Well, I liked it. Learned a lot of historical tidbits and smiled a lot. Disagreed with a couple of things, but an author's has a right to his or her opinion. Excellent narrator.
Love the book as a window. Shocked by the number of definitions for the word "turn". Widowed and sad, but thankful. Trying hard to be useful. Have 28 years as a step-father to a fantastic grand-daughter and a not so fantastic drug addicted, step-daughter. Oddly focused on the fun of preparing to die well, and help those left behind, while eating, hot springing, and reading for pleasure.
A World Lit Only By Fire was the first audio book I listened to way back in the ninties, and it is still my favorite. I think I've read many of the best books, "Two Years Before The Mast", "Brothers Karamozov", the Sharp novels. This book is different. It makes one ask, how hungry could I get? Do I have any bravery? Have I ever really sinned? If I had the power to force people to do one thing, I would make them read the Magellan section of this book. They would be amazed at the power of human character.
This is an engrossing book which covers much of the culture of the "dark ages" up to the voyage of Magellan. It is well read and very entertaining. My only complaint is that the organization is odd. The is explained at the END of the book in the epilogue written by the author. I wish this would have come at the beginning because I found myself occasionally wondering where the author was going. It often felt like he's just skimming from one topic to another only to return to a topic in more detail later without apparent rhyme or reason. Once this is explained at the end, it made more sense. Still, it's a great book for amateur historians looking for a good overview of the culture during this time and really hammers home the awesome accomplishments of Magellan.
Tightly written book. Plugs all those holes in the development of Western Europe from a backwater following the collapse of the Roman Empire to the debauchery of the medieval papacy, to the Reformation, Renaissance and Revival.
I'd highly recommend this work to anyone trying to grapple with the period ending antiquity and starting modernity.
The narrator drones on and on in a monotone that is about as captivating as a dripping faucet.
This guy must moonlight for computer-to-text voice-overs.
I simply cannot pay attention to this book. Manchester has a good reputation and an otherwise colorful style, but that doesn't save it. I'm really sorry I wasted my money on this audiobook. I erased it from my sound device after listening for only a couple hours...and getting that far was an achievement.
I was looking for a good social history when I bought the book, but instead, it was ultimately about great men of the era, the book focused too much on great men like Magelen, Da Vanci, Erasmus, Pope Alexander VI, Pope Leo VII and Martin Luthar. Having said that, I did enjoy the narrative, the author painted a very very very dark and brutal picture about the middle ages, a very different picture to the picture of European High Court, and Provancen Troubadours.
Huizenga is pretty good too, I wish they had that on audible. Manchester takes the cake though. Narration is competent-to-good. Sean Barrett or Ralph Cosham would have been better.
A mailman in Iowa, I have hours and hours to listen as I walk along. History in the am, adventure in the pm, literature when the muse calls.
Reads like a first-hand account of men beginning to look, really look, at the world about them and daring to think for themselves, and rejecting, one baby step at a time, what they're ordered to believe.
I re-listen to it all the time. When I can't sleep, this is a surefire way to drift off. It's fascinating stuff. And the perfect degree of dryness, so that I can fall asleep guiltless.
To be sure, it has to be the section on Martin Luther, a certifiable nut job of the first order! I sleep like a baby until old Barrett starts reading the writings of this bat case and I pop awake completely riveted. How on earth does anyone take Martin Luther seriously?
Without a doubt it's ol' Martin's fascination with bodily processes. How does anyone read this and not go into hysterical convulsions? Really! And all of it read in Barrett's entertaining monotone. It has the quality of a computer reading porn. Insanely, and, I'm sure, unintentionally funny!
Nothing in particular.
This is a fascinating book that is unintentionally hilarious to me. I listen to parts of it all the time because it is William Manchester after all. For some reason it just tickles me.