World Lit Only by Fire Review

Joellyn Ketron
A World Lit Only By Fire
A World Lit Only by Fire is a nonfiction book on the time period in Europe, known as the “Dark Ages”, based primarily set in the time of 400 A.D. to 1000 A.D. This book is packed with information of the Medieval and Early Modern Era in about three hundred pages. With all the facts and knowledge on every page, the book is hard to remember and makes it more difficult to keep thoughts in order. The novel also had questionable credibility. It appears as if William Manchester wrote the book as he was researching it. Almost all of Manchester’s sources are secondary. The novel was also confusing due to the lack or organization; there were no chapters, and only three divisions between parts in the book.
The author is also very biased. It appears that Manchester hates the Dark Ages based on the fact that he rambles about how dumb and primitive the people were before the Renaissance “saved” everyone. Manchester states, “They suffered another handicap. As medieval men, crippled by ten centuries of immobility, they viewed the world through distorted prisms peculiar to their age” (26), this gives the feeling that the author thinks the men of those times were not as advanced as they should’ve been. With the views that Manchester gives and the wording he chooses, the book can be somewhat interesting on occasion advanced vocabulary terms, some of which are not even located in a dictionary. The author also has a talent for being longwinded on certain topics. One of these topics, Magellan, could have been a book all on its own. Yes, a lot can be learned about Magellan in this book, and most of the information is quite interesting, but it makes the understanding of the book a little blurry. As some points are crystal clear, like the adventures of Magellan, while others are confusing, like all the religious titles in certain cities that were mentioned.
The book was decently written in reference to sentence structure and the ability to...