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Editorial Reviews


"Mr.Crocker's book is engaging, provocative, and eminently readable. It should be around for Vatican III."
William F. Buckley Jr.
"Harry Crocker propels us through two millennia with wit and insight. While irreverent to man, his reverence to God is never questioned in a must-read for non-Catholics as well as Catholics."
Robert D. Novak, syndicated columnist and commentator
"Harry Crocker has written the best short history of the Church in English since the Second Vatican Council. In short, a Triumph."
Fr. C. J. McCloskey III, director, Catholic Information Center
"I used to think that the history of the Catholic Church was the greatest story never told. But it's been told now—in Triumph—with all the verve, aggression, and even humor of John Wayne in The Quiet Man. This is rock-solid history—delivered with a rock-solid punch—and is the most essential Catholic book since the Catechism of the Catholic Church (though it's a lotmore fun to read). Buy it and enjoy."
Sean Hannity, Fox News
"H. W. Crocker III has indeed brought about a triumph with his concise and informative history. Here is a book for the general reader that provides a grand view of the Church's progress through time. Triumph is a book that will strengthen the faith of Catholics and give others an exciting and complete account of the two millennia of the Catholic Church. Magnificent!"
Ralph McInerny, Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies, University of Notre Dame, and author of the Father Dowling mysteries
"A biting, unaplolgetic romp through Catholic history that debunks some long held myths and celebrates the glory of the Catholic faith. A much needed Triumph."
Raymond Arroyo, EWTN news director and host of The World Over

From the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

For 2,000 years, Catholicism—the largest religion in the world and in the United States—has shaped global history on a scale unequaled by any other institution. But until now, Catholics interested in their faith have been hard-pressed to find an accessible, affirmative, and exciting history of the Church.
Triumph is that history. Inside, you'll discover the spectacular story of the Church from Biblical times and the early days of St. Peter—the first pope—to the twilight years of John Paul II. It is a sweeping drama of Roman legions, great crusades, epic battles, toppled empires, heroic saints, and enduring faith. And, there are stormy controversies: Dark Age skullduggery, the Inquistition, the Renaissance popes, the Reformation, the Church's refusal to accept sexual liberation and contemporary allegations like those made in Hitler's Pope and Papal Sin.
A brawling, colorful history full of inspiring pageantry and spirited polemic, Triumph will exhilarate, amuse, and infuriate as it extols the glories of Catholic history and the gripping stories of its greatest men and women.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Forum; Reprint edition (September 23, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761516042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761516040
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

196 of 208 people found the following review helpful By Gord Wilson VINE VOICE on February 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
I bought the hardback of this book after seeing the author on C-Span Book TV. I disagree completely with the negative reviews of this book for the following reasons. First, the authors of those reviews seem to be well-versed in the history of the last 2000 years and object to how Mr. Crocker presents his version. All I can say is they have been lucky not to have had to sit through what passes as history as I have. I have never heard Mr. Crocker's side, even in so-called Catholic books. "A church that never went right would be quite as miraculous as a church that never went wrong," Chesterton quipped in Orthodoxy. In all the other versions of history I've been exposed to, the church never goes right. Obviously their fairy tales were as flawed as Mr. Crocker's critics feel his presentation to be. Yet even now these inventive revisions top the best seller list. How I pity the innocent readers who, unaware of the marketing ploy foisted on them, may attempt to create a coherent philosophy from the hacked together bits of historical shrapnel that pass for, and are taught as, history. Second, if you wonder why so many people are today reconsidering the Catholic Church, it's because its detractors have overstated their case. It's as if, to quote Chesterton again, "any stick was good enough to beat Christianity with." All that happens is one loses respect for the beaters and gains respect for the beaten. Chesterton wrote his comments 100 years ago, summarily dismantling the idiotic pre-modern world (back now as the idiotic post-modern world). As a convert, Crocker is naturally excited to tell the other side of the story, and as a hungry soul starved by the meaninglessness of the non-philosophies of today I was excited to read it. One caveat: the time of the Reformation and the Thirty Year war is an account of unbelievable violence and carnage. But as Mel Gibson's movie shows, a great many in our day are hungry for the truth to set us free.
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96 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Davis VINE VOICE on January 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you expect this to be an academic, critical history of the Catholic Church, then you need to read the title again. Crocker is not a professional historian, and he doesn't pretend to be. However, as a man's honest interpretation and commentary of true historical events, the book is excellent. This is history through the eyes of a faithful, orthodox Roman Catholic, in the historico-apologetic tradition of Hilaire Belloc, Christopher Dawson, and G.K. Chesterton. Crocker is clearly indebted to them for his understanding of the Church and its development as it struggles against numerous foes, secular and religious. Of particular interest to Western Christian readers is the second half beginning with the Reformation. Like Belloc, Crocker wants to locate the rampant secularism of today within the principles of the Reformation -- such as in this memorable quote:

"The result [of sola scriptura], over time, was that in Protestant countries, theology was no longer 'the queen of sciences' but only one source of knowledge, subject to individual interpretation, and was separated from secular inquiry. Because secular inquiry was seen as objective it eventually gained overweening predominance and prestige over doctrinally subjective Protestant religious thought -- an intellectual development that has been the major factor in secularizing the Western world" (240).

Whether one agrees or not, such issues are worth pondering, and this book is a worthwhile chance to do so with a dedicated Catholic.
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139 of 151 people found the following review helpful By Terrence J. Sexton on December 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Tired of seeing the Catholic Church pilloried by malcontents, defectors, and detractors? Longing for a sweeping, well-written overview of the Church's unparalleled achievements over the last two millennia? If so, you will really enjoy this book. I received it for Christmas and could not put it down.
Crocker will, predictably, be criticized by those who wish that the Church was not so wedded to the objective, immutable, hard truths preached by the Apostles and St. Paul. But the critics must ask themselves why, if the Church is really the decrepit, bankrupt institution they depict it to be, they expend so much time, effort and ink attacking it?
This is not revisionist history; Crocker readily admits that the Church is a divine, infallible institution made up of human, fallible creatures. Far from exposing the Church as a fraud, these excesses and failures of the past only reinforce its divine character. Indeed, only a Church that received the protection promised in Matthew 16:18 could endure some of the scandals to which the Barque of Peter has been subjected.
Moreover, Crocker goes a long way toward debunking some of the viciously unfair myths which have been spread about the Church, e.g., that it was complicit in the face of Nazi genocide. John Cornwell, Garry Wills and their ilk should be very uneasy about the release of this book, which does an excellent job of unmasking their shoddy research and analysis.
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79 of 84 people found the following review helpful By "zenoofelia" on June 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Critical reviews of this book rightly point out that it's not a dry, exhaustive analysis of all issues related to the Catholic Church over 2000 years. It is not written for a handful of other professional historians tucked away in academia somewhere. The book is not an autopsy.
But frankly, it's high time someone wrote a book like Crocker's.
First, by any neutral criteria, the Catholic Church is the most interesting institution that has ever existed (see below) and as such it deserves a treatment like Crocker's written with the attitude that people might actually find the subject interesting.
Second, it is remarkable how ignorant most of us are about the Catholic Church, even though it is clearly the most important human institution in the history of the world.
Third, the vast majority of stuff one hears about the role of the Church in history is complete myth. (Tiny example I hear constantly, exploded admirably by Crocker: "The Church led those nasty crusades trying to stamp out Islam"--completely wrong. The crusades (a)came along many centuries after Islam arrived on the scene--the Muslims were left in peace for 500 years, (b) were not against Islam, but against the blood-thirsy Ottoman Empire, a bunch that slaughtered babies on bayonets before their mothers' eyes and beheaded infidels for sport (and as such was completely deserving of the crudades) (c) were not all led by the Church (indeed, e.g., the ridiculous Children's Crusade was condemned by the Church).
So Crocker is right to have a somewhat polemical attitude here, as there is much to be corrected. And his lack of sympathy for certain acts and attitudes attributable to Protestantism is appropriate in the context of his historical narrative.
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