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The Reformation (The Story of Civilization #6)

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  556 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
The Story of Civilization, Volume VI: A history of European civilization from Wyclif to Calvin: 1300-1564. This is the sixth volume of the classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning series.
Hardcover, 1025 pages
Published July 28th 1997 by MJF Books (first published January 1st 1957)
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Roy Lotz
May 30, 2016 Roy Lotz rated it really liked it
Holland boasted of several ladies who could be courted in Latin, who could probably conjugate better than they could decline.

So continues Durant’s tour through European history.

As Durant himself points out, calling this book The Reformation is not really accurate, for it is actually a history of all Europe (besides Italy) between 1300 and 1564, with a few other topics thrown in. This book effectively completes the picture painted in his earlier volume, The Renaissance, which covered the histor
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Bob Nichols
Dec 31, 2014 Bob Nichols rated it liked it
In a note to his readers, Durant writes that “The Reformation” (Part 6 of The Story of Civilization) “is not quite an honest title for this book.” “An accurate title would be,” he says, “A History of European Civilization Outside of Italy from 1300 to 1564, or Thereabouts, Including the History of Religion in Italy and an Incidental View of Islamic and Judaic Civilization in Europe, Africa, and Western Asia.” While the information on the reformation -- the N. European break from Catholicism ...more
Suby
Oct 29, 2011 Suby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Will Durant books on the series 'The Story of Civilization' are always voluminous. The volume I just completed is the 6th in the series. The book is in three parts. While the first two parts are well researched accounts of how the reformers took over Europe between 1300 to 1575 AD, the third part contains history of Islamic Civilization, story of the Turkish empire which aspired to conquer Europe in its entirety and managed to conquer upto Spain. They also had plans to turn the entire known ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Reformation, Will Durant
عنوان: اصلاح دینی؛ نویسنده: ویل دورانت؛
پنج کتاب است و یک پایان سخن: کتاب اوّل: از ویکلیف تا لوتر؛ مترجم: فریدون بدرهای؛ کتاب دوّم: انقلاب دینی؛ مترجم: سهیل آذری؛ کتاب سوّم: بیگانگان بر دروازه؛ مترجم: پرویز مرزبان؛ کتاب چهارم: پشت صحنه؛ مترجم: پرویز مرزبان؛ کتاب پنجم: اصلاحات کاتولیکی؛ مترجم: پرویز مرزبان؛ پایانِ سخن: رنسانس، اصلاح دینی و عصر روشنگری
...more
Barry Belmont
Dec 10, 2014 Barry Belmont rated it it was amazing
The book starts slow, becomes tumultuous, and as it ends leaves you wanting more. Durant is the voice of history for me. His prose rises and falls with the times. I lament that he is not here to write of our own.
Bill
Jan 17, 2014 Bill rated it it was amazing
I read this book many years ago. It was my first in-depth exposure to Martin Luther, John Calvin and others. John Wyclif, John Huss and others anticipated Luther and Calvin and paved the way for their thinking and actions. This book gives the reader a very comprehensive look into the Reformation and why it came about. Durant, along with his wife Ariel, spent their lives creating a massive and comprehensive look at world history. Their detailed research beggars the imagination. I read the book ...more
Petrea
Dec 08, 2014 Petrea rated it really liked it
Companion volume to the earlier book on the Renaissance--but that one concentrated on Italy while this one covers a lot more of Europe. I wonder how many people have actually read all these books? They are not designed for reading in bed--too big and heavy. I enjoy Durant's witty comments and perspective. I used to get a bit frustrated by his humanistic philosophy--but taking a long view of the various religious groups and philosophies makes me understand his cynicism a bit better--if one didn't ...more
Dad
Jul 30, 2012 Dad rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Another great book from the Durant's! One of the few books to successfully separate the Mennonites from their wayward Anabaptist brethren the Munsterites, and state the Mennonite world view without lumping them in with the Quakers. He is largely humanistic in his outlook (not judgin', just sayin'), which probably gave him the distance needed to make these two important distinctions that many sectarian historians do err in.
Buddy Don
Feb 24, 2014 Buddy Don rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Reading Durant's "The Story of Civilization" has been/is becoming one of the greatest experiences of my life. It is a joy I recommend to everyone.
Earle Gray
Mar 21, 2013 Earle Gray rated it really liked it
When fanatic Christians massacred while Islam was tolerant

Eric Hoffer’s classic “The True Believer,” which I reviewed March 11, gave me some insight into the fanaticism driving the religious violence and terrorism that is tearing apart so much of the world.

“The Reformation: A History of European Civilization from Wyclif to Calvin: 1300 – 1564,” volume six of Will Durrant’s massive and monumental 10-volume “The Story of Civilization,” reminds me that, until very recent times, the violence, atroci
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Stephen Bauer
Dec 12, 2015 Stephen Bauer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Wow! And Whew! I finally finished this massive tome of 940 pages, the first volume of Will Durant's series that I have read. I had always intended to learn more about the Reformation. I didn't want to read about it from a purely theological or church perspective. And I got way more than I sought. Despite the title, as the author says, a more accurate title would be, "A History of European Civilization Outside of Italy from 1300 to 1564, or Thereabouts, Including the History of Religion in Italy ...more
C. Rufinus
Jun 10, 2016 C. Rufinus rated it it was amazing
For such a big book, it wasn't that hard of a read.

Oh, what a madman that Luther fellow was!

I cannot say that I have ever read anything as vile and calumnious as the words - practically all thereof - written by Luther. He had very few endearing qualities, and far, far, far too many that make him appear to be just about the most ridiculous human being to have ever walked this planet. The thought that he was so highly acclaimed by the Germans casts a lot of doubt on Hitler's notion of the German b
...more
Lori (Lara Britt) Sailiata
It's easy to get self satisfied after reading such a large and ponderous volume. One almost feels that a trophy or at the very least a badge should be given upon completion. Brownie points and gold stars aside. I'm overwhelmed with the same civic pride I get on Election Day after pushing my ballot into the slot for the counting.

While the entire series contains a comprehensive overview of a liberal education, the essence of cultural literacy, this particular volume contains struggles the world s
...more
Ken
Jul 21, 2016 Ken added it
I'm not sure Will Durant is properly considered a historian; he does not original research but uses the resources historians provide. He considered himself a philosopher who worked mostly on the material of history, citing Napoleon who said that history is the only true philosophy. But however Durant is categorized, as a writer and teacher he is in the First Rank. Some writers excel in the details. They know every tree in the forest by name, as well as its birth and progress, the peculiar shape ...more
Bill V
Sep 07, 2016 Bill V rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I did enjoy the book, it was a tough read. It seemingly covers aspect of life during that time, from art to religion to science. It even devoted sections to subcategories so for example within the arts, it discusses music, sculpture, painting.
The author is very opinionated and occasionally I found myself confusing the writings or sayings of a period personage with the author's own thoughts on the matter. Either the author was very worldly or he had help in developing and writing this book
...more
David Glad
Apr 06, 2013 David Glad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: civilization, history
Again, like his previous books in The Story of Civilization, this was quite excellent and definitely moves to greater relevance with each passing work as it gets closer to our present time. (Suppose I have harbored an admiration for quite some time on how Durant could dedicate himself over the course of 40+ years to writing those books in the series even if it was incomplete, as he had intended to go up until 1900 but old age began to get to him and unfortunately his wife passed at almost the ...more
Roy
wow ,WOW wow another 4 lb book read . This book is to heavy and there is to much material in it to call it a enjoyable read . I knew about Martin Luther from school but not to this extent or about John Calvin. I knew about Henry VIII and his decision to break away from the catholic church but I always thought it was about his wives and didn;t know about all the dissent that had gone on for hundred of years before starting with John Wycliffe and others . It is almost to much material to take in ...more
Al
May 25, 2013 Al rated it really liked it
Part VI of Dr. Durant's colossal "Story of Civilization." This volume covers the period 1300 - 1564. Like many others, I've had this renowned series of books on my shelf and never quite got to reading them. Finally, with time running out, I simply reached up and grabbed this one. What a feast for the history buff! Dr. Durant's scope and research is beyond belief, yet he writes clearly and even with humor. All the familiar names and places are there, but hundreds of the unfamiliar as well--with ...more
Billy Sheppard
Dec 03, 2015 Billy Sheppard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Will Durant cannot be overestimated. I find things daily that have come to mean something to me because of this volume. Durant's philosophy of history is exactly right in my world. I must say that after several hours listening to Durant, the "News" I hear on TV is worse than drivel. All the details are important, but Durant shows perfectly how reformation established a new normal with much of the same tendencies and corrupting influences as its predecessor. I love Durant least when he is talking ...more
David
May 13, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The more of Durant's books I read -- three now, rather a lot really -- the more holes I realize there are in my Understanding of Things. I'm also starting to see the point in reading about Great Men: You learn a lot about how to get other people to do what you want, and also a number of ways you might like to avoid screwing up royally.

I also learned, reading this book, that John Calvin was a real pill. I mean, I basically knew that. But still.
James Violand
Jun 29, 2014 James Violand rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: own
This review applies to all Durant's History of Civilization. The author does not follow a strictly chronological approach, but emphasizes those events/personages that have developed our Western civilization. He tends to emphasize certain personalities - some of whom I take exception to - but he stresses those things which make Western man unique. The arts have a prominent place in developing our culture and Durant convinces the reader how important they are.
Dovofthegalilee
Sep 06, 2012 Dovofthegalilee rated it really liked it
A tough slog! Authoritative? Perhaps, but the further I get into this series it seems that a few figures become key to that particular volume and they are over focused upon and keep making reappearances in other parts of the history. This can be a benefit to tie things together which I freely admit. As this volume clearly states it's thrust is "Western Civilization" it would be nice if there were comparative volumes to cover Asia and possibly Africa.
Paige
Aug 24, 2008 Paige rated it it was amazing
Will Durant is excited about history, he goes into details, has amazing stories (and footnotes!) and relays those stories with the craft of a very talented oral storyteller.
And yet his books read easily, and can be enjoyed from the middle or the end; each chapter is a sort of story of its own. This particular volume has a great section on the Tudors and is a great reference for anyone who wants more information on Henry the VIII and the Boleyns.
Erik Graff
Jul 15, 2013 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Westerners
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
Owing to a spotty education in the public schools and in college, the period from the early Roman empire until the Enlightenment was a pretty grey area for me until seminary. There, thanks to required church history classes and inspired subsequent reading, I 'got into' the European middle ages through the Reformation, which, arguably, heralded the true birth of the modern.

As ever, Durant's survey is an excellent introduction to the period.
Barbara Crofts
Mar 14, 2013 Barbara Crofts is currently reading it


I picked this up to clear my mind of the historical "fictions" I inadvertently absorbed watching "The Tudors" miniseries. Erasmus is my new hero! He could waltz into our century without missing a beat, he was resilient and tolerant & an intellectual giant.
Bruce Fred Knotts
Jul 31, 2015 Bruce Fred Knotts rated it it was amazing
As a Unitarian Universalist, I was intrigued to read so much about the Unitarians and how they were persecuted, especially in Geneva by John Calvin. A really great book and a MUST read for anyone who wants to understand the current state of Western church issues and conflicts.
Andrea
Jun 17, 2009 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Durant's writing is clear and interesting. This is the first in the twelve book series that I have read, but I intend to work my way through more. I gained a greater insight into the political and economic underpinnings of the Reformation, a subject I thought I knew quite a bit about.
Ann Canann
Mar 31, 2011 Ann Canann rated it liked it
Shelves: history
All the information I wanted, but dry reading cover to cover. It's like reading the encyclopedia. It did get me to sleep on the rare nights I didn't have a good book. It is well written but way dense.
Tom
Feb 03, 2016 Tom rated it liked it
At times this book was great, more
often simply good. For anyone interested in this period of history, the time invested is rewarded.
Ruth
May 22, 2010 Ruth rated it liked it
European Civilization from Wyclif to Clvin: 1300-1564. 1025 pages. Donated to the library 2010 March.
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William James Durant was a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for the 11-volume The Story of Civilization, written in collaboration with his wife Ariel and published between 1935 and 1975. He was earlier noted for his book, The Story of Philosophy, written in 1926, which was considered "a groundbreaking work that helped to popularize philosophy."

They were awarde
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Other Books in the Series

The Story of Civilization (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Our Oriental Heritage (The Story of Civilization, #1)
  • The Life of Greece (The Story of Civilization, #2)
  • Caesar and Christ (Story of Civilization, #3)
  • The Age of Faith (Story of Civilization, Vol 4)
  • The Renaissance (The Story of Civilization, #5)
  • The Age of Reason Begins (The Story of Civilization, #7)
  • The Age of Louis XIV (The Story of Civilization, #8)
  • The Age of Voltaire (The Story of Civilization, #9)
  • Rousseau and Revolution (The Story of Civilization, #10)
  • The Age of Napoleon (The Story of Civilization, #11)

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