From Christendom to Americanism and Beyond describes the momentous changes that occurred in the European cultural orbit from the end of the Middle Ages until the mid 20th century. During this period the Catholic unity of the West–what rightly was called Christendom–was lost, and the social order came to be organized on an entirely new basis. Instead of a society that attempted to arrange all its activity and institutions in a hierarchy directed toward God, now politics could become merely a series of power grabs, economic activity an aimless and unabashed striving for riches, and the work of artists simply a means of self-expression. Not only were the institutions and customs that had previously sought to guide human activity to the glory of God and the common good destroyed, but this destruction was justified–even celebrated–in the new theories and philosophies that arose during this time. Readers who want to understand the broad trends and movements that underlie historical events will find this book an excellent guide to the rise of modernity.