Western civilization has given us modern science, the wealth of free-market economics, the security of law, a sense of human rights and freedom, charity as a virtue, splendid art and music, philosophy grounded in reason, and innumerable other gifts we take for granted. But what is the ultimate source of these gifts? Best-selling author and professor Thomas E. Woods, Jr., provides the answer: the Catholic Church.
No institution has done more to shape Western civilization than the two-thousand-year-old Catholic Church and in ways that many of us have forgotten or never known. Woods' book is essential reading for recovering this lost truth.
©2005 Thomas E. Woods, Jr.; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
"I recommend Professor Woods's book not only to anyone interested in the history of the Catholic Church, but also to any student of the history and development of Western civilization." (Dr. Paul Legutko, Stanford University)
I am a devout Catholic, but even I used to grimace a little when I would hear complaints about how the Church stifled science, condemned Galileo, held down uneducated people hundreds of years ago, etc. These are topics that are widely accepted as fact in this day and age, and rarely refuted in public, even by Catholic apologists.
In this book, however, all these topics and many, many more are discussed in great depth, and we learn about all the monumental contributions the Church made to virtually every pillar of western civilization. Science; astronomy; international law; economics; charity; etc. The list of Catholic inventions and research is truly amazing. "Who would have thought that modern economic theory began with a Franciscan friar in the 13th century?"
From an apologetics standpoint, I'd consider this book less as a Protestant vs. Catholic work. There is very little discussion of this since most of the discussions do not involve theology. Instead, I'd consider it an excellent primer for an atheist or agnostic who is of the opinion that the Catholic church has largely been a force for corruption and regression in the world.
I was completely amazed at the depth and breath of how much of Western Civilization owes the Catholic Church and thanks to this tremendously interesting, detailed, and substantiated book, I learned about it. From the introduction of spacing in words, lower case, the father of Aviation, Seismology, Geology, being critically involved in the written introduction of the scientific method, modern economic theory, and so on.
Non Fiction Reader
Got this because of all the negative arguments I've heard about Catholicism...even by Catholics. Many I heard were misstatements following popular secular, media thinking, e.g the Pope's Regensburg lecture. I couldn't figure out how the Church survived all these generations if it was/is guilty of all this (supposed) villany. The book is an advocate for the faith but I think it does it very well. In some cases it argues to forcefully and takes too much credit. Islam, China, other religions are given scant credit for scientific, literary, artistic achievements or influences. Even if half of what Woods says is true (I suspect it's much, much more) it is a much needed revelation and tonic of the good the Church has done. It doesn't proselytize and it adroitly lays out very convincing arguments and historical facts. Highly recommended for those with an open mind.
Even if you are not catholic, you must read this book. It gives a very different view of history, at least one that is not very known today. It is written for a broad audience, but with the great care of citing the right sources so that the inquirer and skeptical reader can refer.
This a definitely interesting book, providing a good counterpoint to some of the common misconceptions that are constantly perpetuated by media and academia alike. I did not always find it intellectually tight but the facts and the arguments are still valid. At the very least it points out many of the ideas that set the foundations of our civilization.
This was an excellent drive-time book. I did not particularly care that it was not rigorously impartial. I learned some things I did not know and found myself wanting to read many of his cited sources such as Hans Kung.
This book has been written by a professor of economics who works for a liberal think tank. He must be catholic, why else would he write such a book? It is a good book with interesting facts about the jesuits and other catholic/christian icons. I wonder though, if people with not at least a friendly relationship to catholicism will like it.
This book has excellent content, although I thought the narrator gave a rather dry reading of the material. I understand that the book is informative rather than entertaining but the seemingly monotone voice took me out of it at times. Otherwise, the book does a great job of dispelling many misconceptions about the Catholic Church and its place in history.
I like Star Wars, Foundation series, Redwall Series, Bloody Jack series, and westerns for fiction. In nonfiction, I like books about Catholic theology, American history and government, and economics.
I would highly recommend this audiobook. It gives plenty of examples of how the Catholic Church really changed the world. I am fairly well-read on Church history, but this book went deeper than my previous studies have and I learned quite a bit. In particular, the section on how the Church in Spain built the foundations for international law in response to the exploration of the Americas was fascinating. Popular culture today can't get beyond the Inquisition, which it blows out of proportion. This book shows how the Church actually built the ideas that eventually led to the idea of inalienable rights. It also shows how the Church developed economic ideas that led to modern Western economic freedom. This is a scholarly work that educates and debunks many myths.
The author obviously decided that enough criticism and negativity was already printed on the Catholic Church as to not waste time doing more of the same, what came out is a very well researched book aimed at proving a point, unfortunately it’s so biased and unbalanced that it’s completely ineffective. It focuses exclusively on the exceptions then aggrandizes the credit of the Church and ignores the “gorilla in the room’’ the church-monarchy-empire system of which the church was always both an accomplice and a parasite. At the end it won’t change anyone’s mind; if you’re a devout Catholic, you’ll love it; if you’re a history professor, you’ll probably hate it.
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