I might have enjoyed this book more if I listened to the last chapter first, which summarizes the entire book. Much of the book is filled with detail of bishops and church officials and arguments and antics during Constantine's lifetime. Very interesting if this extremely narrow time period and topic appeals to the listener. Furthermore, the arguments between these long-forgotten characters are completely alien to the modern Christian, and the author acknowledges that fact occasionally. Most readers will simply be unable to associate with any of the sects battling with each other over early church doctrine. Theological hair-splitting that is very dense to the modern ear. Also, I thought there would be more material about the actual spread of Christianity throughout Europe. Instead the book chronicles the actions taken by Constantine that eventually resulted in the spread of the faith. Nonetheless, the book is reasonably interesting to anyone curious about the period. Most histories of Rome that I've read don't have any where near as much detail as this book does about Constantine's life and personality. I'm a history buff, but not a professional or academic historian and quite frankly it amazes me how much detail and actual dialog and day-to-day rundown of events has been preserved from this period. I have to assume that the actual dialog and text and correspondence quoted in the book is in fact accurate. I'd love to know what the primary sources are and where they are kept.
Regarding the reader, Charlton Griffin has the best reading voice for this kind of material and it's a pleasure to listen to. Direct quotations and speeches are produced with a reverb on his voice to set such quotations aside from the author's own writing. Listeners may or may not like it.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND A History of Rome, read by Charlton Griffin, also available on Audible.
The book is entertaining, and makes you think. The author has a socialist bent - he holds the opinion that if there were no rich people, everything would somehow be better. His characterization and depiction of the realities of the working class are honest, though. He makes excellent points and it's hard to argue with his views on most matters.
Listened to it twice to better appreciate and enjoy it. So rich, so wonderful. Dark and violent, yes... but that's what the time and place was. I have never encountered such a masterful rendering of the English language. This is the 20th century equivalent of Shakespeare. I read "The Road" also, and it was very good. This book is high art.
I wish I could absorb and retain all the great arguments and clear analysis in this book. It captures all of the nonsense you hear on the news, that falls out of the mouths of politicians, activists, and pundits - and explains quickly and clearly why they are wrong. A very entertaining and enlightening read.
If you like Roman history, this book is another great slice of the big picture. Hadrian himself is not the most interesting emperor; certainly a great one for his peaceful, learned, and benevolent nature. But the book also paints a vivid picture of the time and place - when Rome was at its greatest height. Everitt's book "Augustus" is another winner.
I've always wanted to know more about how ancient writings come down to us. There's a lot of detail about manuscripts and how long they last, and how little actually dates back to ancient times. I found it very interesting. The story of Poggio Bracciolini, the renaissance book hunter is also interesting. The author writes in wonderful prose. The reader compliments it nicely. If you like ancient/Roman/European history, this book is an entertaining overview.
An interesting book, but you'll learn more about Israel and Hezbollah and Hamas, organizations through which Iran acts secretly. I was hoping for more about the overt hostilities with Iran, and the inner workings of Iran, but as the title says, it's the secret war. Overall, good, but not exactly about Iran.
I was hoping for more summary and historical analysis and perspective. This books is, rather, a lot of moment-to-moment detail about battles, minor nobles, and many names of minor historical figures. If you are a crusades enthusiast, you might like it.
The impression of the story formed by the news media isn't going to be changed much by this book. But it's full of detail that would not otherwise be heard. The narrative is told in an interest, engaging way. The reader is good.
I found the book to be well written, and useful for filling in gaps in my knowledge of world history, but I discovered that the topic and the man are generally not my favorite areas of study. The reader is pleasant, and I guess I have nothing negative to say about it. If you are interested in Genghis Khan, you'll like this book (I think!).
I grew up after the Nixon years, and so only know what I know about him from popular movies and TV. The book didn't paint too much of a different picture, but did fill in a lot of detail and complexity of the man and the times. The writing is engaging and not at all boring. I think I learned more about the times than the man.
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