J. Jason Gale
This book is lyrical, almost poetic. It is so pleasurable that this reader is stunned that it is deeply profound as well.
I have a better understanding of ancient and medieval history and philosophy from Swerve than I got in from classes at the University. Stephen made the characters alive and interactive in their political/social environs.
Thanks to this book, I no longer think modernity evolved into our scientific perception of reality. Instead, it's clear to me that we rediscovered it. And quite accidentally.
it gave me a new perspective on history and how important it is to learn from it.
I've always wanted to know more about how ancient writings come down to us. There's a lot of detail about manuscripts and how long they last, and how little actually dates back to ancient times. I found it very interesting. The story of Poggio Bracciolini, the renaissance book hunter is also interesting. The author writes in wonderful prose. The reader compliments it nicely. If you like ancient/Roman/European history, this book is an entertaining overview.
Yes. Interesting book about how we got to where we are. Also really fascinating look back at both the classical and medieval periods.
Guns germs and steel.
The way in which the author describes the atmosphere of the time periods and the characters involved in the story is most enjoyable.
the story of a curiosity that engulfed those prior to the renaissance. How even under the pressure of a masochistic abomination that ruled the era tried to uncover truths buried in history.
I was saddened by the stories of those that suffered under the intimidation of the Catholic church. And angered by the arrogance of those that refute reason, even today. How time after time the great religions of man have interfered with our development as humans.
A must read! It makes you realize the fragility of human elightenment and makes you think about how we must carefully guard it and nurture it..
This book has given me a greater respect for the humanities than ever before.
A terrific story and reader. I could have done without Greenblatt's story about his mother at the beginning, but otherwise it is a terrific book.
A great reader
I came away from this book with the same question I always ask. Why hasn't mankind cast off the belief in a creator "god"? The answer I am coming to is that there is no financial profit to be made in atheism. The jet setting popes, rabbis, mullahs, and evangelical preacher all attest to the financial success of any religion. Getting a group of atheists together is meaningless. What would we discuss? Talking about the absence of belief is a very short conversation.
The first hour is about the author's mother, who expected to die at any moment, yet lived into her 90s. It wasn't interesting. We gave up after an hour.
I learned about a very useful philosophy (Epicurianism) while enjoying the suspense of the hunt by the 15th century papal secretary for a 4th century BCE manucript.
The story of the discovery and eventual deciphering of the carbonized scrolls at the villa in Herculaneum that was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius. This book profiles the marvelous skill that goes into preserving knowledge, both as it was done in ancient times and as it is done today.
The story of the assassination of Hypatia is also riveting.
I felt a gentle elation to hear the wisdom of Epicurus as expressed by Lucretius, and realize that to embrace this conception of the nature of things frees my mind and gives me an achievable goal for my life. It is a great shame that the church establishment from ancient times till the 20th century discredited it, slandered it, developed the doctrine that pain leads to righteousness in order to oppose its truths, and buried it.
That Lucretius' poem was finally resurrected from a monastery library was so unlikely that it is the perfect example of Epicurus' concept of the swerve: the highly improbable chance conjunction of events that leads to a constructive result.
Lucretius' poem was a very rare thing: a very beautiful work of art describing scientific reality as it was known at the time. Greenblatt's book is also a work of art, this time describing the history of the poem and the philosophy it propounds as authentically as possible given what we can know from the evidence today.