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Christendom Destroyed: Europe 1517-1648
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Christendom Destroyed: Europe 1517-1648 (Penguin History of Europe #5)

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  109 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
This latest addition to the landmark Penguin History of Europe series is a fascinating study of 16th and 17th century Europe and the fundamental changes which led to the collapse of Christendom and established the geographical and political frameworks of Western Europe as we know it. From peasants to princes, no one was untouched by the spiritual and intellectual upheaval ...more
Hardcover, 752 pages
Published November 28th 2014 by Viking (first published July 3rd 2014)
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Justin Evans
Jan 11, 2015 Justin Evans rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-etc
Pity the historian who tries to write for people who are not professional historians, for all her options are bad:

i) write in order to sell books to people who want their own prejudices confirmed. See: presidential biographies; new atheist pamphlets; moralistic narratives of war.

ii) write *kind of* for non-professional-historians, but in such a way that you will satisfy other professional historians. They also want their prejudices confirmed, but have some *mighty precise* prejudices. See: book
Lewis Weinstein
Aug 08, 2014 Lewis Weinstein marked it as to-read
FROM THE ECONOMIST (Aug 2, 2014) ... Mr Greengrass pays exhaustive attention to every detail in the post-Luther battles over religious doctrine, which he rightly sees as the underlying cause of most of its wars, culminating in both the Thirty Years War and the English civil war.

This supports my contention that religions have caused most of the hatred, war and death that humankind has ever known.

Feb 15, 2015 Bijou rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I have to say immediately that this will be brief and from a layman's perspective, because my knowledge of history is limited to my sporadic consumption of dense history books such as this one. That being said, it is wonderfully written, concise and descriptive; it maintains an academic tone while simultaneously being engaging. There are sections of text which provide a bit too much information and could be shortened somehow, since the majority of readers are themselves not historians and do not ...more
T. Robert
An amazing historical period of epic proportions, about which I previously knew little. This book fills in that gap; however, I still don't understand it well. It is too vast a stage with a cast of thousands, where I have trouble seeing the forest because of the many trees. Trying to read it casually was difficult because of the unbelievable complexity of the times - hundreds of territories, duchies, commonwealths and other political entities, aside from the French and Spanish kingdoms, all of ...more
Nov 30, 2015 Sud666 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Excellent history. Well written and engaging. I wanted to find a good history read about this period and this book is superb. It is full of information and tidbits but very well written and shows all the aspects of the struggle from 1517-1648. Anyone interested in this period of transition from "Christendom" to "Europe" will want to read this book. Even casual history fans would enjoy the way the book is written.
David Bird
Oct 29, 2015 David Bird rated it liked it
This volume organizes a very broad and complex topic, the history of a continent through 130 years, around a relatively simple concept: that at the beginning of the period, there was Christendom, and at the end, Europe. Unfortunately, I don't think the author does an adequate job of demonstrating the validity of the concept of Christendom, or more specifically, documenting that it was a meaningful term throughout the area in question, and perceived across that geographic diversity in consistent ...more
Sep 11, 2016 Toby rated it really liked it
This is a massive book, not simply in size but in scope and ambition. Ostensibly a book covering the religious cataclysm that engulfed Europe between Luther's 95 theses and the peace of Westphalia, the first 250 pages barely touch religion at all as Greengrass takes us on a whirlwind tour of the intellectual and cultural changes that Europe underwent in this period as post-Renaissance Christendom morphed into Enlightenment Europe. His thesis is that the cultural construct of Christendom gave way ...more
Ballyroan Reads
This is a substantial history of Europe from the sixteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth, i.e. from the start of the Lutheran revolt against the Roman Catholic church until the end of the thirty-years’ war.

It covers the major changes in society and the economy as a result of many factors such as the exploitation of the newly conquered territories in South and North America, the greater availability of printed materials, reformation of religious practices and developments in Science an
Feb 12, 2015 Al rated it liked it
I picked up this book because I'm somewhat weak on this period of European history. The book is very long, but fortunately it can be read in parts. The first 250 pages are an engaging and useful study of the period itself--an examination of commerce, national interests, population, etc., all done with excellent perspective. The next 300 pages focus, appropriately, on the cataclysmic religious upheaval and conflicts of the time. The final 150 pages or so turn back from a religious focus to ...more
Jeffrey Cavanaugh
Jun 20, 2015 Jeffrey Cavanaugh rated it liked it
A broad history of Europe during the Reformation and the Wars of Religion that covers culture & society, economics, and, obviously, religion & politics. It seems strange to us now, but people once fought over things like infant baptism or the nature of the Eucharist. Much else went into these conflicts beyond that, of course, but wars between princes were made much, much worse by 'belief'and its radicalization. A good book if you find the era interesting, as I do.

Jun 09, 2016 Zach rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A solid general history of the time period. With the notable exception of literature, it does a pretty good job with non-political/international history in the first half, and then moves on to a more traditional political historical narrative in the second half. Some areas (the Empire, France, Spain) get a lot more attention than others (Poland, Italy, the Balkans) but that's to be expected. A good read that should lead you wanting more information on the topics that interest you most.
Jose Vidal
Magnífico manual sobre principios de la edad moderna que hace un trabajo magnífico introduciendo diversos temas en el espacio disponible. Aunque no es una obra en profundidad resulta muy interesante su trabajo sobre las mentalidades de la época, lejos de los simplistas esquemas partidistas que aún afectan a buena parte de la historiografía.

Tom Mackie
Jan 27, 2016 Tom Mackie rated it really liked it
Very fascinating read. I felt the author could do a better job of introducing some of the organized groups that participated in many roles. I don't mind that he had jump back and forth within the period to cover different items, the book is well organized based on topics that were used to make the points about the Reformation.
Nov 13, 2014 Glen rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A great history book that explores many of the aspects of the Europe of the waning Middle Ages.

It goes into great detail about the impact of the discovery and colonization of the New World, The Protestant reformation, and other aspects.

A very good history, in the macro fashion.
Victoria Gaile
Mar 29, 2015 Victoria Gaile marked it as default
Shelves: history
Required text for EI course "Remembering the Reformation at 500", in conjunction with the Pro Ecclesia conference this June, “Remembering the Reformation Together: Commemorate? Celebrate? Apologize? Repent?”
Simon Vickery
Its dense. A history of the period, which requires knowing a fair amount of the history. Positively crammed with information, unfortunately to the point that it's quite overwhelming
Sep 11, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I got this book as a first reads giveaway. It was a great, thorough history of European history during the Middle Ages.
Brett Sovereign
Brett Sovereign rated it really liked it
Jun 26, 2015
Matt rated it really liked it
Jan 10, 2016
Mr Jon Patience
Mr Jon Patience rated it it was amazing
Aug 21, 2016
Mikael rated it did not like it
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Jennifer rated it really liked it
Jun 22, 2015
Chris Bradley
Chris Bradley rated it really liked it
Dec 16, 2014
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Mar 11, 2015
Oriol Milà
Oriol Milà rated it really liked it
Apr 13, 2016
Joe O'Donnell
Joe O'Donnell rated it really liked it
Aug 10, 2015
Gwendoline rated it it was ok
Sep 04, 2016
Sean Mcmillin
Sean Mcmillin rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2014
Joe rated it really liked it
Nov 10, 2016
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“Europe’s enduring localism, which had been the weak link in Christendom, became in turn the Achilles heel of the dynastic state.” 0 likes
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