A World Lit Only By Blue Light

Of the span of centuries between the fall of the pagan Roman Empire and the dawn of secular humanism with the Renaissance—the Middle Ages, in other words—establishment historians like William Manchester have possessed a dim view. This is probably due, in part, to an ancient, enduring societal affliction, one intrinsic within the modern left despite its claims: elitism.

Advertisement

To the point, Manchester’s A World Lit Only by Fire, a history of that time, has been sparking a firestorm of criticism from scholars and devotees of the Middle Ages since it was first published in 1992. For example, a reviewer atGoodreads, “Gordon,” writes:

William Manchester characterizes the Middle Ages as one of ‘obsession with strange myths and almost impenetrable mindlessness.’ In fact, this is a perfect description of the flaws of his book, which is among the worst works of history I have ever read. Full disclosure: I put it down in disgust after page 102 and did not pick it up again.

Harsh, perhaps, but not unduly unfair.   

In his own assessment, the “Medieval History Geek” puts his finger on the source of the problem with Manchester’s work, namely that the author appears to consider the peasants deplorable: “… where the massive, appalling errors of fact arose is from Manchester taking any tale told by the nobility of those dirty, monstrous peasants, and recounting it here for truth, without any analysis of text or the motivation of those authoring these tales.”

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Videos

Sponsored

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement