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Admirably and logically organized, the book traces the chronology of Ambrose's public activity and reconstructs important events in the fourth century. McLynn's zesty, lucid prose gives the reader a clear understanding of the complexities of Ambrose's life and career and of late Roman government.
|List of Figures|
|List of Abbreviations|
|Ch. 1||The Reluctant Bishop||1|
|Ch. 3||Ambrose and Gratian||79|
|Ch. 5||Ambrose's People, I: Master of Ceremonies||220|
|Ch. 6||Ambrose's People, II: Friends and Influence||252|
|Ch. 7||Ambrose and Theodosius||291|
Posted April 4, 2001
This is not a book for the Christian faithful looking for a hagiography; nor for casual readers wanting a standard 'life'. It is rather a re-examination of Ambrose in the light of modern scholarship, which has done much to fill in our understanding of political power in the late fourth century. Despite the scholarly tone, though, this is a very readable book; in particular, the chapter on Ambrose's dangerous confrontation with Valentinian over control of Milan's churches is spellbinding. Highly recommended if you already know something about the period and want a new view of one of the most important figures of late antiquity.
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Posted January 18, 2009
Precidely written, Ambrose of Milan reads somewhat like a well composed doctoral thesis. No matter. Part of a resurgent, Christian church, Ambrose's triumph over the last emperor of both western Rome and Byzantium, Theodosius I, have led biographers to tend toward hagiography. While no new material on Ambrose has surfaced, McLynn offers a more balanced view of his subject than existing scholarship.<BR/><BR/>McLynn's command of the nuance of late Roman society is very impressive and he earns 5 stars here for intellectual rigor.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.