Beautifully written, compelling, thorough and easy to understand. The author covers a tremendous amount of ground and is very entertaining!
Say something about yourself!
Susan Wise Bauer does it again following the style of her book on ancient history she manages to fit an enormous volume of biographies and historical accounts of the major turning points in the medieval world. John Lee is a natural at turning an arduous study into a joyful listen.
Like the first volume, it is a compilation of segments of parallel time lines in Europe, Asia and N. Africa. Except for a few cases it is a listing of rulers and battles between tribes, clans and civilizations. A history should include more than this. The narrator should be commended for his pronunciation of hundreds of complex and difficult names.
Having listened to the History of Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer, and quite liked it, I continued onwards with the history of the medieval world. Unfortunately this book was not quite as interesting and clear as the first volume.
This period in history was full of strife, wars, warlords and tribes, meaning that the narrative often lacked central characters. Kings and emperors rose and fell and betrayed and backstabbed each other in often dizzying and sometimes tedious continuity. In my opinion Bauer often fails to give the people in the book a sense of personality and thus they often seem more of a historical figures than real humans. If my memory serves me right, this wasn't such a problem in the History of Ancient World.
However as an catalogue of historic events of this vast time span the book functions quite well and it was mostly a enjoyable listen. Listening to the book gives you a good grasp on the big picture on events and will no doubt immensely help when venturing to more specific subjects.
As a conclusion I'd say that the greatest benefit of the book is also it's biggest problem. Including 800 years of turbulent but surprisingly well documented history of Europe, China, India and America in the same book is great but maybe also too much. And what about Africa?
Each chapter coves another part of the known world, a real treat to get a bigger picture.
all of the nuances of the different governments of China...varied, short-lived.
Great story. Truly a way to place all the modern politics in perspective. There is nothing new under the sun.
This is a great summary level history book. Narration is excellent. Let's you see what is happening in different parts of the world at the same time in history
I thoroughly enjoyed this: the info, the reading and the short chapters. I recommended to several friends. Excellent general historical context and culture.
A prodigious work, but I can't recommend it. Covering the known world for more than a millenium in one book can't help but be a bit rushed, but this was a bit much. The narrative is almost exclusively restricted to wars and regicides, as if nothing else was going on during this period. Nothing of the lives of regular people, nothing of slaves, serfs, peasants, nothing about architecture or technological advancements, economies, trade, roads, agriculture, or what else people did when they weren't fighting. I realize that this was a violent time but life wasn't 100% war, contrary to what you'd think if this is your only source for the period.
The book is formatted to cover the world in sequence, with a chapter on each civilization (e.g., Europe, China/Korea, India, a bit of the New World) for a particular time perioud and bit by bit, going back and forth to keep them all covered at about the same time. But since there's little in the book connecting relation between the various civilizations (Europe and the Middle East as the main exception), it would have been much less confusing if she'd just covered, for instance, all of the material on India at once, all of China at once, etc., instead of jumping around.
As for the reader, I've never cared for him, but I guess that's my preference. I did think he went a bit fast.