The Bad Popes

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Let yourself be swept up by this colorful, panoramic story of seven men who ruled the Church of Rome at seven critical periods in the 600 years leading up to the Reformation. During this age of grandeur and corruption, popes led armies, made love and war, conspired for power, and armed themselves with the techniques of assassination and seduction while clothed with the authority of the Church. Dramatic accounts of these papal bad boys include: Urban VI, the wild man from Naples, whose grotesque savageries widened...
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Overview

Let yourself be swept up by this colorful, panoramic story of seven men who ruled the Church of Rome at seven critical periods in the 600 years leading up to the Reformation. During this age of grandeur and corruption, popes led armies, made love and war, conspired for power, and armed themselves with the techniques of assassination and seduction while clothed with the authority of the Church. Dramatic accounts of these papal bad boys include: Urban VI, the wild man from Naples, whose grotesque savageries widened and maintained the scandalous gap of the Great Schism; Alexander VI, who brought to the See of Peter the intrigues of the Borgia; and Clement VII, the unskillful fox, whose fall brought down Rome itself. Profusely illustrated with architectural photographs and contemporary art from both Catholic and Protestant sources, this absorbing work vividly depicts the ecclesiastical corruptions which changed the course of history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780880291163
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 2/10/1989
  • Pages: 352

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Bad Popes

    However much one might wish to think otherwise, the Papacy is very much a political institution led by a very human figure. Argue if you will that his temporal actions are not a reflection of his spiritual purity, an argument that cannot reasonably be debated. What we can learn from Chamberlin's study is how very fetid has been the stench of papal humanity from time to time. Which is not to say that the Papacy is a failed institution or that all popes throughout history should be denigrated. Hardly. As with any religio-political institution, the Catholic Church has been served by committed Christians, true to their faith, eager to assist others, humble, caring, pious. The seven popes who take center stage in Chamberlin's The Bad Popes in no way deserved such a description. They were men of material motivation who shared a common interest in exploiting the Church to further the ambitions of their own families. The Theophylact, Gaetani, Borgia, de Medici - these were papal kings, driven by lust, greed, even a growing sense of paranoia. All of which makes for quite lurid and alluring reading. After all, the actions of a hedonistic villain can be far more entertaining than those of a pious saint. Depending on your mood.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2005

    A Ball to Read

    Very engaging book that makes history come alive. Reading the accounts from this colorful collection of scoundrels will entertain and even enlighten with regard to what it shows of human nature. You may even find part of yourself secretly cheering on and taking delight in some of the foibles of these very human representatives of the 'divine.'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2004

    A Great Book

    This is more than a book about the subject popes. It is NOT anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, or anti-religion - which it easily could be. It's a great history book covering the history of the church, Italy, her still warring powerful families,indeed all of Europe for the past 1500 years. More than that, it's a troubling psycholgical portrait of man's depravity and deceitfulness. I've had it in my library for years and finally got around to reading it. I expected it would be dry; I couldn't put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    E.R. Chamberlin, The Bad Popes

    However much one might wish to think otherwise, the Papacy is very much a political institution led by a very human figure. Argue if you will that his temporal actions are not a reflection of his spiritual purity, an argument that cannot reasonably be debated. What we can learn from Chamberlin's study is how very fetid has been the stench of papal humanity from time to time. Which is not to say that the Papacy is a failed institution or that all popes throughout history should be denigrated. Hardly. As with any religio-political institution, the Catholic Church has been served by committed Christians, true to their faith, eager to assist others, humble, caring, pious. The seven popes who take center stage in Chamberlin's The Bad Popes in no way deserved such a description. They were men of material motivation who shared a common interest in exploiting the Church to further the ambitions of their own families. The Theophylact, Gaetani, Borgia, de Medici - these were papal kings, driven by lust, greed, even a growing sense of paranoia. All of which makes for quite lurid and alluring reading. After all, the actions of a hedonistic villain can be far more entertaining than those of a pious saint. Depending on your mood.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2002

    Fact and Myth

    Of course, Pope Joan is a myth, and out of some 256 popes, Mr. Chamberlin secceeds in finding only a handful of so-called bad ones. I think this is less than 3%, and that is not bad. I am sure that most Protestant churches could not do better, and the pope is human; no Catholic has ever thought otherwise. Why Mr. Chamberlin would bother to write a book like is beyond me. I do not recommend it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2002

    Well-written and unbiased, fun to read.

    For some reason, the Popes seem to attract more than their share of biased critics and apologists. The nobility of their church, they are among the most interesting (if not always admirable) people around. This book, covering the period from 900 through 1600 A.D., does a fine job of telling the stories of some of the less attractive ones, including 'Pope Joan,' the only woman Pope!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2000

    Great Book

    A highly informative and interesting accounting of the history the Catholic church would like to forget. There were some pretty bazaar characters who managed to become pope.

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