As a period piece about my adopted country, this gives insight into the reasons the Depression years left such scars on the generation that lived through it. The raw racism and sexism is quite shocking to my ears tuned as they are to the politically correct censorship of my generation. For someone trying to understand the attitudes of many of those now in their eighties and nineties, this book would be a very good start.
For the most part I find myself concerned about the fate of the characters, both those who are centre stage and the bit players. There is also the feel there is nothing exaggerated but while names may be changed, everything was experienced by the writer who made such a journey.
The attempt at Angus's accent is a quite unacceptable mish-mash of Irish and Scottish and almost made me fast forward. Also, the descriptive passages are read with a genteel English intonation - a more robust Australian accent would have been far more authentic and would not have left the listener with the feeling that the true voice of the author is not being allowed to come through.
I love the history but am really quite uninterested in where the picnics happened, or which restaurants were eaten in. In this respect, I found the juxtaposition of personal preference for one diner over another very distracting. However, I used the historical information to plan a number of day trips when I was staying in Paris. I feel there should be two editions and I would prefer the abridged one with the non historical detail taken out.
Also purchased Roads to the Past (hard copy) and used it as the basis for exploring the Loire
Some of her French pronunciation was difficult
Visited a number of the places after listening - including Chartres and Vincennes, and are planning quite a number of others in our next trip
Informative, engaging, and memorable
I listened to this download while traveling in France for six weeks. It is a fantastic series of lectures, and helps get both historical and modern Europe in focus. The professor is engaging, full of humanity, and I am far more confident now of both the linear history and the intertwining strands through the continent. I hope there is another series coming from Professor Fix.
Recommended for people who may be touring Europe and looking at historical sites - they will get so much more out of the trip
This appears to gave been written by a person in a rage and almost makes one think he doth protest too much. As a person who is not into any particular religion, and as I am not a citizen of the US am happy to describe myself as atheist or agnostic, and yes I do know they are different, I believed this would be a thoughtful work which I could learn about the historical basis for the rise of Christianity and why it was adopted by so many different societies. Instead I got a polemic which really should have been delivered as a personal diatribe - the author just had to get it out of his system. I did not have to listen, and gave up about Chapter 5. The worst book I have ever purchased
Self indulgent, should not have been for public consumption
I am fascinated by the topic of the millennium which started during the Roman Empire and after its collapse, seemed to be a confused mess of Huns, Goths and Vandals. This author sheds light on what has been called the Dark Ages and brings to life the people and the ebb and flow of the societies which lived in Europe during the period. There is some repetition - my attention span is not so short that I needed to be reminded of the parallels with some 20th century events, which seemed to me to happen fairly frequently. However the attention to detail and scholarship of the author is amazing.
The performance needed a really good editor and some instruction for the narrator, however. I doubt if too many English peasants set sail for America in the 7th(sic) century. The first syllable in Pyrenees rhymes with fir, not fire, at least every time I have heard it said. I presume the word the author meant was 'denuded' not 'denunded' which I have not found in any dictionary. If such frequent errors could be corrected, it would certainly improve the experience, from which they currently detract. I am not a particularly pedantic or critical listener but the errors grate.
The sections which mention areas of northern France (Loire etc) as I am about to visit the area and will look at it this time with an enhanced awareness of its history and see the chateaux and their surroundings in the context of a much longer time span than previously. This book is helping me fill in the gaps in my knowledge of european society between Roman times and approximately 1000AD.
Please let me know when the errors have been corrected - I think the author is owed this attention.
This is the most delightful book, along with its sequel, in my audio library. Michael reveals himself bravely to the world and comes across as an altogether delightful person. It is truly wonderful in this day and age of rage against circumstance to find a writer who tells of his joy of living in the everyday. He imparts his gratitude for having the ability to choose and live the way he wants to, not in a mawkish count your blessings way, but imparts to the reader with great story telling skills, humour and occasional pathos that he has achieved his ambition and is delighted with it. His grass is greener, he is having his cake and eating it, and is content - a rare thing for the modern human, it seems.As an annual visitor to France, I find the behaviour of his compatriots the most unappealing thing about the country so applaud his respect for his adopted country and its citizens - no anecdotes about simpleton artisans just because they speak another language and have different ways of doing things.Truly a great find and a great person to spend many hours with - I was very glad he read the books himself.
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