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The Pope and the Heretic:
Giordano Bruno, the subject of Michael White's The Pope and the Heretic, was a thoroughly modern intellect whose fate was to have lived during the late 16th century, a period characterized in large part by the Inquisition, the Church's monomaniacal suppression of what it deemed heretical thought. A "cerebral maverick," Bruno believed in and wrote about an infinite universe--something beyond Copernicus's heliocentric system, the human origins of the concept of the Trinity, and a possible amalgamation of Roman Catholic doctrine with those of ancient religions. His real crime, at least in Rome's eyes, was his belief in "free inquiry." White's biography is exemplary, in no small part because of his concise, crystal-clear discussions of the period's intellectual beliefs, the delicately tempestuous battle between papal and civil authorities, and his detailed, illuminating look at Bruno's trial and subsequent burning at the stake. The Pope and the Heretic is a trustworthy and enlightening entrance into the dizzyingly complex age of the Renaissance. --H. O'Billovich [via]