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Chronicle of the Popes: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Papacy over 2000 Years [Hardcover]

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Item Number 156898  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 10.26" Width: 7.86" Height: 0.93"
Weight:   2.32 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 17, 1997
Publisher   Thames & Hudson
ISBN  0500017980  
EAN  9780500017982  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Examines the deeds, misdeeds, and family relationships for each of the 264 popes from St. Peter to John Paul II, as well as providing a chronology of significant events that occurred during each pope's reign

Publishers Description
For nearly two thousand years the popes have not only shaped the course of one of the world's great religions but have also played a part sometimes a dominant part in the history of Europe. Martyrs, monks, noblemen, Franciscans, Dominicans, hermits, and even unordained laymen have occupied the throne of St. Peter. This book recounts the lives and deeds of the popes from Peter to John Paul II. With timelines, datafiles, quotations, and copious illustrations, Chronicle of the Popes is an essential reference book and a source of discovery and inspiration about one of the richest and most diverse institutions on earth.

Buy Chronicle of the Popes: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Papacy over 2000 Years by P. G. Maxwell-Stuart from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780500017982 & 0500017980

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More About P. G. Maxwell-Stuart

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dr PG Maxwell-Stuart is an Honorary Lecturer in the School of History at the University of St Andrews. His many publications include Witchcraft - A History (Tempus 2000)and The Occult in Medieval Europe (Palgrave 2005).

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A nice overview book on Papal history  Aug 16, 2005
This is another excellent survey book in this historical series. The only fault I would find with it is that it doesn't have good photos of each Pope. Certainly the line drawings are OK for the very early Popes, but there should be good, color photos available for the more recent ones.
Qualified acclaim  Jun 2, 2005
I have four titles in this series. I often come across the names of popes in connection with art and history and wanted a comprehensive survey. This book provides this. It is spoilt by some unnecessary and partisan comments by the author.
Provides a good historical outline for newcomers...  May 1, 2005
With the passing of Pope John Paul II and the subsequent election of Benedict XVI last month, this 1997 book officially becomes a little out of date (always inevitable when dealing with a living lineage). Nonetheless, the book will give readers with little knowledge of the papacy the basic story behind how it arrived at its current state (those who already have knowledge of the papacy and its history will likely learn nothing new).

It's a dizzying journey, and doubtless much had to be left out to fit the entire 2,000 year journey into one volume (two volumes may have been more appropriate). Still, those not seeking details and the nitty gritty of the papacy can come to a cursory appreciation of the office's history and evolution since its founding during the late Roman Empire.

After a 2-4 page preface (not a lot of background) the book leaps into history beginning with St. Peter in the 1st century AD. What follows is far too complex to summarize (which this 240-page book proves more than anything). However, the basic high-level progression of the papacy from St. Peter, to shadowy and difficult beginnings up to the 15th century, to international secular superpower (complete with corruption) through the 18th century, to a humbled return to spiritual leadership of the world's largest church in the 20th century, can be adumbrated. Readers will see most of the highlights of the history, but likely come away with little understanding of the office itself.

To be fair, the papacy heartily challenges any attempt at summarization. Being the world's longest running office, it touches the Roman Empire, medieval Europe, countless wars, innumerable countries and peoples, Charlemange, the crusades, the Reformation, the Renaissance, the French Revolution, Napolean, two World Wars, and the modern industrialized world. Any short summary of this lineage is bound to leave out countless details. As an introduction to the basic history of the papacy, this book succeeds fairly well. As an introduction to the office itself, however, it does not fare so well. As long as readers go into this book with the expectation that it's almost purely history, the disappointment shouldn't be too harsh. The book will whet the interest of anyone with a shred of curiosity about this enormous institution. Other books will have to fill in the details, ultimately. To take some examples: why popes traditionally take a new name upon election isn't really even discussed. The section on Gregory I will likely leave readers wondering why he's called "Gregory the Great". The section on Alexander VI includes more details on Savanarola than the pope himself. The infamous "cadaver synod" of Stephen VI in the 9th century receives a very brief treatment. The "Pope Joan" hoax gets mentioned but with almost no detail whatsoever. The terms "Vatican I" and "Vatican II" are not used anywhere in the book (the longer "First Vatican Council" and "Second Vatican Council" are used instead).

On the up side, numerous pictures from all eras pervade nearly every page of the book. The copious pictures alone make the book worthwhile. Sidenotes shed some light on special subjects (e.g., the alleged discovery of the bones of St. Peter, the Carolingian Empire, the crusades, the Fransiscans and Dominicans, the former papal palace at Avignon, the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, the building of the current St. Peter's Basilica, the formation of Vatican City, etc.).

In the end, expect brevity from this book and expect to come out of it with numerous questions. But also expect to have a basic understanding of the history of the world's oldest extant office of authority. Those with little or no knowledge will find a great starting point here.
Good chronicle of the office, short on details  Apr 24, 2003
The papacy is one of the more interesting offices in the world - in essence the oldest democracy in the world. The pope, in spite of the notion that he is appointed by God, is elected by bishops, and as the book reveals, often with less-than-holy intentions. The biggest asset for this book is the illustrations of the popes, with the art reflecting the evolution of the religion and the European Renaissance. But the book is really more of a timeline of the office, rather than biographies of the indivdual pontiffs. Often, entire reigns are lumped together as a general trend in the papacy, and some popes earn no more than a quick mention of their ascention. Granted, many of them deserve no more, but for those curious as to the individual stories behind each Father, this book will come up lacking. Even some of the more sordid and disgraceful popes, like John XII or Alexander IV, are taken in stride in this chronicle, where the reader probably would have appreciated a bit more detail on the story. The history of the Throne of Peter is one of the more intriguing tales in European history, and to have them reported in this sterile manner doesn't do justice for those fascinated by the men under the mitres. But for those who want to see a general progresion of the office and its evolution from humble beginnings to corrupt demagogue to modern and politically inactive spiritual leader, this book is a good tool. Plus, in a genre and with a topic that is rarely the subject of unbiased scrutany, it has value in its objective portrayal of bizarre and often sacriligous history of the Holy See.
Great Concept but...  Jan 12, 2003
The illustrations in this book are wonderful, but the descriptions are not very detailed, and the book does not give references. For example, it is said that a particular pope was highly critisized, but it doesn't say by whom or what was the pope's response -- if any -- to that criticism. (Nor does it cite any documents that critisize him.) It accuses another pope of "extensive" nepotism, without mentioning which members of his family he gave jobs to or even how many people the author means by "extensive" and again no references are given. I did not find the "rose colored glasses" nor apologist approach that another reviewer mentioned, but the lack of references made this book of limited, and questionable, value.

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