The Bad Popes
By E. R. Chamberlin
Published in 1969
Thibault’s Score: 2/5
I did not finish this book, but I made it about 20% of the way.
The Bad Popes is a collection of the biographies of what Chamberlin believes are the 8 worst popes to ever have reigned; mostly in the middle ages and renaissance. The subject matter seems interesting, but upon closer inspection is actually pretty dreary. I really find the geopolitical machinations of the past to be boring. Economic history or the history of the lives of everyday citizens is far more interesting. This book is all geopolitics without much else.
The writing style is also pretty boring. “Otto I arrived in Rome, and demanded blah blah blah.” It is a dreary procession of names that I sorta recognize from studying history doing random political things. This style of writing is more common with older history books - I call it the “Goodwill Gibbon” style of history writing.
Because my intention was not to read this as a bedtime story, and my stack of “to read” books is a mile high, I decided it was probably best to put it down. I do not recommend The Bad Popes.
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