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Publisher's Summary

Ask a college student today what he knows about the Catholic Church and his answer might come down to one word: "corruption". But that one word should be "civilization". Western civilization has given us modern science, the wealth of free-market economics, the security of law, a sense of human rights and freedom, charity as a virtue, splendid art and music, philosophy grounded in reason, and innumerable other gifts we take for granted. But what is the ultimate source of these gifts? Best-selling author and professor Thomas E. Woods, Jr., provides the answer: the Catholic Church.
No institution has done more to shape Western civilization than the two-thousand-year-old Catholic Church and in ways that many of us have forgotten or never known. Woods' book is essential reading for recovering this lost truth.
©2005 Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Critic Reviews

"I recommend Professor Woods's book not only to anyone interested in the history of the Catholic Church, but also to any student of the history and development of Western civilization." (Dr. Paul Legutko, Stanford University)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Michael Kellogg on 09-29-05

Fascinating and informative

I am a devout Catholic, but even I used to grimace a little when I would hear complaints about how the Church stifled science, condemned Galileo, held down uneducated people hundreds of years ago, etc. These are topics that are widely accepted as fact in this day and age, and rarely refuted in public, even by Catholic apologists.

In this book, however, all these topics and many, many more are discussed in great depth, and we learn about all the monumental contributions the Church made to virtually every pillar of western civilization. Science; astronomy; international law; economics; charity; etc. The list of Catholic inventions and research is truly amazing. "Who would have thought that modern economic theory began with a Franciscan friar in the 13th century?"

From an apologetics standpoint, I'd consider this book less as a Protestant vs. Catholic work. There is very little discussion of this since most of the discussions do not involve theology. Instead, I'd consider it an excellent primer for an atheist or agnostic who is of the opinion that the Catholic church has largely been a force for corruption and regression in the world.

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54 of 56 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By W. Max Hollmann on 02-05-10


Got this because of all the negative arguments I've heard about Catholicism...even by Catholics. Many I heard were misstatements following popular secular, media thinking, e.g the Pope's Regensburg lecture. I couldn't figure out how the Church survived all these generations if it was/is guilty of all this (supposed) villany. The book is an advocate for the faith but I think it does it very well. In some cases it argues to forcefully and takes too much credit. Islam, China, other religions are given scant credit for scientific, literary, artistic achievements or influences. Even if half of what Woods says is true (I suspect it's much, much more) it is a much needed revelation and tonic of the good the Church has done. It doesn't proselytize and it adroitly lays out very convincing arguments and historical facts. Highly recommended for those with an open mind.

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19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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