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Dominion

How the Christian Revolution Remade the World
Written by: Tom Holland
Narrated by: Tom Holland, Mark Meadows
Length: 22 hrs and 18 mins
Categories: History, World
5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A historian of antiquity shows how the Christian Revolution forged the Western imagination

Crucifixion, the Romans believed, was the worst fate imaginable. It was this that rendered it so suitable a punishment for slaves. How astonishing it was, then, that people should have come to believe that one particular victim of crucifixion - an obscure provincial by the name of Jesus - had been a god. Dominion explores the implications of this shocking conviction as they have reverberated throughout history.

Today, the West remains utterly saturated by Christian assumptions. Our morals and ethics are not universal. Instead, they are the fruits of a very distinctive civilization. Concepts such as secularism, liberalism, science, and homosexuality are deeply rooted in a Christian seedbed. From Babylon to the Beatles, Saint Michael to #MeToo, Dominion tells the story of how Christianity transformed the world.

©2019 Tom Holland (P)2019 Basic Books

What the critics say

"a sweeping narrative...[Holland] is an exceptionally good storyteller with a marvelous eye for detail...excellent fun." (The Economist)

"What in other hands could have been a dry pedantic account of Christianity's birth and evolution becomes in Holland's an all-absorbing story...It takes a master storyteller to translate the development of a philosophical notion into a captivating story, and Holland proves to be one... Holland offers a remarkably nuanced and balanced account of two millennia of Christian history - intellectual, cultural, artistic, social and political. The book's scope is breathtaking." (The Literary Review)

"Christianity may not be on the march, but its principles continue to dominate in much of the world; this thoughtful, astute account describes how and why... Holland delivers penetrating, often jolting discussions on great controversies of Western civilization in which war, politics, and culture have formed a background to changes in values... An insightful argument that Christian ethics, even when ignored, are the norm worldwide." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-11-04

Author only reads preface

Author only reads preface. Other guy reads the rest. Beware. It’s good. You just won’t get that sweet accent for twenty-two hours!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 2019-12-03

Prepare to be transfixed, transported

... that is, across the universes of ideas, personalities and history, delivered with such nimbleness and artistry as I've never seen. It just doesn't get any better than this. Prepare to be (thinking of the bloody crucifixion imagery) transfixed. Of what stuff are our interpretations and feelings built? Dig into the archaeology of it all here. Most every sentence shimmers with color, atmosphere and meaning. There is no physical trip that surpasses this. Here is gore and cruelty, right alongside infinite human grace. This lifts me right up out of every complacency and gives a new light to what I thought I knew. Maybe Tom Holland's style (much more artistry and license and sweep than typical academic history) isn't for everybody, but for me, it is beyond perfect. Every nerd (and my "scientist" friends are the worst) who thinks Christianity is nothing but superstition ought to be strapped to a chair and made to listen to what is such an undeniable part of our human experience (and the doubters' own assumptions, expectations, behaviors and interpretations of things). But to be balanced, there are flat spells here that might justify a critic's point: Christianity's history does require a bit of wading through disputes on doctrine trying to the patience of a post-Medieval listener. I think Holland sustained a reader-friendly fascination, a blend of action and ideas, more consistently in "Shadow of the Sword." But I proclaim my admiration of this not as a Christian but as a somewhat perceptive and open-minded human who has tried to clear away a few cobwebs of rigidity, fear and arrogance. I DO like some sort of poetry with my life and death! This is lost in today's crowd scrambles for (and worship of) the purely instrumental, the mad dash for the ubiquitous pre-manicured (bleached) consumer "experience" and "stuff." And don't worry, Nietzsche and Darwin absolutely weigh in here, in all the grace and dignity that could be afforded them. But it takes courage to be reintroduced to one's own world with such a switch in frameworks. In any event, the matter will never be introduced with such graceful and crackling English and imagery as it is here. So much that is buried is resurrected in all vibrant dimensions. It is like living many lives, visiting many of (our won earthly historical) worlds.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • horoscopy
  • 2019-11-19

lots of nice writing, but kind of light on history

just like the other Tom Holland books I have read , I felt it was nice, sweet and fluffy, but kind of lacking in substance.

btw , I do think (along with many others) that "Rubicon" was his masterpiece. this is kind of the closest he has come to that I think, but still a bit too fluffy in content.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful