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Good Thing in a Small Package

Know someone who could use a remedial course in Church history? I know an excellent book, hot off the presses. Diane Moczar’s Don’t Know Much About Catholic History: From the Catacombs to the Reformation is a small book (167 pages) that fits easily in your jacket pocket, your car’s glove compartment, or your purse. (Full disclosure: I live in constant, irrational terror that I will be caught waiting somewhere with nothing good to read. Just as the poet Theodore Roethke used to stash spare drinks behind furniture at cocktail parties, so I stash books in odd corners of my car and clothing.)

Dr. Moczar provides vivid summary treatments of all the major periods, chockfull of memorable stories and characters. She ends each chapter with points to ponder and suggestions for future reading. She ends the book with two helpful and very practical essays on learning history and on evaluating history texts. Anyone who reads this book is well on the way from cluelessness to a lifelong love of learning. And the price is hard to beat, so you should probably buy copies for several friends, and for the back of the church, and for the town library, and …

11 thoughts on “Good Thing in a Small Package

  1. And some of us hide both books and drinks…

  2. It’s an Oxford Thing, no doubt.

  3. I don’t stash any. I just take one or another with me whenever I go somewhere that might involve idle time.

  4. There are certain books I consider “stash books.” They’re usually packed with fascinating trivia. Daniel Boorstin’s tomes are perfect stash books, because they’re interesting enough, but I really don’t care if I go days or weeks between sessions, and I can usually find copies for fifty cents. Books in St. Vladimir’s “Popular Patristics” series are more likely to take hold of my attention, but they also fit nicely in the pockets of my bluejeans.

  5. Oh how I long for the good ‘ol days when I stashed books and was able to find that “idle time”. *sigh*

  6. You’ll get it back. When you have to drive them places, and pick them up, and spend time sitting idle in the car while they dawdle in a store or at work.

  7. Longing for idle time here, too …. :-)

    You called it remedial — would you say it would work for teens/almost teens? A good intro to Church history?

  8. Yes, I think it would be very good for tweens and teens. (Maureen Wittmann taught me the word “tweens.”)

  9. Idle time over the weekend included a stint in the hospital emergency room, where I took my nephew who had been hit by a pitch. (He’s fine: nothing broken.) I made sure I grabbed my paperback shorter edition Norton Anthology of Poetry before we left. :-) Medical places are always stocked with idle time.

  10. Hey, Mike – I’m trying to find the book mentioned above…Diane Moczar’s Don’t Know Much About Catholic History: From the Catacombs to the Reformation…Amazon doesn’t have it. Can you by any chance direct me to it?

  11. Hi, Tess. Apparently the publisher has retitled the book. It’s What Every Catholic Wants to Know: Catholic History.

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