Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Book Review: The Debaters

Barth Hoogstraten
At first, I thought this might be a dry sort of book. Hubby complains endlessly about some of his history book authors (he's read THEM ALL!). It is difficult bringing history to life. This book did just that for two interesting men who shaped and changed history as they both fought the corrupt Church leadership in Rome.

We are in the middle of an election campaign, and the US is leading up to one. We see debates on TV, and the Internet. Imagine how difficult it was in this era, requiring letters traveling on months-long journeys, as well as religious leaders.  I'm sure debates are far less listened to now, than in the past, however. Our clever ruling party, The Conservatives, are somehow refusing to attend debates in ridings. (E.g., Ottawa Conservative candidates refuse to participate in Oct. 5 debate) My son-in-law, Jean-Luc Cooke, is running in Nepean, and is looking for a good debate,he's booked in six this election! (Sorry, rant over!)

Back to the book, which is timely, in that there are many issues surrounding religion in the world, both in politics, and in news. What with the Pope recently visiting the US, and the UN, this book truly gives some insight into the workings of the papacy. I am neither a Catholic nor Protestant, nor church member, at this time in my life. I still want to learn about this part of human history.

I would recommend this book. It is a good read, and ties in the two men's lives, and how it is that Catholic hierarchy kept the real teachings of the Bible from its adherents until Luther translated it for the commoners. It explains the Diet of Worms (1521), and how profoundly it impelled Martin Luther forward, as well as the machinations of the election of a pope. It illustrates the saga of Luther's 95 Theses, nailed to a church door, and ensuring his excommunication and religious revolt by the common human, attempting to come to terms with their religion on earth. The sellling of indulgences, and influential men of the time: popes, kings and those who corrupted the Church.
Diet of Worms

He has created dialogue between characters, and this creates a far better picture than a dry read. His characters are rich and meaningful. Even his women, few who had a place in religious history, are strong. I really found it tied in with the skeletal knowledge I had of the Reformation, as well as these place points in history. Well done, Barth Hoogstraten!

From the publisher:

An understanding occurred to Barth Hoogstraten nearly a decade ago, when his brother leant him a book on Desiderius Erasmus and Pope Adrianus VI “Aside from their names and basic backgrounds, It dawned on me that I knew next to nothing about either Erasmus or Martin Luther; two of history’s greatest minds whose actions led to the reformation and positive change in the Catholic Church,” Hoogstraten said."
After years of research, Barth Hoogstraten published “The Debaters”. The book offers a glimpse of the final days of medieval Europe at one of the most crucial turning points in history. Readers experience first hand the personality conflicts between Luther, a sheltered family man and Erasmus, a bastard child, world traveler and one of the greatest humanists the world has ever seen.


William Kendall said...

I'll have to look for this... good review!

Red said...

Sounds like an interesting read. It's an area that I am not really familiar with.