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Mullins, an Oxford-educated journalist and visual arts and architecture specialist, spans the intriguing 70 years of the Avignon papacy with this highly readable narrative. By grounding the story in the architecture and artistic elements of Avignon and the surrounding area, he draws readers into this fascinating period of the church's "Babylonian captivity." Mullins effectively demonstrates the effects of the papacy on the area by contrasting current and past architecture. Although two standard works on this period were translated in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Guillaume Mollatt's The Popes at Avignon 1305-78 and Yves Renouard's The Avignon Papacy, and although the triumphs and excesses of the 14th-century church are also well documented in general sources, this focused treatment is an excellent addition to church history collections. Suitable for academic and public libraries.