Absolute Monarchs by John Julius Norwich

63%

7 Critic Reviews

You'll also need a nimble mind while reading this volume, as you may be confused by the curious habit of naming hundreds of popes through 2,000 years from a handful of names...
-LA Times

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
In a chronicle that captures nearly two thousand years of inspiration and intrigue, John Julius Norwich recounts in riveting detail the histories of the most significant popes and what they meant politically, culturally, and socially to Rome and to the world. Norwich presents such popes as Innocent I, who in the fifth century successfully negotiated with Alaric the Goth, an invader civil authorities could not defeat; Leo I, who two decades later tamed (and perhaps paid off) Attila the Hun; the infamous “pornocracy”—the five libertines who were descendants or lovers of Marozia, debauched daughter of one of Rome’s most powerful families; Pope Paul III, “the greatest pontiff of the sixteenth century,” who reinterpreted the Church’s teaching and discipline; John XXIII, who in five short years starting in 1958 instituted reforms that led to Vatican II; and Benedict XVI, who is coping with today’s global priest sex scandal. Epic and compelling, Absolute Monarchs is an enthralling history from “an enchanting and satisfying raconteur” (The Washington Post).
 

About John Julius Norwich

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John Julius Norwich is one of Britain's preeminent historians and travel writers. He has written the histories of Norman Sicily, Byzantium, Venice, and the Mediterranean. Other books have been on Shakespeare's history plays, on music, and on architecture.
 
Published July 12, 2011 by Random House. 528 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jul 31 2011
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Critic reviews for Absolute Monarchs
All: 7 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Good

Norwich doesn’t skirt controversies, ancient and present, in this broad, clear-eyed assessment.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by BILL KELLER on Jul 07 2011

He keeps things moving at nearly beach-read pace by being selective about where he lingers and by adopting the tone of an enthusiastic tour guide, expert but less than reverent.

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LA Times

Below average
on Jul 24 2011

You'll also need a nimble mind while reading this volume, as you may be confused by the curious habit of naming hundreds of popes through 2,000 years from a handful of names...

Read Full Review of Absolute Monarchs | See more reviews from LA Times

Christian Science Monitor

Below average
on Aug 18 2011

...so densely crowded with historical events and historical figures – most of whom will be unknown to readers – that it poses a challenge.

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Dallas News

Good
on Aug 19 2011

...Norwich is a graceful and engaging writer, with a fine gift for compression, and an equally fine eye for the memorable detail.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Good
on Jul 27 2011

...Norwich entertainingly pictures an institution that shaped the direction of western Europe no less decisively than any political or cultural force, persevering through change and adapting to the environments it has faced.

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No Charge Bookbunch

Above average
Reviewed by Rosemary Wolfe on Apr 06 2012

Norwich’s book reads like a text – not quite the “beach-read”...but Norwich does insert some humor with his own irreverent commentary, and shows no mercy with some of the “idiotic” politics.

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Tracy Farkas 5 Sep 2013

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