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How the Reformation Happened Paperback – May 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
In my reading of history books there is a pre-Hilaire Belloc period and a post-Hilaire Belloc period. This is because what Belloc writes and how he writes it is so novel, refreshing, clear and shocking that you simply cannot be the same man after reading his works.
Don't expect a book full of quotes and references to primary sources with an imposing bibliography at the back. There isn't a single quote or reference to a primary or secondary source in any of the books by Belloc that I've read.
Briefly, you will have to take Belloc's word for it that things really happened the way he says they did. The man doesn't really put forward arguments, he simply states his case. And it works! For some, specially people who don't have a conservative mindset or who take methodology very seriously, this will probably be considered a major flaw and they will dismiss Belloc's works as mere propaganda but I didn't bother: I was completely absorbed by his quick and fascinating narrative and mind-blowing historical analysis.
Belloc is not a historian who likes to recreate a historical period by giving the reader a wealth of details about clothing, dietary habits and what not. No, his view is a tend thousand feet view: the main events, the underlying causes, the far-reaching consequences. Everything is said with utmost clarity and almost bluntly: the Reformation was a catastrophe for European civilization and its main driving force was rapacity.
In How the Reformation Happened, Belloc covers the whole period from immediately before AD 1517, when Luther published his theses, to the reign of Louis XIV.Read more ›
The author, rightly so, refuses to put the blame on just a few reformers, and he also refuses to exonerate Holy Mother Church's role in this. Reading this book made me feel like he was saying, "Everyone we can find who is responsible will be held responsible, whether protestant or Catholic."
To sum up (and this is explained more fully in chapter 9), the author puts the causes of the Reformation as thus:
1) A "special, personal hatred of the Faith" that has existed even as far back as Calvary;
2) The revolt was originally and essentially a protest against the spiritual power of the clergy and the financial power of the Church's heirarchy;
3) The movement was provoked by the very corrupt condition into which the official Church had fallen, notably the Papal court;
4) A new doctrine of unquestioned right in Princes to absolute rule, helped by the weakening of the Papacy (Popes leaving Rome, rival anti-popes); and
5) The ability to get stinking rich by the looting of Church property.
A good book showing that arguments in doctrine had nearly nothing to do with the first few decades of the revolt; that the revolt was nearly purely political, and after the looting of the monasteries began, the revolt was further fueled by the chance for extreme wealth and power.
Another great job by a great author. Five stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Every Christian needs to be aware of the real history that divided us.Published 14 months ago by Pratt Landry
A fascinating account of the Reformation and the damage that it caused to Western unity.Published 16 months ago by Leon
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS PERIOD THERE ARE MANY BOOKS YOU CAN STUDY, BUT THIS ONE IS THE ONE I KEEP COMING BACK TO. Read morePublished 20 months ago by refq
My husband loves this book because it is history. I like it too, but have a little trouble following it. Read morePublished 21 months ago by barbreads
Mr. Belloc seems to love European (i.e., Roman Catholic) culture more than the Word of God in the Bible. Read morePublished on April 29, 2014 by Jeff H
Absolutely a must read for Catholic and non-Catholics alike. Especially if one believes they fully understand the Reformation in detail. Read morePublished on March 31, 2014 by JMJ XII
Amazing !!! The truth comes out !!! It's amazing how greed can change society forever. If you want to know the truth about the reformation then you need to own this book. Read morePublished on February 21, 2014 by Jacob Rubio
Reading a book by Belloc is like sitting around a table listening to a old uncle hold forth on various and sundry topics, while he contentedly puffs on a cigar and sips a strong... Read morePublished on March 6, 2013 by J. Michael
I am engaged with a quick study of the Reformation. I read from the Catholic point of view. There are some books which just must be read to understand the Catholic and Protestant... Read morePublished on November 25, 2012 by Paul Raphael Tapp