This is an academic treatise written with a great deal of human detail. The world is described at the same time in segments, so you undertand that Constantinople fell the 3rd time when gunpowder was devised in china and civilizations evaporated in meso america. I wanted a big map to go with this epic. so I could follow the where with the what. I'm sure the book has maps and diagrams which would have made this easier to remember. I have to confess that I do not know if Antioch the ancient city is anywhere near Nicea. I did relate to places like Kandahar. The map part was my only negative remark..
I did miss having political maps but I still gained a better understanding of the medieval world.
The scope of the book is so vast that it, in effect, is little more than a series of lists.
If one is interested in the Medieval history and wishes to understand the facts, this is one of the best books available.
It was fun listening to the history on this disc, however, the history is really not that good. She gets many facts wrong. Don't take everything you read in this work as the absolute truth.
I have am listening to Susan Wise Bauer's histories for the second time right now. I'm currently entranced with her Ancient World history. I forgot how interesting her writing is! She tells a story with each piece of history. It's like a good fiction book, and that is so rare in history.
I felt the need to write a review to address the one-star reviews. It is an outrageously unfair rating. I don't believe the one-star review is an accurate reflection on the author or the narrator; instead, I think it's a reflection of the listener's interest in the actual subject. I have listened to a few histories of the medieval world. It is a VERY complex time period! Will Durant's Age of Religion (which covers this time period) was so vast and overwhelming that I had to listen to it a few times, and I still don't have a full grasp of the material. That is the nature of this time period. It's not all knights, crusades and chivalry. It's a messy and complicated world. If you aren't interested in making that commitment, then this book, as well as any history book of this period written for adults, will be overwhelming!!
I want to stress that this author does an excellent job making this very difficult and complicated material interesting and accessible. Plus the performance by John Lee is just amazing. He adds the polish to this great work!
Finally I suggest that listeners start with Bauer's first book, history of the ancient world, also performed by John Lee. It is really special!
A history of a "world" will necessarily be closer to highlights than in-depth exploration, and this work certainly is the former. However, one would expect this "summary" to reveal some overarching vision of history, shape common themes and make a point. Executive summary this is not. Its more like a homeschooling textbook (S.W. Bauer is a homeschooling guru of some sort) - it crams the work of others into uninspired narrative.
OK as an introduction to the themes for someone who needs to be familiar with basic sequences of European, Asian and American societies in the middle ages. Not OK for someone looking for any sort of original vision of, or historical theory for, understanding the World as a whole at the time, which would be helpful in dealing with the unified world of today.
Should have been called Summaries of Histories of Societies Functioning on Planet Earth c 400 - c 1300, The Homeschooling Edition.
Most of this has nothing to do with the Medieval World, which here in the West has always meant the world of European Christendom. Perhaps succumbing to an anti-western polyglot agenda, Susan Wise Bauer has served up a strange mix of Chinese, and Indian, and Patagonian, and God knows what else, along with slivers of European history. She has very little favorable to say about the Western Christian world; her outlook is very clear.
An endless monotone listing dates, overthrows and death. Not an easy subject to quantify into a "story" but John Lee english accent just seems to go on and on to the point that I can't tell the difference between the events in Min dynasty to those in Roman ages.