The 13th Century

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2018-12-30
  • Publisher: Westholme Pub Llc
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Encountering the Last Viking New World Settlements, the Magna Carta, the Great Zimbabwean Cities, the Conquests of the Mongols, and Other Marvels Through Books Richard D. Bressler believes in libraries. After reading The First Century: Emperor, God, and Everymanby William K. Klingaman and The Birth of the Modern: World Society 18151830by Paul Johnson, Bressler was inspired by these books to write about a time period that holds his fascination: the 1200s. Famously called the "greatest of centuries" by James J. Walsh, Bressler decided to travel back 800 years in the books he found in his local library and through interlibrary loan. He simply wanted to learn what was happening around the world at that time and in doing so, share his exploration with fellow readers. The result is The 13th Century: A Reader's Travels Through Ten Tumultuous Decades of World History, a fascinating and surprising global adventure with books, journals, and articles as our Virgil. The story begins in southern Illinois where we encounter the North American "Stonehenge," a wooden astronomical observatory built by Native Americans around 1200, as described in an archaeological report. We continue north and east, to watch the Vikings abandon their last New World settlements. Moving across the Atlantic with our books, the Fourth Crusade begins and ends in disaster, the Cordoban caliphate in Iberia begins to fall to Christian forces, John I is forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, and St. Francis of Assisi founds his order. In Africa, the Kanem state centered around Lake Chad becomes a powerful African trade center, while by mid-century in the Americas, Toltec society in Mexico has splintered. In the Indian subcontinent, Muslim invaders clash with Hindu armies. Among other topics Bressler discusses are the rise of universities, construction of underground churches in Ethiopia, the establishment of the Chimor Kingdom in Peru, and the rise of the Hanseatic League. But one long event is of overwhelming importance during this century and dominates all others: the Mongol conquests. With the rise of Genghis Khan in 1206, his central Asian armies swept all before them, killing and subjugating millions. By the end of the century Mongol rule was in place from Moscow to Korea, from Turkey to the Pacific coast of China-the largest contiguous land empire of all time. Written in an engaging style, with all of the sources read by the author appearing where as they are discussed or cited, The 13th Centuryis a rewarding diversion into a world full of wonders, terrors, and ultimately the spirit of human achievement that informs our own times.

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