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Kirsty

Toronto, Australia

18
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 7 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2014
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  • A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (764)
    Performance
    (332)
    Story
    (337)

    The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and the exquisitely decorated Books of Hours; and on the other, a time of ferocity and spiritual agony, a world of chaos and the plague.

    E. Smakman says: "Gripping, once you get into it"
    "A fantastic guide to a forgotten century"
    Overall

    Travelling through rural France on an extended holiday, I found this book an excellent guide to this period of the history of the region. Tuchman's style, knowledge and and enthusiasm for the subject, her ability to bring the long dead back to life with meaning added greatly to the experience. The narration by Nadia May, injected with enthusiasm, humour and expression, brought the castles, palaces, churches and village streets closer and heightened my ability to be able to see the past as it was lived, multi-dimensionally. Life in 14th century France and England was extremely hard, but we need to remember the struggles of all the history which shaped the future generations of these societies to understand who we are today. So often history is selective, but Tuchman has brought to our attention very detailed consequences of the actions of rulers, the revolts of the powerless, and the ruthlessness which which people of all ranks were treated. The book also reminded me that my life, compaired to that of my unknown ancestors, is so privileged. Thank you Barbara Tuchman and all who contributed to the amazing experience I had in listening to this book.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • An Utterly Impartial History of Britain

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By John O'Farrell
    • Narrated By John O'Farrell
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    Many of us were put off history by the dreary way it was taught at school. Back then 'The Origins of the Industrial Revolution' somehow seemed less compelling than the chance to test the bold claim on Timothy Johnson's 'Shatterproof' ruler. But here at last is a chance to have a good laugh and learn all that stuff you feel you really ought to know by now. Learn how Anglo-Saxon liberals struggled to be positive about immigration.

    Kirsty says: "An irreverent but relevant look at the past"
    "An irreverent but relevant look at the past"
    Overall

    Bravo Mr O'Farrell! This is truly a master work - I thought I knew British history as a 60's educated Scot but the detail here is so much more illuminating than we ever learned at school and university. I have listened twice now, and will go back again and again. This is history as it should be written - the past lives, not as a dull collection of facts about the long and not so long dead, but as a guidebook to our future, if only so that we don't endlessly make the same mistakes, generation after generation. However, despite groaning as yet another example of the lawmakers' follies was ruthlessly exposed, there is also hope as the ordinary people, despite the stupidity of the ruling classes of whatever hue, do seem to just get on with making the best they can of their lives and circumstances, whatever the century.
    As well as writing great text, the reading is first class - my only quibble is that while all the other accents are perfect, the Scots needs a little work...
    At time of writing, I'm downloading Utterly Exasperated - can I wait another ten minutes?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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