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The Story of Civilization: The Reformation : A History of European Civilization from Wyclif to Calvin : 1300-1564 Hardcover – July, 1997

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Product Details

  • Series: Story of Civilization (Book 6)
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Fine Communications (July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567310176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567310177
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


''Magnificent and monumental.'' --New York Times, praise for the series

''Easily the most engaging writer of Western intellectual history in the English language, Will Durant breathes life into philosophers and their ideas. He is colorful, witty, and above all, informative.'', editorial review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

WILL DURANT (1885-1981) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize (1968) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977). He spent over fifty years writing his critically acclaimed eleven-volume series, The Story of Civilization (the later volumes written in conjunction with his wife, Ariel). A champion of human rights issues such as the brotherhood of man and social reform long before such issues were popular, Durant, through his writings, continues to educate and entertain readers the world over.  --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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These 5 lines in short summarize the book.
The title of the book makes its scope sound far more limited than the book really is.
Doug Erlandson
Dr. Durant does an excellent job, and his reasearch is great.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Johannes Platonicus on October 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
While this is not the most precise book on the Reformation, it is the most unique, thorough, and probably the largest. It is an epitome of the entire age in general, rather than a mere focus on particulars. One third of the book lapses before a singal mention of Martin Luther is made, but this is certainly not a flaw, Durant just shows how calls to reform happened centuries before him. Most histories simply focus on Luther, Calvin, and Henry the 8th, and fail to cover the whole age of the Reformation. This is not the case here. Durant begins with the condition of the Roman Catholic Church during the Papal Schism, moves to Wycliffe, shifts to Huss, and merges them with Zwingli, Luther,etc. Some forgivable digressions are made, but they end up serving their purpose well. Will Durant, a Catholic, judges the full scope of the Reformation with impartialty, revealing the pro's and con's of both institutions with sagacity. All in all this work is industrious and inspiring.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By George W. Fisk on February 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Reading Will Durant's History of European Civilization from Wycliff to Calvin 1300-1564 will be an illuminating experience for readers unacquainted with factual descriptions of life during those years. For having views on religion or government contrary to time or country thousands died slow deaths tied to a stake surrounded by a pile of burning wood. Those who committed less serious crimes against the church or state received the kinder, quicker death of one strong blow of a sword removing their head. Even belonging to royalty was no insurance for living to an old age. With the death of a ruling king or queen, only one member of the family could inherit the throne. Therefore it was not unusual for the quick murder of potential heirs who commonly were family members. The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus is commonly taught as a wonderful event in world history. How many know that of the three ships, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, only two returned, the largest, the Santa Maria having been destroyed in a storm. The harrowing return trip in two tiny, badly over-crowded open ships, stands as one of the miracles of ocean travel. In our observation of Columbus Day do we know the initial good will of the natives was quickly lost. On a later trip Columbus observed "The Europeans had roamed the island robbing the natives of gold and women; they had established a tropical paradise with five women to each man; they had quarreled and murdered one another, and nearly all the rest had been killed by the outraged Indians.
Later on in the Spanish conquest of Yucatan, the Aztec Empire and the socialistic civilization of the Incas Durant observes the conquered people were more civilized but not equal to the guns of the conquerors.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By oamaz on September 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If we ask a question "What put an end to the Middle Ages (as the majority vizualizes them - barbarous, violent, uneducated, unsanitary... even if it is not really so)? To answer with author's words "Many causes through 3 centuries: the failure of the Crusades,...the resurrection of classic pagan culture, the expansion of commerce through great navigators, the rise of business class, the development of national states and Luther challenging the supernational authority of the Popes, printing". These 5 lines in short summarize the book. And although "we do nations injustice when we judge them from their kings, for morals are not made for sovereigns", you'll find accounts for all prominent monarchs of that period (to some, e.g. Yorks & Lancasters, Richard III, insane King Charles VI of France, only a dozen of lines is dedicated, analysis of lives and deeds of others - Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Mary Tudor and Henry VIII, Ivan the Terrible, the Burgundian kings, Fransisc I occupy chapters).
Approximately 1/4 of the book is dedicated to the conflict that actually brought the Reformation (church vs. state and individual)and afterwards, Contr-Reformation. As I'm not the specialist in this area, I've skipped some pages, but I'll definitely put myself together and read them later.
As usual, Mr Durant guides us through all bloody and terrible wars and strifes of that age, reminding us that "from barbarism to civilization requires a century, from civilization to barbarism needs but a day". No distinguished artist, philosopher, writer escapes his scrutiny (Hans Holbein, Rableis, Durer, F. Villon - to name just a few). I was particularly hooked by chapters on development of science and medicine (A.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ron Kozar on January 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Just as he does in the other volumes of his "Story of Civilization," Durant bites off a huge chunk of history and manages to chew it all. "The Reformation" is encyclopedic, but he still manages to achieve penetrating depth and detail about many trends, events, and people amid the three centuries that he covers. The tone of his prose is always just this side of mirthful. You will learn of the lifelong contest between Charles V and Francis I. You will learn about a day in the life of an average Briton in Henry VIII's time (dinner at 10:00 am, "supper" about 4:00, no utensils). You will read the life of Rabelais and the French Paul Bunyan that he created. You will develop an appreciation of Hans Holbein the Younger, the painter of almost photographic portraits at Henry VIII's court. You will learn of saintly popes, greedy popes, and power-hungry popes. You will read passages from Martin Luther, whose violent intolerance (and whose attitude toward bigamy) will shock you. You will learn an enormous amount from this book, and you will enjoy doing it.
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