9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Well worth reading,
This review is from: The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (Hardcover)
I found this book most intriguing. While Stark may be a bit short on details and somewhat in a hurry, his pointing out the practical advances, in technology, society and philosophy, makes his basic thesis sound:
Capitalism, human rights, freedom & democracy are basically European inventions.
It is a milestone to realize that in these times of globalization and cultural conflicts, to say the least. We have every right and reason to stand firm on the (positive) pride of European values, and would deceive ourselves if we were to pretend they are not derived from Christianity.
Back to the book, I actually found it somewhat messy. While it has a basic chronological order, it also jumps a bit here and there, and sometimes fast-forwards through episodes that deserve more elaboration. Another 100 pages would have done it good.
That said, the pros easily outweigh the cons. The history of the city-states of Italy, Netherlands (he skips the Hansa a bit) and of England are the core of European history. Flanders, not a country of it own as of writing this review, certainly has its own honorable place in the history of Europe.
Stark makes a fine introduction to the treasures of European identity, and left me hungry for more. He breaks new ground and is unconditionally worth reading.