- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Macmillan; 1 edition (15 Jun. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1405088737
- ISBN-13: 978-1405088732
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.4 x 4.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 939,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Inquisition: The Reign of Fear Hardcover – Unabridged, 15 Jun 2007
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More About the Author
Everybody has heard of the Inquisition. This was an institution that pursued heretics, philandering priests and sexual deviants in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America for a period of over 350 years, changing its focus with the times and enduring stubbornly into the 19th century. Today the word implies dread, fear and a withheld threat of torture. But who were its targets? Why did it provoke such fear? How and where did it operate? Why was it founded, and why did it last for so long? Toby Greens incredible new book brings an extraordinary 350 year period vividly to life by focusing on the hitherto untold stories of individuals from all walks of life and every section of society. Because the Inquisition touched every aspect of society, it changed the world: people attending church had to look suitably devout, or they might be denounced; a curse at a game of cards, thrown out in the heat of the moment, could bring an investigation; stripping fat from a leg of lamb was enough to excite accusations of being a Jew. A secret police and a thought police, the Inquisition produced a permanent state of fear. This history, though filled with stories of terror and the unspeakable ways in which human beings can treat one another, is also one of hope and ultimately of the resilience of the human spirit. Instead of being cowed by their fear, countless people rebelled in small and big ways, paving the way for a more inclusive society. The story of the Inquisition is not, then, one to be hidden and avoided; it deserves to be told in all its human richness and complexity.
About the Author
Toby Green is the author of three previous books and his work has been translated into six languages. He has travelled widely in Africa and Latin America, and now lives with his wife and daughter in the West Country.
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Top Customer Reviews
Green describes how over the three centuries of its existence, the Inquisition persecuted, tormented, humiliated, tortured and killed Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Pagans, Protestants, Freemasons, homosexuals, witches, rape victims of both sexes, free-thinkers of all kinds, and anyone whose thinking, behaviour, or achievements deviated in the slightest detail from the norm.
His analysis shows however that above all else they persecuted devout Roman Catholics- members of the very Church that they purported to protect. Thus even on its own terms, the Inquisition was utterly counterproductive, creating the very enemies that it purported to be suppressing. Their meticulous records record that their victims often begged their interrogators to tell them what they should confess to, so as to terminate their torture. Some even learned Jewish prayers so they could incriminate themselves more plausibly. During period eruptions of rebellion, Spanish peasants would declare themselves to be indeed Muslims or Jews, even though by now they had lost almost all knowledge of these religions.Read more ›
Indeed, reading Green's book I was struck not by the uniqueness of the Inquisition but by how many of its procedures have made a depressing resurgence in the last decade under the banner of the 'war of terror': arbitrary arrest; secret courts and secret evidence; indefinite detainment; even state torture. (The disgraceful contention of the Bush administration that water-boarding does not constitute torture is surely disproved by the fact that it was one of the three techniques most commonly applied by the Inquisition - the others being the rack and suspension).
The temptation of states to "work the dark side", in Dick Cheney's phrase, when faced with threats to social order is a perennial one. For this reason, the study of the Inquisition is more relevant than ever.
Moreover, the documentary evidence available to historians of the period has been transformed in the last thirty years with the opening of many Inquisitorial archives in Spain, Portugal and Rome. This is certainly a good moment for a new popular history.
However, I found Green's book exasperating. There are a number of problems.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This remarkable book deals with the Inquisition which started in 1428 spread from Spain to Portugal, Africa,Asia,and Sooth America but did not oficially end till 1834 even thoygh... Read morePublished on 20 July 2011 by G.I.Forbes
Toby Green's exhaustive research of the Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions has produced an outstanding account of one of the world's worst atrocities. Read morePublished on 28 Aug. 2008 by Jeremy Persaud
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