. Peter in the 1st century AD. What follows is far too complex to summarize (which this 240-page book proves more than anything). However, the basic high-level progression of the papacy from St. Peter, to shadowy and difficult beginnings up to the 15th century, to international secular superpower (complete with corruption) through the 18th century, to a humbled return to spiritual leadership of the world's largest church in the 20th century, can be adumbrated. Readers will see most of the highlights of the history, but likely come away with little understanding of the office itself.

To be fair, the papacy heartily challenges any attempt at summarization.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mary F Czach on January 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The illustrations in this book are wonderful, but the descriptions are not very detailed, and the book does not give references. For example, it is said that a particular pope was highly critisized, but it doesn't say by whom or what was the pope's response -- if any -- to that criticism. (Nor does it cite any documents that critisize him.) It accuses another pope of "extensive" nepotism, without mentioning which members of his family he gave jobs to or even how many people the author means by "extensive" and again no references are given. I did not find the "rose colored glasses" nor apologist approach that another reviewer mentioned, but the lack of references made this book of limited, and questionable, value.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Marc Pieroni on April 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The papacy is one of the more interesting offices in the world - in essence the oldest democracy in the world. The pope, in spite of the notion that he is appointed by God, is elected by bishops, and as the book reveals, often with less-than-holy intentions. The biggest asset for this book is the illustrations of the popes, with the art reflecting the evolution of the religion and the European Renaissance. But the book is really more of a timeline of the office, rather than biographies of the indivdual pontiffs. Often, entire reigns are lumped together as a general trend in the papacy, and some popes earn no more than a quick mention of their ascention. Granted, many of them deserve no more, but for those curious as to the individual stories behind each Father, this book will come up lacking. Even some of the more sordid and disgraceful popes, like John XII or Alexander IV, are taken in stride in this chronicle, where the reader probably would have appreciated a bit more detail on the story. The history of the Throne of Peter is one of the more intriguing tales in European history, and to have them reported in this sterile manner doesn't do justice for those fascinated by the men under the mitres. But for those who want to see a general progresion of the office and its evolution from humble beginnings to corrupt demagogue to modern and politically inactive spiritual leader, this book is a good tool. Plus, in a genre and with a topic that is rarely the subject of unbiased scrutany, it has value in its objective portrayal of bizarre and often sacriligous history of the Holy See.
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34 of 43 people found the following review helpful By jwalzer on November 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Frankly, I was disappointed with this book. On the plus side, the illustrations are numerous and fascinating. The book is a treasury of portraits, maps, and timelines. The text is another matter. Throughout, the author adopts the role of papal apologist far more often than the role of objective historian. For those who would like their papal history without the rose-colored glasses, I would recommend McBrien's, "Lives of the Popes", De Rosa's, "Vicars of Christ", and J.N.D. Kelly's, "Oxford Dictionary of Popes".
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