Automotive Holiday Deals Up to 50% Off Select Books Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Indie for the Holidays egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grooming Deals Gifts Under $50 Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer bf15 bf15 bf15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $15 Off All-New Fire Kindle Black Friday Deals Outdoor Deals on HTL

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Mysteries of the Middle Ages: And the Beginning of the Modern World (Hinges of History) Reprint Edition

69 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0385495561
ISBN-10: 0385495560
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$5.50 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$18.02 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
53 New from $4.80 134 Used from $0.01
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

Get Up to 80% Back Rent Textbooks
$18.02 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Mysteries of the Middle Ages: And the Beginning of the Modern World (Hinges of History)
  • +
  • Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World (Hinges of History)
  • +
  • Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter (Hinges of History)
Total price: $45.78
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews


“Intoxicating. . . . Cahill's command of rich historical detail makes medieval cities and their colorful characters come to alive.”
The Los Angeles Times

“Cahill offers a fascinating portrayal of the intellectual richness that foreshadows the coming Renaissance. . . . [He] deftly focuses on key locations and major figures that form the foundations of Renaissance and Modern thought in feminism, science, and art.”
Rocky Mountain News

“[Cahill] succeeds roundly in bringing his own gift of enticing readers to the study of the past, describing the development and definition of the medieval worldview, as well as he has ever done.”
New York Daily News

About the Author

Thomas Cahill's appealing approach to distant history has won the attention of millions of readers in North America and beyond. Cahill is the author of four previous volumes in the Hinges of History series: How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Gifts of the Jews, Desire of the Everlasting Hills, and Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea. They have been bestsellers, not only in the United States but also in countries ranging from Italy to Brazil. He and his wife, Susan, also a writer, divide their time between New York and Rome.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: Hinges of History (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385495560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385495561
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.1 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Cahill, former director of religious publishing at Doubleday, is the bestselling author of the Hinges of History series.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 91 people found the following review helpful By B. Simmons on March 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a well-written, beautifully illustrated book. The treatment of the footnotes is unusual and eminently readable; they are on the same page, rather than being relegated to the end of the book, and not in the usual 6 or 7 pt fine print of a scholarly treatise. The author obviously knows his subject matter, but his writing is more conversational than pedagogical. However, buyer beware. If you've read the hardcover "Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe," don't buy this so-called reprint edition. They've simply changed the subtitle to "And the Beginning of the Modern World." It's not the additional volume on the making of the modern world promised on page iii of the hardcover edition.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
73 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Steven Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a well written book that illustrates some of the major advances toward a more modern world that occurred during the middle ages. This is largely accomplished through a detailed examination of several key people (and one could surely quibble with these selections, although they are pretty reasonable to me): Hildegarde of Bingen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Francis of Assisi, Peter Abelard, Henry II (Plantagenet), Roger Bacon, Dante, Giotto, and a handful of others.

One issue that bothered me somewhat: the focus or purpose of this book is not real clear. The author, Thomas Cahill, begins by mentioning that the Middle Ages are, against the claims of some, the beginnings of modernity and has often been unappreciated for its contributions. However, at the end, he notes that (Page 313) "The story this book has had to tell is the story of the (often overlooked and belittled) Catholic contribution to Western civilization." And then, if one reads the book, he is often quite critical of the Catholic hierarchy. Thus, I am not sure that there is a consistent thematic spine to the book. That is hardly critical, but I sometimes asked myself what the purpose of this book might be.

That said, this is a handsomely produced work. There is a nice technique for including footnotes on the pages where a reference is made; there are very nice reproductions of the art of the day, maps, and so on; there is plenty of space between the lines and this renders reading much easier. From time to time there are summary charts (e.g., key dates on timelines).

For those (including me) who may a little about some of the key players but not much about others, this is a delight. I enjoy the music of Hildegarde of Bingen, but I scarcely had a sense of her role in the history of the times.
Read more ›
17 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on December 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was stunned by the wide range of ratings that this book has received from general-interest readers. It stands in stark contrast to the overwhelmingly positive ratings from reviewers. I'll comment on what happened (in my opinion) at the end of this review.

I think the book offers tremendous insights into the development of European culture and intellectual and religious life during the Middle Ages. It begins with Europe's roots in ancient Greece and Rome, but rather than taking the easy way out by listing a bunch of wars and and proto-European nation-states, the author looks at the intellectual threads that emerged and the thinkers who created them. He shows how Greece's intellectual ideas and Rome's more practical way of thinking (and passion for life) formed early Christianity, and then led to the split between the Orthodox Church and the Holy Roman Empire-style church.

Then he takes a deeper look at how that HRE-style of religion was changed by extraordinarily brave and thoughtful people over the course of more than 300 years: people such as Gregory the Great, Hildegard of Bingen, Heloise, Eleanor of Acquitaine, Francis of Assisi, Roger Bacon, Thomas Aquinas, and Giotto. He shows how each of these people contributed to changing their world...and our world.

And when I say "show," I mean show. I can't think of a book of history that's better illustrated than this volume. My greatest frustration with history books comes when I'm reading an exciting description of a battle formation, a costume, a town, or whatever, and there's no picture. In fact, there's almost never a picture. This book, by contrast, has all the right pictures -- paintings, mosaics, maps, cathedrals, etc.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on April 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Mysteries of the Middle Ages is the third book in a series of seven on European history.

Thomas Cahill's thesis is that the Middle Ages were not the intellectual desert that many people think them to be. He suggests that they were a period of fertile development in the areas of science, philosophy and the arts. Rather than trying to give a broad overview of the period, he introduces us to a number of the main characters who lived in the period. The book is a history of the Church and faith more than the countries, but it is through the gradually shifting nature of that faith that the world changes.

The book begins with a quick overview of the Greek and Roman civilization. As strange as it may seem to start there, it becomes clear that much of the Middle Ages are the re-discovery of Greek philosophy and science, but with a different twist to it.

During the course of the book we meet a sequestered nun who, by the end of her long life is going on speaking tours of Europe; another woman who lives her own life as ruler; and a gentle man who renounces all wealth and power. We are introduced to a villain who has a great effect on all three of the above, and many other characters who are all unique in the way they view the world they live in.

While I found the stories fascinating, I found Cahill's diversions into commentary on the modern day less interesting. He interjects his opinions of our modern day in a way that more often distracts than adds to the book. The entire closing chapter is in this vein. That said, I found the way the author tells the story usually carried me past the infrequent rants. I would still recommend this amusing and readable book to anyone who wishes an introduction to this misunderstood period of our history.

Armchair Interviews says: When Cahill is telling stories he is terrific, when he is ranting, less so.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Mysteries of the Middle Ages: And the Beginning of the Modern World (Hinges of History)
This item: Mysteries of the Middle Ages: And the Beginning of the Modern World (Hinges of History)
Price: $18.02
Ships from and sold by

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: canticle of the creatures, world history modern age, history of the middle ages