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The author stays focused on the topic of the book, and I like his interpretations of Michelangelo's reasoning behind the painting's design, they seem logical and plausible. The author explains his conclusions in a linear and simple to follow fashion.I also liked when the author addressed info on some of the techniques used to paint the ceiling and also how the condition of the later paintings over the span of four years let's us compare Michelangelo's progress (painting freestyle and with increased speed) as a painter.
In 1477, Pope Julius II gave a commission to Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. The book, Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, by Ross King, is the story of the four years that it took Michelangelo to complete the task. The story is fascinating, and if you are interested in well told history, art, the Catholic Church, biography, or amazing story telling, this book should interest you. King also wrote Brunelleschi's Dome and Leonardo and the Latest Supper, and while I found all three books to be excellent, I consider the Michelangelo book to be the best of the trio. According to King, Michelangelo often taxed the Pope’s patience, and the exasperated Pope wanted to fire Michelangelo and hire Raphael to complete the chapel painting. Michelangelo had insisted that no one should see the work until it was completed, and until that time, no one other than the Pope and Michelangelo had seen the painting. The Pope took Raphael to the Chapel, and after Raphael had seen the work, he told the Pope that no one but Michelangelo should complete the painting because he was doing things in painting that no one else had ever done. I gave this book five stars.
At the age of 23, I stepped into the Sistine Chapel, looked up and thought, "So this is it?" As I stared at the ceiling the figures seemed to come alive and I was mesmerized. 50 years later I still remember that moment. My only complaint about this book is that I would have liked for the pictures to be next to the text rather than the pictures all at one time. I recommend having a copy of the painting as you read the descriptions and interpretations. It is a amazing study of a one-of-a-kind work of genius.
Mr. King has done it again, writing a story, complete with contemporary accounts, of one of the world's greatest artistic masterworks. The ceiling of the Sistine chapel. I've been there several times to study the work, becoming quickly overcome with the magnitude, the fullness, the richness of the images. Now I am aware of the choice of figures, the pragmatic use of the scaffolding, and a time line of the four year process.....including political faldirah, family spats, and financial worries. Eminently readable, the pages fly by.
this was a bonus for my mother (a self admitted "Mike" fan [she hauled us off to Italy but we only visited cities where he had works exhibited....]) and she raves about it. Apparently she created notes on the first run thru and now plans to read it again just for fun
I'm still reading it and I love it. I'm enthralled. Art history is one of my favorite subjecs and especially so when presented as a pecially enjoyable is the detailed description of techniques involved in art production of the times. I paint in oils, and I am fairly certain that fresco is not in my future
I purchased this book on a whim. I was trying to locate a book with historical info on the Sistine Chapel and what I received was a book that expanded my mind. The selection of the fresh Pope peeked my interest in the Sistine r me, this was all fresh history and I took art history classes in college. The art of fresco, Pope Julius II, the Papal States, the amazing artist Michelangelo. To learn so much about his life, his skills, colleagues and relationships with his family was amazing. The for me was the historical info on Leonardo (I am now reading Ross' book on him) and Raffaello.I am grateful for the description on the art of fresco and also the background re: Michelangelo's sculptures. I did not skim through the book and it took me a few weeks to digest it, but trust me you will grow and learn with this book.
I found this work historical, biographical, and hermeneutic. The author brings the Sistine Chapel, including the Latest Judgment, to life in interesting ways. He utilizes metaphor, mythology, and interpretation to integrate his ideas and others' interpretations of the frescoes. His historical sources are varied, but he utilizes the writings of two of Michelangelo's contemporaries primarily for biographical purposes. The work is straightforward and enlightening, and is very well written and sourced.
It's well researched book and a delightful read. The info are fascinating, and yes, Michelangelo's back and neck took a beating, but contrary to famous myth, he wasn't lying on his back. I had no idea how debilitating fresco painting could be for any artist. It also seemed that Michelangelo was copying poses of figures from his previous creations so he could finish the ceiling and obtain back to his sculpture. The personalities of Michelangelo and Pope Julius II were fascinating, beautiful much like two mountain goats smacking into each other, and during this macho brawl, the artist's dysfunctional family never missed an opportunity to cause as much problem as possible, all during the creation of one of the western world's greatest works of art.
Far exceeded expectations. The breadth of historical background and contemporary info highlighted the importance of art and artists during the Renaissance period as reflected in religious and secular creativity. Impeccable research brings to life an engrossing real story that far surpasses a easy chronicle of events. The impact Michelangelo, Raphael, Da Vinci, etc. had on each other's work is explored as well as their competitive natures. Michelangelo seems to come to life ... genius, foibles, and all. Very detailed explanations of his techniques and inspirations are added bonuses.
A amazing book about an epic story. A larger than life pope takes on a larger than life artist and one wins simply by living longer. I always have fun the unbelievable research King does on his subjects. Almost more than you wish to know, but created so interesting that, in facct, you do wish to know. I just want the paintings had been inserted along with the text about them. They are well-known, but not necessarily the method they are described in the actual painting of them. I've read this book before, but it bears re-reading because of the amazing detail and the amazing story behind the paintings.
A well documented story of Michelangelo and his time that becomes a novel while you explore the renaissance of Lorenzo il Magnifico, the gloomy globe of Savonarola and the intrigues and weaknesses of the Popes. Very well written and interesting, it tells you of lost masterpieces and of how popular artists of the time, such as Botticelli, Leonardo and Raphael, interacted in a blessed period for art. The portrait of Michelangelo as a hard-working, withdrawn and lonely individual with an wonderful talent is powerful. Unputdownable.
I originally purchased this book out of curiosity. I wanted to learn about and study a genius' life. A lover of art and design, I was naturally drawn to Michelangelo. After a substantial research on the best biographies based on his life and work, I was more than convinced that this book was it. And it didn't disappoint me at all!I had never been to Italy when I started reading. A few months later, my sister and I planned a weekend in Europe, and partly because of this book, I convinced my sister we had to spend a weekend in Rome. Shortly after, I spent a week in Florence, and it was the very first time I felt like an informed tourist, knowing what I was marveling e Agony and the Ecstasy is a novel-like biography of Michelangelo intertwined with historical accounts and facts about his life. It is written in such a method you won't wish to place the book down. I felt like I lived inside Michelangelo's head; like I really got to know his person, simultaneously studying art and design history. It's set during the Italian Renaissance, and Michelangelo was a central figure of that glorious period. The book is filled with information. So far, it is the most substantial book I've read, and it's the first time I've taken my time reviewing a e book is by no means an simple read; It took me weeks to finish. In fact, when I first bought it, I had to set it aside before I created it halfway, and I had to re-read it from the start. As I read the latest pages, my heart ached as Michelangelo was getting weaker and weaker. It was quite an experience feeling like I lived side by side such a genius. All the masterpieces he forged during his life—just wow!This book has sparked a deeper interest in me for art and design, and now for a newfound love: ank you, Irving Stone, for this masterpiece of a book. ''♥︎
I did have fun the book overall. It was a bit long and towards the end I found myself rushing through it a bit but it was obviously well-researched and the author did a beautiful amazing job. The only thing that threw me straight out the story was the author’s desire for Michelangelo to have a female lover. From everything else I’ve read on Michelangelo, which is quite a lot, women were simply not terribly necessary to him with the exception of his amazing mate Vittoria Colonna later in life. However, she was a mate and not some amazing lost love. He referred to her with masculine terms (as his amico and not the feminine amica) and they clearly bonded over faith. Frankly, anyone who looks at Michelangelo’s nude female sculptures can deduce he never saw a naked woman in his life, allow alone had some passionate relationship with someone named Clarissa. They are basically male bodies with female parts tacked on. I know there’s not a whole lot of romance in the book when you consider the 750 page length but it’s definitely in enough of it to be annoying. I even laughed out loud at a few of the more overwrought, Harlequin-esque passages. Tommaso de Cavalieri is commonly believed to be Michelangelo’s amazing unconsummated love, not Vittoria Colonna. The book just automatically loses a ton of credibility there and that is the main reason I place it at 3 stars.
I bought this a year ago, and finally started reading latest night with the intention to place me to sleep. BAD IDEA!!! It is a page turner, arresting, fascinating. Could not place it down!!! I am a fan of art, especially painting and culture. I have been to to Italy a lot of times, in Florence, Rome, Siena and Venice, where I have seen Michelangelo's work first hand. I have a copy of Adam's creation from the Sistine Chapel and one of my favorite framed pictures is the David (which in person in Florence is by itself worth the trip and the lines to obtain in!!!) Mr. Stone is awesome in his prose, you can almost SEE the locations he is describing. I was there with him as he was talking about Michelangelo's beginnings at the Studio. I am partial to nonfiction (90% of my books are non fiction), but this fiction book is so well researched and written, it is quickly becoming one of my favorites (along with Angels and Demons, another one set in Italy). I just LOVE IT!!!!
I first read this book when it originally came out. And when my book club decided to read it, I didn't object because I remembered that I liked it. Well, I think I enjoyed it more the second time. I was fascinated by the historical background and learned a lot about that time period....and about the making of sculpture. The characters were fleshed out enough to be interesting and added info to what I had learned in history classes--although as in all historical fiction, it would be nice to know what is true and what is the author's imagination. The book is well written and an simple and interesting read. If you are planning a trip to Italy, I would definitely place it on my pre-trip reading list.
When I first received the recommendation to read it, I thought that it would be a boring description of times long gone with a silver lining in the art y was I wrong !It is an wonderful journey through time with twists and plots that revolve around art, religion, politics as well as romance, friendship and is a story about the struggle to follow your passion to whatever end. It is the kind of book that left me with a sense of "OK.. now what? What could I read to be on par with Mr. Stone's creation?"Let's say that from now on, I will never look at sculpture or art as a whole with the same eyes.Even though I knew that it was a biography work, I still read it like a fiction book and this helped putting me in every situation described.
I loved this book so much and couldn't believe I could obtain so "into it". It is brilliantly written and brings all the hero to life with such awareness of their feelings and determination. Michaelangelo had to be given his bonus by God. No one could have such obsessive, unequalled talent otherwise.What I loved the most, was his relentless determination to sculpt I could not have imagined how difficult and what talent it took to create creations like "David", the "Pieta, "Moses", "Christ on the Cross", and the unimaginable "Sistine Chapel" lying on his back for 4 years!!!! I felt as though I knew him personally by the time I finished this masterpiece.
I just came back from 6 weeks in Florence where I lived across the road from where Michaelangelo grew up. This book was such fun to read, all tI had walked all over Florence and it was fun to see how the familiar locations were hundreds of years ago - I learned a lot of history - seems to have been extremely well - researched. Stone quoted poetry by Michaelangelo when relevant. It was an awesome look at a facscinating, but difficult life. I had no idea he really never had enough as his father was always dunning him to support out with some scheme or other that never seemed to succeed,and did not appreciate his art at all except for the it paid. There is a lot about how he prepared for his sculpture. Read the book first, then see the film which is not as accurate but also good.
Here is a timeless masterpiece , written so beautifully about the amazing genius of Michaelangelo. Having read a lot of years ago, I am traveling to Rome and wanted to freshen my memory. HOWEVER the size of this paperback is so very little , reading in this format is difficult and uncomfortable. I do not recommend this particular publication. Really disappointed.
Purchased this book for a term paper for art history. It is loaded with drawings, images in both black and white and full color of a unbelievable amount, if not all, of Michelangelo's work. There are a lot of color images which fold out to provide full and luxurious detail of a lot of of the works. If you like to read about the art and then refer to a color enlargement of the detail, this book is for you. I highly recommend this book.
Scientists come in at least as a lot of flavors as fruit. Some are inspired philosophers, others are get-your-hands-dirty mechanical craftsmen, yet others are like birds which can survey multiple parts of the scientific landscape from a very high altitude. But whatever other classification you may use, there are two distinctions which scientists have always exemplified. They can be either theoreticians or experimentalists, and especially these days, they are all specialists. In an age where it can take a lifetime to understand the complexities of even a narrow part of your science, excelling at every subfield of a scientific discipline, allow alone both theory and experiment, would seem like an impossible feat.Enter Enrico Fermi, the likes of whom we are unlikely to see for a very long time. Bucking almost every neat scientific distinction, Fermi was the only scientist of the twentieth century who was supremely accomplished in both theoretical and experimental physics. Almost any of his discoveries would have been enough to net a Nobel Prize, and yet he created at least a dozen of them. In addition he was one of the three or four physicists of the century who were universalists, making contributions to and displaying a sound grasp of beautiful much every branch of physics, from the microscopic to the cosmic. You could ask him any problem, and as long as he could calculate it he could give you an answer: no wonder that his colleagues called him the "Pope of Physics". It also helped that he lived through a century in which physics created momentous contributions to the human intellect and condition, and he was both fortunate and supremely qualified to be a major part of these contributions. As just one aspect of his extraordinary imprint on physics, no scientist has as a lot of measurements, rules, laws, particles, statistics, units, and energy levels named after him as Fermi. He was also one of America's greatest is is a fine biography of Fermi written by a practicing physicist and a historian of science, both of whom had connections to Fermi through family. The authors document Fermi's upbringing in politically troubled Italy. Fermi was a kid prodigy who combined amazing intellect with hard self-reliance and perseverance, qualities which were inculcated by his hardworking parents. A life-changing tragedy at age fifteen - the sudden death of his brother with whom he was best mates - turned him toward physics and mathematics. His performance as a seventeen year old in the entrance examination for a well-known university in Pisa displayed knowledge that would have been substantial for a graduate student. From then on his scientific development proceeded smoothly, and before he was 30 he was both Italy's greatest physicist as well as one of the world's greatest e book lays out a lot of of Fermi's major discoveries. Two in particular bracket his unsurpassed talents as both a theoretician and an experimentalist. In 1933 Fermi came up with a mathematical theory of radioactive decay and the weak nuclear force. And in 1942 he and his squad assembled the world's first nuclear reactor. It is almost impossible to imagine any other scientist accomplishing these two very various and very necessary feats; the famed historian C. P. Snow Fermi the ultimate tribute in this regard when he said that, had Fermi been born twenty years before, he could have discovered both Niels Bohr's quantum theory of the atom (theory) and Ernest Rutherford's atomic nucleus (experiment). In the 1930s Fermi and his squad became the globe expert on neutrons; life in the physics institute on Via Panisperna in Rome was bucolic in spite of being intense. He almost single-handedly discovered the power of slow neutrons which are used to harness nuclear energy in reactors. He and other leading physicists also narrowly missed discovering nuclear fission, mistaking fission products for elements beyond uranium. Rome under his scientific tutelage became a magnet for scientists like Hans Bethe and Edward Teller who learnt the art of problem-solving in physics from the master. Fermi's marriage to a very smart and resourceful woman, Laura, cemented his family life. But the pall of fascism was dropping on Italy through the person of Benito Mussolini. Laura was Jewish, and by 1938 Fermi realized that he had to emigrate to another country. Fortunately the receipt of the 1938 Nobel Prize gave him the excellent opportunity to flee to the United States. Along with other brilliant scientists like Bethe, Albert Einstein, Leo Szilard and John von Neumann, Fermi became one of fascism's greatest bonuses to this the United States Fermi was already known as the leading nuclear physicist of his generation. When nuclear fission was discovered in Germany at the end of 1938, there were legitimate fears that the Nazis would harness it to build an atomic bomb. Efforts to investigate fission in the US kicked into high gear, especially after Pearl Harbor. It was not surprising that the scientific community turned toward Fermi to assemble the world's first nuclear reactor. The book's acc of this tremendous feat involving black graphite bricks and faces, the squash stand at the university and the sometimes amusing consequences of secrecy is worth reading. First at Columbia and then memorably at Chicago, Fermi and his squad achieved the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction on December 6, 1942: a coded telegram went out to the leaders of the Manhattan Project saying that the "Italian navigator had landed in the Fresh World". Even if he had accomplished nothing else this would have been sufficient to enshrine Fermi's name in history. But he kept on making major contributions, first at Chicago and then at Los Alamos. At Los Alamos Fermi's universal expertise was so valued that Oppenheimer made an entire division named after him (the F division). He became a kind of all-round troubleshooter who could solve any issue in theoretical or applied physics, or in engineering for that matter. He had an uncanny feel for numbers, and became known for posing and solving 'Fermi problems' which benefited from quick, back of the envelope, order-of-magnitude estimates. The iconic realization of the Fermi way was during the world's first atomic try in Fresh Mexico on July 16, 1945, when, as the shockwave reached him, Fermi threw pieces of paper into the air and calculated the yield of the try based on the distance at which they fell. This calculation compared favorably with more sophisticated measurements that took several days to ter the battle Fermi became a professor at Chicago where he again served as a magnet for the fresh generation of physicists exploring the frontiers of particle physics and cosmology. He was an incredibly clear and succinct teacher, and gave his students a real feel for the entire landscape of physics. Teaching was not just limited to classrooms but spilled over into the lunch cafeteria and on hikes. Physicists like Freeman Dyson and Richard Feynman created pilgrimages to see him from around the country, and six of his students received Nobel Prizes. Even after winning enough accolades for a lifetime, he worked harder and more diligently than anyone else. His colleagues joked that he was the man with an inside track to God, so all-encompassing were his scientific and computing abilities. His notes on thermodynamics, quantum mechanics and nuclear physics are still available and they attest to his clarity. At Chicago he not only created necessary contributions to experimental particle physics but he also created the first forays into computing. The so-called Monte-Carlo way which allows one to discover features of a system by making random jumps bears his imprint.While not a very sentimental man, Fermi's friendliness, integrity, modesty and impartial, non-emotional attitude endeared him to almost everyone he came in contact with. He was friendly and had an impish sense of humor, but while not cold was also not a warm person who engaged intimately with those around him; this quality led to a family life which while not unhappy was also not particularly joyous, and his relative lack of affection was reflected in the brisk relationship that Fermi had with his daughter and son. He despised politics but still served on necessary government committees because of his feelings of duty toward his adopted country. Remarkably, his neutrality through some very politically fraught times was not detested, and he was one of the very few scientists who was admired by people who were each other's sworn enemies. While he opposed the hydrogen bomb on moral terms and testified on behalf of Oppenheimer during the latter's infamous hearing, he also served as a consultant to Los Alamos once he realized that the Russians might also obtain the bomb; characteristically enough, he correctly predicted how long it would take them to build their first thermonuclear weapon. People looked to him for impartial guidance in almost every matter which could benefit from rational and melody baffled Fermi, but his rational analysis of these things only endeared him more to his mates and colleagues. At an art exhibit on the immigrant experience for instance, he calculated the ratio of the lengths of legs and heights of the immigrants in the images and concluded that his own dimensions fit the statistical distribution. At Los Alamos he quickly memorized the rules of square dancing and danced with unerring accuracy but almost zero passion. His modesty and tendency to shun the limelight was also a amazing draw. He could as easily chat with janitors as with other Nobel Laureates. No task was beneath him, and his amazing ability to perform routine work without complaints or fatigue was instrumental in his success: whatever it took to solve a problem, Fermi would do it. When flabbergasted scientists asked him how he did it, Fermi would often answer with a smile, "C.i.f, con intuito formidable" ("with formidable intuition"). Often his distinguishing quality was pure stamina; whether it was a tennis match or a physics problem, he would beat the issue (and his opponents) into submission by sheer perseverance and doggedness. His manner of playing sports mirrored his manner of doing science: shun the style and elegance, and go straight and relentlessly for the solution using every technique at your disposal. The way of approximate guesses which came to be named after him has been used to estimate a wide dozens of disparate numbers, from the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in the galaxy to the number of piano tuners in Chicago (his favorite example).This giant of science was struck down by cancer in 1954 when he was still in his prime. The book talks about visits created by different popular scientists and mates to the hospital where he was installed after exploratory surgery indicated no hope. They could not believe that the indefatigable Enrico would soon be no more. All came away shaken, not because they saw an emotionally fraught man in pain but because they saw a perfectly calm and rational man who had reconciled himself with reality. He knew exactly what was event to him and was making plans for publishing his latest set of notes. Characteristically, he was measuring the rate of saline intake and calculating how a lot of calories he was getting from it. When he came home and his wife rented a hospital bed for him, he predicted that he would only need it until the end of the month. Real to his awesome calculating prowess, he passed away two days before the predicted date, on November 28, is book in general lays out a warm and engrossing picture of Enrico Fermi. As I see it, it is up versus two challenges. Firstly, it's relatively sparse on the science and does not always provide adequate background. In this context it is a light read and comes across somewhat unfavorably compared to Richard Rhodes' seminal book "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" which goes into amazing depth regarding Fermi's work, especially on the Chicago nuclear reactor. Rhodes' volume is also better on giving us a detailed picture of Fermi's contemporaries. Secondly, it cannot resist comparison with two old Fermi biographies. His wife Laura's endearing biography of him named "Atoms in the Family", published only a few months before his death, provides as intimate a picture of the personally reticent Fermi as we can expect. This book's view understandably is not as intimate. The same goes for "Enrico Fermi: Physicist", a biography of Fermi written by his friend, fellow Nobel laureate and uncle of one of the show book's authors, Emilio Segre. Segre was a top-notch physicist who worked with Fermi from the beginning and who does much recreating the early days of Fermi's experiments in Rome. That description provides another private touch which is again not as vivid in this twithstanding these comparisons, I am glad that Segre and Hoerlin wrote this book to introduce one of history's greatest and most special scientists to a fresh generation. No scientist has contributed more practically and in a more versatile manner to modern physics. And few scientists have combined extraordinary and universal scientific talents with the kind of private humility and decency that Fermi exemplified. For all this his life story needs to be known anew.
It's inevitable to compare this to another latest biography of Enrico Fermi, by David N. Schwartz. I have to say that THE POPE OF PHYSICS is superior in almost every respect. The book by Schwartz is much longer, but it is basically an undigested info-dump, with an extremely muddled description of Fermi's achievements in physics. On the other hand, THE POPE OF PHYSICS is co-authored by a physicist, and his descriptions of Fermi's wonderful masterstrokes in both experimental and theoretical physics are clear, accurate and comprehensible even to the general reader. What is more, the writing of THE POPE OF PHYSICS is graceful and vivid--- there is a lot of very successful stage painting, which brings to life the different locations and environments in which Fermi worked. The style of the book by Schwartz is always graceless and bland.Fermi is a man that the field of physics had never seen before and will almost certainly never see again. He was almost entirely self-taught, and seemed to have at his fingertips all of classical physics, not to mention all of the "modern" physics of the first half of the 20th Century. He was probably the only man alive at the time who could have constructed a working nuclear reactor entirely in his mind, only to have it work in reality as soon as it was assembled. He was also probably the only man alive at the time who could have constructed, from scratch, a field theory of one of the four fundamental forces of nature, the weak force... and his theory is still extensively used today, nearly 90 years later, as the low-energy limit of the more general Electroweak e book also does a very amazing job of depicting the somewhat remote relationship between Fermi and his wife and family, as well as the confused state of affairs after fission weapons, and then fission-triggered fusion weapons were developed. Fermi had definite opinions about what the nation's policies should be regarding nuclear weapons and weapons development, and it is interesting to see how his opinions changed as the situation changed. This is a focus of the book by Schwartz as well, but extremely muddled there... here it is laid out in a method that is simple to follow, with appropriate of my favorite tidbits from this book: Fermi met Einstein when both were visitors in the same University physics department. Einstein was so taken with Fermi that he spent as much time as he could in Fermi's company discussing physics. Fermi wrote to a mate that they were together so much that "it is too poor Einstein is not a attractive girl!"If you really wish to know all the available info about Fermi, you should read this book, the one by Schwartz, and the several earlier biographies, including one by his wife Laura. But if you are going to read only one, latest book about Fermi, this is the right one to pick.
When I was an undergraduate at The University of Chicago in 1948 my fellow students and I often saw a small, dark haired fellow fly by on his bicycle. "That's professor Fermi" we were told. Though we all knew that he was the scientist who had been set off a chain reaction on the squash court underneath Stagg Field, our dormant football stadium, we were just learning what that term meant and Fermi was a somewhat mysterious figure. In time, of course, Enrico Fermi's name and the accomplishments of the a lot of scientists who founded the nuclear age became common knowledge. A lot of books have been written about them but by focussing on the life of Fermi, Gino Segre and Bettina Hoerlin have given us a new perspective on what led up to that day under Stagg Field and ultimately to Los Alamos and Hiroshima. Their book is a lively page turner that reads like a detective story as Fermi and his fellow scientists in America race to build the weapon that ended Globe Battle II before their counterparts in Germany could beat them to it. Even though we know the ending of the story this retelling keeps up the suspence. It is also the story of a most remarkable rn in 1901 in Italy Enrico Fermi was a withdrawn child, "dark and frail looking". The death of a brother when Fermi was a teenager caused him to withdraw into himself and books. He had several older mentors who recognized that he was a gifted mathematician and encouraged him. Soon science, and eventually physics, became his major interest. Fermi was a high school drop-out. But he impatiently pursued his passion for science at scientific institutions and study with older distinguished scientists, earning his doctorate in physics at 22 and at the age of 24 he became a professor at the University of e physics department was located at 89a Via Panisperna and he and the three young physicists who were his students called themselves The Boys of the Via Pernisperna and embarked on investigating what was then a fresh field, subatomic physics. They built the equipment they required for their exploration with hardware shop and although the science was rigorous the atmosphere was lively. Each was given a nickname. Fermi was The Pope because he seemed infallible in his solutions to problems. His scientific instincts and intelligence fueled the rest of his om this beginning Fermi's accomplishments were increasingly necessary to the fresh science and in 1939 he was awarded the Nobel Prize. By that time he was married to a Jewish woman, Laura Capon. It eventually became increasingly clear that Mussolini's Italy was not a safe put for his family. Like a lot of of his fellow European physicists he emigrated to the United States, first to Fresh York and then to Chicago and eventually to Los Alamos where he was a consultant to the developers of the atomic bomb.When Enrico Fermi died Edward R. Murrow, the popular newscaster, said "The story of the lighting of the first atomic furnace will be told as long as stories can be listened to, for it was certainly one of the most dramatic moments in the unfolding of human knowledge." THE POPE OF PHYSICS, in telling that story, enlarges our knowledge of how the globe was changed by the discoveries of Fermi and his fellow scientists. The science that readers need to understand is provided in a manner that is clear and accessible. This book should be of unique interest to readers who have always lived in the post Hiroshima age because is not only a compelling biography of a complex, fascinating human being, it is the story of that period in our latest history that led to the globe in which we gre and Hoerlin are uniquely qualified to tell this story. Emilio Segre, Gino's uncle was one of the Panisperna students. and the author's access to his papers and his family lends unique weight to this book. Gino Segre is a professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania and has written several books about the scientists who were Fermi's contemporaries. Bettina Hoerlin's father was a physicist at Los Alamos and her parents fled Hitler's Germany because her mother, like Laura Fermi, was Jewish. She has written a book about their experience.
It brings me back to my days at the University of Chicago. At the university ALL professors are needed to teach beginners courses. Fermi was teaching first year physics the year before I became a freshman. I did have Anderon, one of his associates, when I took physics. Harold C Urey taught my wife first year chemistry. They were GREAT teachers. The stories in the book discuss most of Fermi's associates, and although I thought I knew about the building of the pile in the west stands, the book corrected a lot of of my misconceptions.
My husband bought me this book (because I read everything I can search on Michelangelo and, long ago I once briefly studied under Dr. Wallace at Wash U), and I read it in 2 days; rarely do I read a book that provides such new insight into Michelangelo, but this book created me reenvision the artist yet again. It broke Michelangelo begin for me in a fresh way. I was particularly taken by the empathy with which this book explores the journey of aging as an artist... the strains an aging body puts on the physical process of creation (especially for a marble sculptor, frescoist, and architect) and the mental struggle of knowing that you may never again achieve what you did in your youth or that you may never live to see your current projects completed... Even though it's definitely a serious piece of art historical research, it's also a deeply touching book. I can't recommend it highly enough for anyone interested in Michelangelo, the creative process, or aging... Just beautiful. Okay, I must go now and read it again.
By the begin of the 20th century, the field of physics had bifurcated into theoretical and experimental specialties. While theorists and experimenters were acquainted with the same fundamentals and collaborated, with theorists suggesting phenomena to be explored in experiments and experimenters providing hard data upon which theorists could build their models, rarely did one individual do breakthrough work in both theory and experiment. One outstanding exception was Enrico Fermi, whose numerous achievements seemed to jump effortlessly between theory and age thirteen, the young Fermi created the acquaintance of Adolfo Amidei, an engineer who worked with his father. Amidei began to loan the lad mathematics and science books, which Fermi devoured—often working out solutions to issues which Amidei was unable to solve. Within a year, studying entirely on his own, he had mastered geometry and calculus. In 1915, Fermi bought a used book, Elementorum Physicæ Mathematica, at a flea shop in Rome. Published in 1830 and written entirely in Latin, it was a 900 page compendium covering mathematical physics of that era. By that time, he was completely fluent in the language and the mathematics used in the abundant equations, and worked his method through the entire text. As the authors note, “Not only was Fermi the only twentieth-century physics genius to be entirely self-taught, he surely must be the only one whose first acquaintance with the topic was through a book in Latin.”At sixteen, Fermi skipped the final year of high school, concluding it had nothing more to teach him, and with Amidei's encouragement, sat for a competitive examination for a put at the elite Sculoa Normale Superiore, which provided a complete scholarship including room and board to the winners. He ranked first in all of the examinations and left home to study in Pisa. Despite his talent for and knowledge of mathematics, he chose physics as his major—he had always been fascinated by mechanisms and experiments, and looked forward to working with them in his career. Italy, at the time a leader in mathematics, was a backwater in physics. The university in Pisa had only one physics professor who, besides having already retired from research, had knowledge in the field not much greater than Fermi's own. Once again, this time within the walls of a university, Fermi would teach himself, taking advantage of the university's well-equipped library. He taught himself German and English in addition to Italian and French (in which he was already fluent) in to read scientific publications. The library subscribed to the German journal Zeitschrift für Physik, one of the most prestigious sources for contemporary research, and Fermi was probably the only person to read it there. In 1922, after completing a thesis on X-rays and having already published three scientific papers, two on X-rays and one on general relativity (introducing what are now called Fermi coordinates, the first of a lot of subjects in physics which would bear his name), he received his doctorate in physics, magna laude. Just twenty-one, he had his academic credential, published work to his name, and the attention of prominent researchers aware of his talent. What he lacked was the prospect of a job in his chosen turning to Rome, Fermi came to the attention of Orso Mario Corbino, a physics professor and politician who had become a Senator of the Kingdom and appointed minister of public education. Corbino's ambition was to see Italy enter the top rank of physics research, and saw in Fermi the kind of talent required to achieve this goal. He arranged a scholarship so Fermi could study physics in one the centres of research in northern Europe. Fermi chose Göttingen, Germany, a hotbed of work in the emerging field of quantum mechanics. Fermi was neither particularly satisfied nor notably productive during his eight months there, but was impressed with the German style of research and the intellectual ferment of the huge community of German physicists. Henceforth, he published almost all of his research in either German or English, with a parallel paper submitted to an Italian journal. A second fellowship allowed him to spend 1924 in the Netherlands, working with Paul Ehrenfest's group at Leiden, deepening his knowledge of statistical and quantum ly, upon returning to Italy, Corbino and his colleague Antonio Garbasso found Fermi a post as a lecturer in physics in Florence. The position poorly and had small prestige, but at least it was a step onto the academic ladder, and Fermi was satisfied to accept it. There, Fermi and his colleague Franco Rasetti did experimental work measuring the spectra of atoms under the influence of radio frequency fields. Their work was published in prestigious journals such as Nature and Zeitschrift für 1925, Fermi took up the issue of reconciling the field of statistical mechanics with the discovery by Wolfgang Pauli of the exclusion principle, a purely quantum mechanical phenomenon which restricts certain kinds of identical particles from occupying the same state at the same time. Fermi's paper, published in 1926, resolved the problem, creating what is now called Fermi-Dirac statistics (British physicist Paul Dirac independently discovered the phenomenon, but Fermi published first) for the particles now called fermions, which contain all of the fundamental particles that create up is paper immediately elevated the twenty-five year old Fermi to the top tier of theoretical physicists. It provided the foundation for understanding of the behaviour of electrons in solids, and thus the semiconductor technology upon which all our modern computing and communications equipment is based. Finally, Fermi won what he had aspired to: a physics professorship in Rome, Fermi became head of the mathematical physics department at the Sapienza University of Rome, which his mentor, Corbino, saw as Italy's best hope to become a globe leader in the field. He helped Fermi recruit promising physicists, all young and ambitious. They gave each other nicknames: ecclesiastical in nature, befitting their zone in Rome. Fermi was dubbed Il Papa (The Pope), not only due to his leadership and seniority, but because he had already developed a reputation for infallibility: when he created a calculation or expressed his opinion on a technical topic, he was rarely if ever wrong. Meanwhile, Mussolini was increasing his grip on the country. In 1929, he announced the appointment of the first thirty members of the Royal Italian Academy, with Fermi among the laureates. In return for a lifetime stipend which would place an end to his financial worries, he would have to join the Fascist party. He joined. He did not take the Academy seriously and thought its comic opera uniforms absurd, but appreciated the the 1930s, one of the major mysteries in physics was beta decay. When a radioactive nucleus decayed, it could emit one or more kinds of radiation: alpha, beta, or gamma. Alpha particles had been identified as the nuclei of helium, beta particles as electrons, and gamma rays as photons: like light, but with a much shorter wavelength and correspondingly higher energy. When a given nucleus decayed by alpha or gamma, the emission always had the same energy: you could calculate the energy carried off by the particle emitted and compare it to the nucleus before and after, and everything added up according to Einstein's equation of E=mc². But something appeared to be seriously wrong with beta (electron) decay. Given a huge collection of identical nuclei, the electrons emitted flew out with energies all over the map: from very low to an upper limit. This appeared to violate one of the most fundamental principles of physics: the conservation of energy. If the nucleus after plus the electron (including its kinetic energy) didn't add up to the energy of the nucleus before, where did the energy go? Few physicists were ready to abandon conservation of energy, but, after all, theory must ultimately conform to experiment, and if a multitude of precision measurements said that energy wasn't conserved in beta decay, maybe it really wasn't.Fermi thought otherwise. In 1933, he proposed a theory of beta decay in which the emission of a beta particle (electron) from a nucleus was accompanied by emission of a particle he called a neutrino, which had been proposed earlier by Pauli. In one leap, Fermi introduced a third force, alongside gravity and electromagnetism, which could transform one particle into another, plus a fresh particle: without mass or charge, and hence extraordinarily difficult to detect, which nonetheless was responsible for carrying away the missing energy in beta decay. But Fermi did not just propose this mechanism in words: he presented a detailed mathematical theory of beta decay which created predictions for experiments which had yet to be performed. He submitted the theory in a paper to Nature in 1934. The editors rejected it, saying “it contained abstract speculations too remote from physical reality to be of interest to the reader.” This was quickly recognised and is now acknowledged as one of the most epic face-plants of peer review in theoretical physics. Fermi's theory rapidly became accepted as the correct model for beta decay. In 1956, the neutrino (actually, antineutrino) was detected with precisely the properties predicted by Fermi. This theory remained the standard explanation for beta decay until it was extended in the 1970s by the theory of the electroweak interaction, which is valid at higher energies than were available to experimenters in Fermi's rhaps soured on theoretical work by the initial rejection of his paper on beta decay, Fermi turned to experimental exploration of the nucleus, using the newly-discovered particle, the neutron. Unlike alpha particles emitted by the decay of massive elements like uranium and radium, neutrons had no electrical charge and could penetrate the nucleus of an atom without being repelled. Fermi saw this as the ideal probe to examine the nucleus, and began to use neutron sources to bombard a dozens of elements to observe the results. One experiment directed neutrons at a target of silver and observed the creation of isotopes of silver when the neutrons were absorbed by the silver nuclei. But something very odd was happening: the results of the experiment seemed to differ when it was run on a laboratory bench with a marble top compared to one of wood. What was going on? A lot of people might have dismissed the anomaly, but Fermi had to know. He hypothesised that the probability a neutron would interact with a nucleus depended upon its speed (or, equivalently, energy): a slower neutron would effectively have more time to interact than one which whizzed through more rapidly. Neutrons which were reflected by the wood table top were “moderated” and had a greater probability of interacting with the silver target.Fermi quickly tested this supposition by using paraffin wax and water as neutron moderators and measuring the dramatically increased probability of interaction (or as we would say today, neutron capture cross section) when neutrons were slowed down. This is fundamental to the design of nuclear reactors today. It was for this work that Fermi won the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1938, conditions for Italy's Jewish population had seriously deteriorated. Fermi's wife Laura, despite her father's distinguished service as an admiral in the Italian navy, was now classified as a Jew, and therefore topic to travel restrictions, as were their two children. The Fermis went to their local Catholic parish, where they were (re-)married in a Catholic ceremony and their kids baptised. With that paperwork done, the Fermi family could apply for passports and permits to travel to Stockholm to keep the Nobel prize. The Fermis locked their apartment, took a taxi, and boarded the train. Unbeknownst to the fascist authorities, they had no intention of returning.Fermi had arranged an appointment at Columbia University in Fresh York. His Nobel Prize award was US$45,000 (US$789,000 today). If he returned to Italy with the sum, he would have been forced to convert it to lire and then only be able to take the equivalent of US$50 out of the country on subsequent trips. Professor Fermi may not have been much interested in politics, but he could do arithmetic. The family went from Stockholm to Southampton, and then on an ocean liner to Fresh York, with nothing other than their luggage, money, and, most importantly, his neutron experiments back in Rome, there had been curious results he and his colleagues never explained. When bombarding nuclei of uranium, the heaviest element then known, with neutrons moderated by paraffin wax, they had observed radioactive results which didn't create any sense. They expected to make fresh elements, heavier than uranium, but what they saw didn't agree with the expectations for such elements. Another mystery…in those heady days of nuclear physics, there was one wherever you looked. At just about the time Fermi's ship was arriving in Fresh York, news arrived from Germany about what his group had observed, but not understood, four years before. Slow neutrons, which Fermi's group had pioneered, were able to split, or fission the nucleus of uranium into two lighter elements, releasing not only a huge amount of energy, but extra neutrons which might be able to propagate the process into a “chain reaction”, producing either a huge amount of energy or, perhaps, an enormous one of the foremost researchers in neutron physics, it was immediately apparent to Fermi that his fresh life in America was about to take a direction he'd never anticipated. By 1941, he was conducting experiments at Columbia with the goal of evaluating the feasibility of creating a self-sustaining nuclear reaction with natural uranium, using graphite as a moderator. In 1942, he was leading a project at the University of Chicago to build the first nuclear reactor. On December 2nd, 1942, Chicago Pile-1 went critical, producing all of half a watt of power. But the experiment proved that a nuclear chain reaction could be initiated and controlled, and it paved the method for both civil nuclear power and plutonium production for nuclear weapons. At the time he achieved one of the first major milestones of the Manhattan Project, Fermi's classification as an “enemy alien” had been removed only two months before. He and Laura Fermi did not become naturalised U.S. citizens until July of ch was the breakneck pace of the Manhattan Project that even before the critical try of the Chicago pile, the DuPont company was already at work planning for the industrial scale production of plutonium at a facility which would eventually be built at the Hanford website near Richland, Washington. Fermi played a part in the design and commissioning of the X-10 Graphite Reactor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which served as a pathfinder and began operation in November, 1943, operating at a power level which was increased over time to 4 megawatts. This reactor produced the first substantial quantities of plutonium for experimental use, revealing the plutonium-240 contamination issue which necessitated the use of implosion for the plutonium bomb. Concurrently, he contributed to the design of the B Reactor at Hanford, which went critical in September 1944, running at 250 megawatts, that produced the plutonium for the Trinity try and the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki.During the battle years, Fermi divided his time among the Chicago research group, Oak Ridge, Hanford, and the bomb design and production group at Los Alamos. As General Leslie Groves, head of Manhattan Project, had forbidden the top atomic scientists from travelling by air, “Henry Farmer”, his wartime alias, spent much of his time riding the rails, accompanied by a bodyguard. As plutonium production ramped up, he increasingly spent his time with the weapon designers at Los Alamos, where Oppenheimer appointed him associate director and place him in charge of “Division F” (for Fermi), which acted as a consultant to all of the other divisions of the laboratory.Fermi believed that while scientists could create major contributions to the battle effort, how their work and the weapons they made were used were decisions which should be created by statesmen and military leaders. When appointed in May 1945 to the Interim Committee charged with determining how the fission bomb was to be employed, he largely confined his contributions to technical problems such as weapons effects. He joined Oppenheimer, Compton, and Lawrence in the final recommendation that “we can propose no technical demonstration likely to bring an end to the war; we see no acceptable alternative to direct military use.”On July 16, 1945, Fermi witnessed the Trinity try explosion in Fresh Mexico at a distance of ten miles from the shot tower. A few seconds after the blast, he began to tear small pieces of paper from from a sheet and drop them toward the ground. When the shock wave arrived, he paced out the distance it had blown them and rapidly computed the yield of the bomb as around ten kilotons of TNT. Nobody familiar with Fermi's reputation for making off-the-cuff estimates of physical phenomena was surprised that his calculation, done within a min of the explosion, agreed within the margin of error with the actual yield of 20 kilotons, determined much later.Everybody who encountered Fermi remarked upon his talents as an explainer and teacher. Seven of his students: six from Chicago and one from Rome, would go on to victory Nobel Prizes in physics, in both theory and experiment. He became popular for posing “Fermi problems”, often at lunch, exercising the ability to create and justify of magnitude estimates of difficult questions. When Freeman Dyson met with Fermi to show a theory he and his graduate students had developed to explain the scattering results Fermi had published, Fermi asked him how a lot of parameters Dyson had used in his model. Upon being told the number was four, he said, “I remember my old mate Johnny von Neumann used to say, with four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can create him wiggle his trunk.” Chastened, Dyson soon concluded his model was a blind ter returning from a trip to Europe in the fall of 1954, Fermi, who had enjoyed robust amazing health all his life, began to suffer from issues with digestion. Exploratory surgery found metastatic stomach cancer, for which no treatment was possible at the time. He died at home on November 28, 1954, two months past his fifty-third birthday. He had created a Fermi calculation of how long to rent the hospital bed in which he died: the rental expired two days after he is is a masterful biography of one of the singular figures in twentieth century science. The breadth of his interests and achievements is reflected in the list of things named after Enrico Fermi. Given the hyper-specialisation of modern science, it is improbable we will ever again see his like.
It's all here--science, politics, the turning of history, and the ushering in of the nuclear age, from the perspective of the life and career in one of the a lot of men that created it possible. Amazing read for anyone interested in the atomic bomb, Italian fascism, American politics, and science in general.
This is the most attractive book I own. The pictures are high definition and artistically photographed. It's also a very enjoyable read. I learned a lot about the life of Michelangelo. This is a huge book - like a coffee table book but I sat it down on my lap and read it cover to cover. I'd highly recommend it.
Attractive book, saw it for in the Vatican Museum giftshop and ordered it from Amazon the nanosecond I arrived back home (no room in suitcase to carry it back). Very lovely plates of all Michelangelo's works. I saw the Sistine Chapel and there is nothing like it but the book is a lovely addition to my art tome collection.
A new approach for interpretation of the amazing religious upheaval of the early 16th contrasting the papacy of Leo X and Martin Luthor's confrontation with living in accordance with Biblical scripture, Dr. Mee provides an extraordinary historical synthesis . Highly recommended
I first read this book several years ago when my library ordered a copy for me when I read about it on a book cover. It brings to light a very necessary time in history. Just recently I had read a short biography of Martin Luther, and I remembered about this much more detailed account. So I ordered it and it came very quickly. Amazing service!
I completed training to become a radiographer some time ago. The physics portion included a lot of of the molecular/atomic exchanges that occurred when x-ray photos are taken. The lessons provided depth and insight to the actions consequent to the mere touch of the exposure button on the x-ray tube; truly fascinating. "The Pope of Physics" transcended this amazement by bringing to life the discoverers of said reactions. The book enables a time travel to the formative years of numerous physics building blocks. Sengre breathes life into the marvel of it all. One feels show as the scientists discuss their theories and experiments. What a amazing read!
It's hard to believe that I bought to 5-star books on Michelangelo. I did. And not by mistake. I wanted to learn more about a fairly obscure sculpture that Michelangelo did and which I wrote a college paper in architecture school 50 years ago. I thought I learned everything when I wrote the paper, but the brief commentary about the sculpture in these books suggests I've either forgotten a lot or didn't research it as well as migrate suggested. The pix and the copy are great. I intend to read the whole book when I have the time.
I don’t think anyone including the authors would claim that The Pope of Physics is amazing literature. It isn’t, but it is well written, simple to read and extraordinarily interesting. Enrico Fermi was one of the amazing men of physics during the 20th century. His mates and coworker gave him the nickname of the Pope because when it came to physics, his pronouncements were infallible. Fermi ranks right up there with Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr and Marie Curie. Fermi was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1938. He immigrated to the United States from Italy later that same year. Because his wife was Jewish, their kids would also have been classified as [email protected]#$%!& was not safe for Fermi and his family to remain in Italy after the alliance with Germany became a fait accompli.When Fermi first came to America, he became a physics professor at Columbia. A few years later in 1942, Fermi led a squad of scientists that developed the first successful nuclear reactor. The reactor went critical on December 2, 1942. It was the first self-sustaining controlled nuclear reaction ever. Fermi’s contributions to the Manhattan Project were invaluable. He was one of the few physicists that excelled both theoretically and experimentally. He did not shrink from hard work or literally getting his hands dirty. Fermi led by example both at the chalkboard and in the a young man back in the 1960s, I served aboard the U.S, Navy’s FBM (Fleet Ballistic Missile) submarines. Each sub carried sixteen Polaris missiles. Each of the missiles was armed with a thermonuclear weapon, much more strong than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The subs were also armed with the recent and most effective torpedoes. Some were nuclear tipped. At the time, these submarines were the most deadly weapons systems on earth. With only a few mins notice, we could begin our missiles from the oceans depths, without fear of detection. That is an example of the destructive side of nuclear power. These weapon systems served the country well for a lot of years as a deterrent versus potential surprise attacks. Thankfully, we never had to begin our missiles or fire our torpedoes.But there is another side to nuclear power, a peaceful side. The subs were powered by nuclear reactors. Basically, the reactors are a source of heat. Without going into too much detail, the heat from the reactor (and there was a lot of it) is used to generate steam. The subs are actually propelled by steam turbines, which is why a nuclear sub can remain submerged almost indefinitely or at least until the meal runs out. There was no need to surface to take on fuel. We could create our own oxygen and drinking water while submerged, but not the U.S. today, about twenty percent of our electrical power comes from nuclear power. In France, that number is almost 75 percent. Nuclear power, when properly designed, sited and operated is safe, efficient and clean. There are no greenhouse gases. Enrico Fermi not only helped design “the bomb.” He is also one of the fathers nuclear energy for ter the war, Fermi accepted a teaching position at the University of Chicago. Six of his students went on to victory the Nobel Prize. Also, one of his Italian students went on to become a Nobel laureate. That is quite a record.R.I.P. Enrico Fermi.
This bio tells the life story of the Italian American physicist Enrico Fermi. Fermi and his young wife immigrated to the US from Mussolinis Italy in 1938, right after he had won the Nobel in physics. He quickly became one of the leaders in American physics. He designed and lead in the building of the first atomic pile/reactor at the U. of Chicago in 1942. This pile produced the first self sustaining nuclear chain reaction. Fermi also was a major player in the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bombs. This book did a very amazing job of painting a amazing picture of this awesome man and of his contributions to nuclear physics.
I bought this book to go along with the author's course from the Learning Company (Great Courses) and found it a unbelievable supplement to that course. Standing alone it is an perfect overview of the breadth of Michaelangelo's career as artist. The plates are marvelous and having seen much of his work in Italy it brought back a lot of fond memories and I learned more than I expected both from the course and the book. It is more than a one time through table top book. Anyone with interest in the topic I think would search this a valuable resource and bring a lot of hours of pleasurable reading and viewing. For those who have the course from the Learning Company you will search that the book follows the course so you can easily use both resources at once.
The full title of this book really captures what it is all about!While I have read one book by her mom and one by her husband, this is the second book that I have read by Elizabeth Lev. While this show book was also excellent, "How Catholic Art Saved the Faith" is probably one of my all time favorites. The show book consists far more of images than of text.If you Google "EWTN Theology of the Body," you will be taken to those weekly generally audiences of Saint Pope John Paul II comprising his "Theology of the Body." From there, you can links to his talks of 4/15/81, 4/22/81, 4/29/81, and 5/6/81, which unique attention to the human body in art:*"The Human Body, Topic of Works of Art" (4/15/81)*"Reflections on the Ethos of the Human Body in Works of Artistic Culture" (4/22/81)*"Art Must Not Violate the Right to Privacy" (4/29/81)*"Ethical Responsibilities in Art" (5/6/81)
A political telling of the conflict between German and Italian men concerned with theology and ways of living. The Catholic church was corrupt and Martin luther wanted a better explanation of individual faith and belief. Leo x was a libertine.
This is the fourth copy of this book that I have purchased. It has been a valuable tool for teaching Confirmation aged children about the reformation as it has the historical perspective of the Reformation of the church. It also addresses the social structure of the times. I hold passing this book on.
Having read both Kevin Vost's (laudatory) and Miss_Kitty89's reviews (critical), I would say the truth of the book lies with both. It is a broad overview of the papacy and church politics of the late medieval period, and as such is interesting to readers unacquainted with the period (as I was). Sweeney describes with fair clarity not only some changes in the process of papal election but also church and lay persons involved, as well as the interests that were served. I found my own view of the modern Catholic church and its leaders echoed in Sweeney's description of the period. The Church leaders' topic and avowed interest may be spiritual, but their methods and actions are as political as any government administration's. And for those unacquainted with Church history who felt shock at the abuse and laundering scandals of the past 30-40 years, Sweeney's book shows that such moral failings at high levels are nothing new. So for those reasons I enjoyed the ever, as Miss_Kitty89 has described well, a clear, intimate portrait of Peter Morrone, Pope Celestive V, suffers as a effect of the attention given to the larger historical context. At times the Pope seems to fade from view. This may be an artifact of the sources available. Sweeney created use of numerous secondary sources (various biographies of Morrone and histories of the period), but one wonders how detailed the basic documents were on Morrone.Overall, I'd say Sweeney struck a rough balance between the man and his epoch, and for a general reader wholly unfamiliar with the subject, I think the book delivers. As for Miss_Kitty89's complaint that the book does not deliver on the promise of a tale "as exciting and compelling as any novel or film," I would agree. This is no DaVinci Code, but then again, that back-cover line was from another reviewer of the book, a Jesuit writer, so the reader is advised to "consider the source."
Woodeene Koenig-Bricker has woven together a superb blend of describing where the Catholic Church stands on taking care of the environment and explaining how Pope Benedict XVI is bringing these positive plans to fruition. As I read the book I was entranced with how she is able to take each idea and re-word it and then expand on how it has been implemented. Thank you Woodeene - I not only understand better how the Roman Catholic Church functions (I am not a Catholic), I am also impressed with how it is determined to improve this planet we live on and hold it habitable for future generations.
This brilliant book reviews the pontificate of Pope Francis. Framing Francis' pontificate in terms of conversion and including Francis' own conversions is the interpretative lens for understanding Francis as a person and a leader, and it explains why his enemies (including reactionary prelates and loud Twitter adversaries) resist him.Wounded Shepherd is a thorough book. Ivereigh examines Francis' entire papacy and agenda -- everything from curial reform to episcopal selection to the church's relationship to the globe and the planet.I was fascinated how Wounded Shepherd portrays Francis as a spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition. He is not forcing the Catholic Church to create changes. As a spiritual director, Francis accompanies the Church as it encounters Christ who enables the Church to confess its wounds and to move forward with faith.Wounded Shepherd points out Francis' failings (wounds) throughout the course of his life and pontificate. Then the book demonstrates how Francis dealt with his shortcomings. Francis' private missteps and subsequent conversions provide a model for the entire Church and individual Christians to follow.Ivereigh is respectful to Francis' detractors, and he reflects Francis' own method of dealing with critics.I highly recommend Wounded Shepherd.
The reports in the Press about Pope Francis often emphasize political combats. This necessary book goes behind those combats and shows how Pope Francis is reforming the church and winning the wars by following His Lord.
I had this book and then gave it to a charity. I regretted it and bought another one. I created a mistake and ordered twice so I have two now. Nobody wants the additional one so I am stuck with two. I have to say, this book is chuck full of the most attractive art and its very explanatory and I strongly recommend it for your household.
This review is for the unabridged audio version, read ably by the author. I didn't know much about the first "pope who quit" and this book was a comprehensive review of the life of Peter Morrone. If you are interested in the early popes this is worth a listen. Although it was published before Benedict retired, the latest chapters do discuss some of the possible motives for his (at the time) potential e book also provides a solid acc of the life and politic surrounding the childhood and adulthood of Peter Morrone. I was able to visualize the context of his life, which is helpful in understanding the man.Worth reading (or listening to!) for the history of the Italy of the day and the papal history as well. The author does a amazing job of connecting current happenings to the happenings of long ago. Recommended.
Peter Morrone was a easy man who led a quiet life focussed on religious devotion as a hermit in the hills of central Italy. Disgusted with the state of the Catholic Church's hierarchy, which had failed to elect a fresh pope after years of argument, Peter wrote a letter warning of doom and disaster in March 1294. The letter produced a surprising result: Peter himself was named Pope at the age of 84. Reluctantly agreeing to serve and taking the name Celestine V, Peter spent a hectic and disappointing few months as pontiff before abdicating, the only Pope thus far to have done so. His successor ordered Peter imprisoned, and he died (or was murdered) shortly thereafter. Peter was not forgotten, he was eventually canonized and is today undergoing a fresh revival of interest in his life and n M. Sweeney has done a remarkably fine job of recreating the life of a man who lived in obscurity for most of his life. In doing so Sweeney has also allowed his readers to envision and better understand the tumultuous globe of the European Middle Ages. Most importantly, The Pope Who Quit also describes more clearly the state of the Roman Catholic Church in the 13th century, drawing some telling parallels with its condition today.Celestine V's long life and brief papal career deserve to be better known and understood. An humble man remarkable for his powerful religious faith and love for the Church as it should be, he set an example that ought to be admired and emulated today.
The Catholic Church takes a very powerful position on environmental conservation and we don't hear very much about it. I have found most religious groups in the U.S. to be silent on very necessary environemental issues. Here is the articulate, spiritual voice I've been looking for. Pope Benedict speaks for an international church. He talks of environmental problems from a global perspective, not just the prespective of what is amazing for American jobs.
The USCCB has declared that Ivereigh is factually inaccurate in his accusations versus them. This book is rife with inaccuracy and delusion. Ivereigh has lost his method in his attempts to keep up Francis as the fresh Christ, the innocent lamb being sacrificed by the wicked traditionalists.
Mr. Mee takes the dry facts of the Reformation and adds colourful info to give the familiar story a contemporary feel. The reader can better understand the machinations of the 16th century papal court and the humble beginnings of Luther's life.
This is a study of two persons- Luther and Giovanni de' Medici (Pope Leo X)- who had various values but who shared a religion. What I liked about the book was how the influence of the Medici family's love of decorative arts influenced the building of St. Peter's in Rome. It was also the cause of the of Indulgences to for the splendor. Luther objected on Biblical ither man intended for the Catholic Church to break apart but the long delay in resolving the dispute allowed political factors to become involved. When you read the book, if you wonder why Luther could not have been arrested, look at some images of Veste Coburg. It is an amazing fortress and I've seen the room where Luther lived and translated the Bible into German.If you wish to read the fascinating history of the Medici family and its bank, I recommend "Medici Money" by Tim Parks. This has more scenes than a Hollywood film and its a fun read. If you would like to view some of the Medici decorative art collection, look at "Treasures of the Medici" by Anna Massinelli. I've reviewed both of these books.
Well researched, clear in exposition. However there is something to be said for background in a topic area, especially when describing a historic scene. The author described monks "pocketing their breiviaries." Monks did not have little breviaries in the medieval period, they did not even have their own private breviaries. Most would not message this oversight, but it causes those in the know to be shaken in the author's accuracy.
This isn't a treatise or even a medium-length book by Douglas Wilson. It is a brief perusal of the salient problems that hold Reformers like Doug outside the Roman ward the beginning of the book, he challenges the presupposition that the church's promised unity is primarily (or at all) to be a governmental unity. Rather, we are promised the unity of "One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism" -- the tag of believers across all times and places. I found this to be Wilson's most necessary contribution to the book.His treatment of the remaining problems is well done. You won't search much in the method of strawmen. Instead, he speaks as to his friends, trying to have them take an honest look at themselves (and at their mates on the other side of the Tiber.With Doug Wilson, I look forward to the day when we can say 'Soli Deo Gloria' and 'ad Majorem dei Gloriam' in unison. But with a unity based on truth and not on group-hub ecumenism.
The book focuses on the earth being God's creation and a bonus to humans to sustain themselves, thus the earth requires care. I think the Pope, who quoted and credited his predecessor managed to create a better case than the so called environmentalists, and even admits that one cannot turn back progress but must search ways to continue forward through fresh and sustainable methods.
Who would ever have thought that Pope Benedict would be an advocate for the environment? This book shows why this makes sense and is a natural outcome of mainline Catholic theology where "everything is interrelated" (to use the words of Pope Francis in his "environment encyclical" Laudato Si).The author draws from the teachings of Benedict and comes up with these ten commandments for the environment. The book shows the unbelievable continuity in the thought of Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis on this e book is short and to the point in 140 pages, simple to read, and is a amazing primer on the Christo-centric teaching of the Catholic Church on creation and the environment. It is a amazing introduction and reminder that our care for creation has deep roots in the Catholic understanding of the world.
The medieval times of 13th century Christendom show a globe so various from our own, jam-packed with special and intriguing characters whose stories are so small known, yet so well worth knowing. I'd recently written a biography of a man from that time called "great" in his own day, Albert the Great, a man who was placed in the heaven of Dante's Divine Comedy, yet who was not canonized a saint until six-and-a-half centuries years after his death. That's why my interest was piqued by the story of a man of St. Albert's time who was known as a quitter, whom Dante placed outside the gates of the Inferno, he "who through cowardice created the amazing refusal," and yet, who would be canonized a saint a mere seven years after his death.But there too was greatness in this man, Peter Morrone, who would become Pope St. Celestine V, "the pope who quit," and Jon Sweeney does a remarkable job of bringing him to life for us today. In The Pope Who Quit, Sweeney vividly recreates that intriguing globe of 13th century Europe and the remarkable manner in which a strong cardinal and a king brought down to the chair of St. Peter a holy hermit living atop a mountain east of Rome. This book is full of intrigue, the planning and machinations of the likes of Cardinal Benedict Geatani (who would succeed Celestine as Pope Boniface VIII) and King Charles II (nephew of St. Louis IX, King of France) who would house this unlikely spiritual and temporal leader, not upon Peter's chair in Rome, but within his own castle at this incredible, but real tale we see the painful and confusing results when a truly holy man and dynamic leader within his own monastic is thrust in such an unusual manner (you'll have to read the book for that) into a spiritual and worldly office that would immediately appear so diametrically opposed to his temperament, inclinations, and abilities. Just imagine walking into the mighty castle at Naples to see that the reclusive pope has erected within it a little hut for his own living quarters! Much confusion reigned in the brief time of his papacy, and you will share in his struggles as Celestine V seeks a method to become Peter Morrone again, to abdicate the role of supreme pontiff, something none of his 191 predecessors had done before, and none of his 173 successors have ever done e Pope Who Quit, while historically fascinating, is far more than a historical curiosity. It is more too than perhaps one of the world's greatest examples of "the Peter Principle," the idea that people are promoted until they reach the position at which they are incompetent (in this case, the position being that of St. Peter himself!) The subtitle reads "A Real Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation" and that it is. There are lessons to be found for us today within this mysterious tale. The holy monk himself would soon suffer a mysterious death, and not long after be recognized as a saint. As we all learn from our own mistakes, maybe too we can learn positive lessons from this man who willingly suffered the humiliation and the risk of bodily hurt in abandoning this most holy office, when he felt this was his call from God. I think his act of "quitting" and of "cowardice," was an act of amazing wisdom and courage. You'll have to read The Pope Who Quit to inform your own ftly written and masterfully interweaving medieval narrative with modern parallels, The Pope Who Quit will not disappoint.
I found this book fascinating. The subject could have been how political power is used in the name of GOD. Still event today. The author has included so a lot of info about so a lot of people I did search myself lost on occasion but my ability to hold pace or not did not take away from my enjoyment of the book. This pope was certainly both easy (as in humble) and complex.
Austin Ivereigh is not subtle in advancing his viewpoint. This volume portrays the Church's recalcitrant traditionalists as less concerned with the priorities of the gospel -- announcing the Kingdom, spreading a notice of mercy, calling people to genuine repentance through their experience of shame at sin -- than with preserving ecclesial privileges essentially foreign to the gospel message. Around midway through the book, the point is created that adherence to Christian morality is not what comes first in the Christian life; rather, what comes first is the encounter with Christ, and one's joyful conversion to Christian living flows from that first encounter with mercy, grace, and love. (St. Paul would create much the same point in 1 Corinthians, insisting that the Christian's experience of freedom is not license to sin, but ought precisely to be the origin of one's desire *not* to sin.)Ivereigh's lack of subtlety does not mean that he is wrong. On the contrary; this volume, a important and refreshing acc of Francis' papacy, presents a thorough exposition of the show papacy's groundedness in the gospel notice and paints the picture of a pope who, though imperfect (with the Bishop Barros fiasco in Chile being a particular low point), is calling the Church to return to the fundamental reality of Christian life, namely the encounter with Jesus Christ. It is an essentially accurate depiction. Francis' approach of calling the Church back to its Lord should, moreover, be self-evidently correct for any practicing Christian. For indeed, as Benedict XVI once place it and as Francis is fond of quoting, "being Christian is not the effect of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a fresh horizon and a decisive direction." Being Christian is not a status symbol, and Christian doctrine is not a crutch to insulate people from the wider societal currents of a rapidly secularizing age in which nothing, apparently, remains sacred -- rather, as Francis and his collaborators understand, it is the response to a prior act of mercy, a prior act of love which moves the heart to repentance and conversion (a point that, e.g., Hans Urs von Balthasar also makes in "Love Alone Is Credible").Francis is quoted in the book as observing that traditionalism-removed-from-charity is the typical consequence of some type of insecurity. In my own experience, I have found such traditionalism to be the manifestation of an understandable desire for clarity and sure footing amid the ideological and political confusion of a very unstable world. For the Christian, however, security comes not from adhering to the cultural forms of a bygone age but rather to the person of Christ, the basic and everlasting example of a cleric who "smells like his sheep"; who leaves comforts behind to descend into the peripheries; who loves, visibly, tactilely, the poor; who dispenses mercy lavishly to sinners but charges the self-righteous and corrupt religious elite, who do not perceive their own sin, with hypocrisy. For Francis, the figure of Jesus is everything. And that clarity of vision -- the clarity of one who looks up at Jesus -- permeates the photo of Pope Francis as it is presented in this volume.
Following up from his insightful The Amazing Reformer, Austen Ivereigh provides another perfect analysis of our current pontificate. Ivereigh's knowledge of Latin-American politics, his fluency in Spanish, and theological acumen situate him most well for the task. Ivereigh has a particular talent for supplying a thicker context for different actions that Francis has taken in his papal ministry. While a lot of could be listed, two deserve note. First, Ivereigh does a superb job in interpreting Pope Francis's actions in light of the abuse crisis. As shown in his response to the US episcopate, Francis stresses the need for a spiritual/personal renewal before any structural/legal changes (however necessary those remain). Second, and this is a theme that runs throughout the book, Ivereigh shows the roots of and highlights Pope Francis's stress on private encounter in the face of technocracy. That claim rightly locations Laudato si' as absolutely central to the aims of Francis's pontificate. So too does it capture the prophetic bent of Francis in an age dominated by social media and polarization. This book is ESSENTIAL reading for anyone who wants to understand Pope Francis in a nuanced, authentic way.
Not an simple read. The Title is catchy, but the writing is something one plows through. Ordered it for my husband (who is very educated) and he thought the writing was thick, not substantial thick, but obtuse.
Just a repeat of the usual misinformation about Catholicism. I was a Protestant and am now a satisfied Catholic. I used to believe the straw man arguments until I actually read what the Catholic Church really believes. I found my Bible is a Catholic book. Visit [...] for the truth.
I had high hopes for this book. It should have been an interesting examination of Peter Morrine, Pope Celestine V, but there are multiple flaws which created it a true disappointment. The writing is simplistic, for example, “He watched them with interest. He shared some of their ideas. But he was not one of them.” The style is more of a historical novel than a scholarly work, and the author makes numerous statements which, by his own admittance, cannot be verified through basic documents. Yes, documents from the medieval era are somewhat scarce, but you simply cannot create up entire scenarios to give your book historical gravitas. In the introduction Sweeney states, “Peter wrote an autobiography, which was unusual for that era, and we can trust it for some of the info of his early life.” First, scholars agree it’s a hagiography, written over 30 years after Celestine’s death, and, in the Notes, the author does not list this book as a source. Nor is there a bibliography where it is listed. Sweeney also states that there is no physical description of Peter Morrone, yet he freely imagines what he looked like, what his presence was like, and even imagines conversations he might have had. The book is full of inconsistencies, dramatizations, over-generalizations, and historical errors which seriously undermine its value as history. Perhaps it would have worked better as historical fiction. Ultimately, it was disappointing and a waste of money.
Even though I knew the papacy had its share of intrigue and corruption I never knew just how deep these things ran before. The book was a fascinating and sometimes poignant, sometimes hilarious depiction of medevial foibles, beliefs and practices. It definitely added to my understanding of all that is associated with the role of a pope.
I found this book a fascinating commentary on the environment, sustainability, and how we as a species are beholden to do our part to support ensure it's survival. It was an enjoyable read, learning about The Green Pope and substantial efforts being created to protect our planet. I came away with a renewed sense of duty to support protect this precious gift, this earth. The author has a talent for instilling an already-engaging subject with intelligence and wit, making this highly-readable and very enjoyable journey into saving our planet. This should be needed reading, as it brings fresh and thoughtful layers to the reasoning of why we must all do our part.
Woodeene Koenig-Bricker brings wit, humor, and passion to this book about saving the planet before it is too late. Using her journalistic expertise, she describes the cutting edge policies of Pope Benedict for making Earth's ecological health a priority problem of justice and private concern. She explores practical, daily ideas that will enable individuals to positively improve the environment. There are also interesting facts, like how solar panels are installed throughout St. Peters, and how the Vatican is the first nation to have a zero carbon footprint. Very thoroughly researched, this book is a lively and inspirational read.