Michael Servetus is one of history's hidden geniuses. In the mid sixteenth century, at a time when the orthodox church taught a doctrine of predestination, he wrote a book arguing for the reality of human free will. The Christianismi Restitutio was immediately banned by the Inquisition, Servetus went underground and escaped capture until he was betrayed by his friend Calvin. The church tried to destroy every single copy of the book, to eradicate all traces of it from history and after a dramatic escape from jail and on to the rooftops, Servetus was recaptured and burned at the stake with what the church believed was the last copy of the book chained to his leg. The authors tell Servetus's extraordinary story and the story of how just three copies of his book survived to help inspire the leaders of the American and French Revolutions. This is a book about the importance of books for the course of human history, told from the point of view of antiquarian book collectors with an obsessive love of books.
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Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone are a husband-and-wife writing team who have written three books on their book-collecting pursuits: Used and Rare, Slightly Changed, and Warmly Inscribed. Lawrence Goldstone teaches creative writing at New York University.
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