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This book gets 4 stars, not because it is a fascinating and spellbinding read (it isn't) but because it provides a wealth of information, which (I assume) is the primary reason that it was written, and thus it succeeds well at its intended goal. There are a few more typos than I like to see in a scholarly work, although fewer per page than I accept as a given in mass-market paperbacks. I'm not sure whether those glitches came in with the original writing, or whether they are the fault of the translation, but they ARE there, and are a bit distracting, but not a severe enough problem to seriously detract from the book's rating.
I will say that it would seem to me, as one who was not a member of the Catholic church to start with, that it would be difficult to read this book without having a severe strain placed on one's faith in the Church, if one had any to start with; historically, so many of the leaders of the church were CLEARLY not very pius or holy individuals; many were venal, adulterous, and clearly more interested in matters of their political power in the world of the flesh rather than in matters of the spirit. But it must not be impossible to do so, as one would assume that it would be even HARDER to WRITE this book without losing faith than to merely read it, and it seems that the author has succeeded in doing so.
This is a fascinating work on the intricacies of the Papacy over the centuries. For instance, Simon Bar-Jona or the Apostle Peter was the first Pope. Guarducci concluded that a box found in the Vatican Grottoes contained the bones of Peter wrapped in purple clothing laced with golden threads. Peter is said to be buried in the Basilica of Rome.
Linus, the second Pope ordered women to cover their heads while in Church. St. Anacletus presided over the Church during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius on 8-24- 79AD.
The volume contains thousands of facts pertinent to the Papacy over the centuries beginning with the first Pope-the Apostle Peter. Each Pope is listed together with a brief bibliography and highlights of the involved reign over the Church from the election until the end of the Papal tenure. The fact checking alone would be a considerable job for any scholar to accomplish. This volume would be perfect for a religious studies or world history course.
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I have been looking for such a book for awhile. I'm an avid reader of historical fiction, especially medieval and Tudor novels. I wanted a resource that gave me quick information about a time period. This book fits my needs very well. In the few times I've used the book, I found it presents information in a non-biased way. With such information, I can put the novel's plot and characters within a framework.I would not buy it "new"; but found a "used" copy in very good condition... for a good price.
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