A Distant Mirror:  The Calamitous 14th Century
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A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

by

Barbara W. Tuchman--the acclaimed author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning classic The Guns of August--once again marshals her gift for character, history, and sparkling prose to compose an astonishing portrait of medieval Europe.

The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering age of crusades, cathedrals, and chivalry; on the other, a world plunged into chaos and spiritual agony. In this revelatory work, Tuchman examines not only the great rhythms of history but the grain and texture of domestic life: what childhood was like; what marriage meant; how money, taxes, and war dominated the lives of serf, noble, and clergy alike. Granting her subjects their loyalties, treacheries, and guilty passions, Tuchman re-creates the lives of proud cardinals, university scholars, grocers and clerks, saints and mystics, lawyers and mercenaries, and, dominating all, the knight--in all his valor and “furious follies,” a “terrible worm in an iron cocoon.”

Title:A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
Edition Language:English
ISBN:0345349571
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:677 pages

    A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century Reviews

  • Kalliope
    May 05, 2012

    What an extraordinary read it is when one book is as action packed as thirty riveting novels. And if it also contains rich and erudite disquisitions and is narrated in a language as clear and flowing ...

  • William1
    Sep 27, 2013

    A vivid and detailed look into a lost world. The major players are The Black Death, The Hundred Years War, the sick, uproarious joke of chivalric valor, The Papal Schism, ruinous taxation, serfdom, pe...

  • Glenn Russell
    Mar 21, 2014

    A Distant Mirrorr by Barbara W. Tuchman is, on one level, a seven hundred page encyclopedia of the 14th century’s political, military, religious, social, cultural and economic history. Since Ms. Tuc...

  • Hana
    Oct 29, 2013

    I was a little worried at the start that 600 pages of 14th century history might be, shall we say, a bit too much. There is no denying the book is long and very detailed and at times it was a struggl...

  • Matt
    Nov 02, 2015

    My interest in medieval times is not incredibly strong; it is, in fact, relegated mostly to the hope of someday going to a Medieval Times restaurant. I’ve read Ken Follett’s two Kingsbridge novels...

  • Aaron
    Aug 15, 2008

    I'm not quite sure how I came to read this strange and unwieldy book. It just kept popping up in my sights. For a while now, I've had a boyish fascination with the Middle Ages, intensified by a couple...

  • Max
    May 31, 2016

    The Four Horsemen had their way in the fourteenth century. Tuchman portrays a brutal decadent European society terrorized and demoralized by the plague, war, violence and deprivation. She focuses on F...

  • Matt Brady
    Feb 27, 2013

    The Hundred Years War, the Papal Schism, the Black Death, peasant uprisings, the death of chivalry, crusades, assassinations, tournaments, all these things and more Tuchman explores through an examina...

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    Sep 01, 2016

    My grandmother had this book on her shelf for years and I read it as a kid and loved it. Of course, I knew the King Arthur legends and pretended to be a knight in shining armour like any other young b...

  • Chrissie
    Dec 03, 2008

    Tuchman's books are always interesting, but usually they have more than one can absorb. For this reason, reading them is always a bit of a struggle. OK, I am merely speaking for myself. I am going to ...

About Barbara W. Tuchman

Barbara W. Tuchman

Barbara Wertheim Tuchman was an American self-trained historian and author and double Pulitzer Prize winner. She became best known for The Guns of August (1962), a history of the prelude and first month of World War I.As an author, Tuchman focused on producing popular history. Her clear, dramatic storytelling covered topics as diverse as the 14th century and World War I, and sold millions of copie