I have yet to read Dante's "Divine Comedy". I know it is something I need to read, but I have never managed to read it. As an attempt to move myself towards that goal, I picked up Peter Leithart's guide on Dante's Divine Comedy. I recommend it very highly for anyone who wants to understand better the method of writing and the structure of Dante's works. The first two chapters set the stage for understanding medieval literature and courtly love and then the politics and times in which Dante wrote. Dante was disgusted with corruption at a political level in the city-states of Italy, and equally disgusted with the corruption at various levels in the Catholic Church. In writing the "Inferno", "Purgatory", and "Paradise", (with a chapter on each of the books) he seeks to show how a redeemed Christian man can be at once the best of men in a political level in his government and also the best of men in the church. He does this by showing examples of men and women at each level of hell (the inferno), purgatory, and then heaven. The guide is very useful to understand who some of the people are, and why Dante considered their sins to be appropriately punished in whatever level he put them on. This book is written as a guide, and includes questions at the end of each chapter. So it can be used in a group setting with others who are reading Dante.I'd recommend it highly for anyone interested in a first overview of Dante's books.