Monday, September 22, 2008

Praise for Frank Welsh's THE BATTLE OF CHRISTENDOM: The Council of Constance, the East-West Conflict, and the Dawn of Modern Europe

Historian Frank Welsh's new book offers a remarkable retelling of European history at the dawn of the fifteenth century in The Battle of Christendom, now available in bookstores everywhere. Early reviews have been very strong:
“A well-intended overview of one of Europe's most turbulent eras, defined by religious schism and the advent of an Islamic enemy. Historian Welsh faces an immediate challenge in attempting to distill a century and a half of late-medieval events into his short study. Welsh does does a good job of showing how the religious and political rivalries of old anticipated later crises in world history. – Kirkus Reviews

“At the beginning of the 15th century, Christendom was in full decline, attacked from the outside by Islam and disrupted from within by schism regarding the office of the Pope. Until the Council of Constance (1414–1418), three popes—Gregory XII in Rome, Benedict XIII in Avignon and John XXIII in Germany—ruled Christendom, provoking schism. In 1387, Sigismund, already the king of Czechoslovakia, became the Holy Roman Emperor through his political savvy and military acumen, and with the help of John XXIII convoked the Council of Constance. The council not only ended the schism but also returned the papacy to Rome for good—electing Martin V as pope—and condemned the heresies of reformers John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake for his positions on the Eucharist. The book offers a useful portrait of Sigismund, a little-known but important figure in church history.”- Publishers Weekly

The Battle for Christendom claims to be the first popular account of the Council of Constance. This is a subject which may be new to many interested in the medieval period. However, the author sets the scene well and explains the events which led up to the calling of the Council. The scope of this study is wide ranging, and Welsh shows great skill in describing epic events which affected a whole continent, whilst also including small and vital details. This is an interesting and lively account of a key event, which had a big part in shaping modern-day Europe.” – Suite 101

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