Jun 12, 2008

The Pillars Of The Earth - Follett (BC June 08)

Themes: 12th Century English Life / Catholicism / Cathedral Building
Mild Flaws:
  • A bit longer than it needed to be.
  • Trees hard to find but first 300 pages set in a forest?
  • Christian cathedral centerpiece but no mention of Jesus, Moses, or the Holy Bible in the first 350 pages. Odd?
  • Page 770 reference to "GRATIAN" was not familiar nor explained. Obscure? (an 11th Century lawyer known to solve contradictions in the canons from previous centuries).


  • Harsh realities of medieval serfdom.
  • Close ties of people to church.
  • Political (and often corrupt) nature of Clerics.
  • Transition of superstition to Christianity.
  • Church leaders so awful the criticism may be overdone.
  • The cast of royal characters, every Pope, Cardinal, Archbishop, and Bishop are all portrayed as shamelessly corrupt, aggressively militant, scheming and dishonest. Not one is decent. Odd?

Despite minor flaws this book is terrific. I will never look at a cathedral in the same way again. The book teaches about life during a somewhat overlooked period of time - and it does a wonderful job.

Verdict: Despite the fact that the book was too long, the weeping madonna with crystal eyes was oddly unnecessary, and I had never heard of "The Kiss of Peace" used to seal bargains, treaties, marriages, and so forth, despite it all the book earns the respect and admiration of the reader.