London: Sheed & Ward, 1936. First edition. Octavo (8 1/4 inches tall), original rust cloth, red top edge, original dust jacket. Near-fine book with faint tanning to endpapers and spotting to preliminaries, minor toning, creasing, and soiling to unclipped jacket with verso tape reinforcement to the folds, Very good indeed. Item #986
"THAT SLOW AND ULTIMATELY SUCCESSFUL EFFORT TO DRIVE THE MASS OUT OF ENGLAND AND DESTROY CATHOLICISM IN ITS PEOPLE" First edition of Hilaire Belloc's gallery of historical portraits of the "great religious revolution" within Christendom—scarce complete with the original dust jacket. This collection of 23 short biographies traces the social, economic, and political landscape of sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe, providing a prime example of "Belloc's relentlessly militant reading of English and European history. Like Christopher Dawson, he brought a Catholic perspective to historical events that often enough, illuminated various things left out of the standard Protestant histories—especially about England" (Robert Royal). The text is preceded with an introductory Nature of the Reformation, focusing on Belloc's view of England as the great hinge of Christian Europe: "But neither the Counter Reformation nor the active fighting which succeeded in preserving a part of Christendom intact, would have been necessary but for difficult success of the Protestant movement in England. This is the most important point to seize in all the story of the great religious revolution." The biographies are illustrated with 23 colored portraits sketched by Jean Charlot. Belloc was obviously unhappy with the illustrations. They are collected at the rear of the book, preceded with a Note: "At the request of the Author the publishers wish to make it clear that he was in no way responsible for the pictures appended, on which he was not consulted and which he does not consider consonant to the text." Cahill. English First Editions of Hilaire Belloc, 135b. Royal. A Deeper Vision.