Mike Aquilina

Good Thing in a Small Package

Monday May 22nd 2006, 10:18 am

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 …