In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh’s army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians. The thriving economy and cultures of the late second millennium B.C., which had stretched from Greece to Egypt and Mesopotamia, suddenly ceased to exist, along with writing systems, technology, and monumental architecture. But the Sea Peoples alone could not have caused such widespread breakdown. How did it happen?
In this major new account of the causes of this "First Dark Ages", Eric Cline tells the gripping story of how the end was brought about by multiple interconnected failures, ranging from invasion and revolt to earthquakes, drought, and the cutting of international trade routes. Bringing to life the vibrant multicultural world of these great civilizations, he draws a sweeping panorama of the empires and globalized peoples of the Late Bronze Age and shows that it was their very interdependence that hastened their dramatic collapse and ushered in a dark age that lasted centuries.
A compelling combination of narrative and the latest scholarship, 1177 B.C. sheds new light on the complex ties that gave rise to, and ultimately destroyed, the flourishing civilizations of the Late Bronze Age - and that set the stage for the emergence of classical Greece.
©2014 Eric H. Cline. Published by Princeton University Press. (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
A very thorough and expansive analysis of the theories and factors that led to the collapse of civilization in the late Bronze Age. This not my field of study but I found it fascinating.
Didn't read the print version.
Yes.The subject is outside the general realm of even some who are fairly well educated in history. These are the stories that lead up to the beginning the direction modern civilization has taken. As such, they enhance our understanding of people and events before the time frame when most of us are in at least somewhat familiar territory.
A good reader -- and Caploe is a very good one -- is able to be make the words on the page his own and to tell the story rather than reading the script. That's what happens here. Good writing is meant to be heard. One thing we do when we read is to translate vision into "hearing." A good reader can help us skip the intermediate step.
No, Too complex. As a matter of fact, I kind of wished I had some charts, timelines, etc. to look back at.
It's hard to tick off a history buff, but this one brought back recurring nightmares from that Ancient History course. Egyptians, Minoans and Hittites were the easy ones…
This should never have been an audio book--especially with the terrible narrator and his golly-gee intonations. I plowed on courageously through half the book, then just chucked it.
A waste of time and money for me.
I was disappointed by the lack of supporting information. Where is the evidence to support assertions regarding climate? Where is the data on dusts and pollens in lakebed muds and regional glaciers? Where is the supporting evidence in preserved woods from the regions?
Were there any economists involved or consulted in the research for this book, because economics were discussed. Extra-regional migrations or population shifts were hinted at, yet that was not discussed at length. If that is significant, it needs further research.
The author focuses on individual leaders/kings/envoys who are supposed to drive whole cultures and economies, and does not satisfactorily delve into the contributions of lesser individuals/groups/cultures/religions of an area which have a more significant impact on the flow of goods and services.
This book has no insights into the history and talks little of the collapse of civilization.
It has little to do with the title. It sounds like a continual recitation of silly ancient names, like reading all the begats in the Bible. It recounts some facts but does little to give a historical perspective.
Andy Caploe is a very professional narrator with a well modulated speaking voice, but he is not a good choice for this book. He would be better suited selling reverse mortgages to seniors or counting down the pop top 40. His tone is overacted interestedness, which does not come across as genuine and sounds like he is reading the book to 3rd graders.
This book makes you realize that a good historian does more than tell what happened. This could have been a good book in the hands of a better historian.
I would like a refund, please.
Say something about yourself!
When I first saw the printed volume, I was happy to see that it was also available as an audiobook. The historical subject is one I have not heard of before and so I quickly downloaded it and started listening. I was disappointed fairly quickly.
If you are not intimately familar with the subject, the names for the ancient kingdoms and entities are completely new to you. The author does go to some troubles to help you over this hurdle. However, without a scorecard immediately at hand, it is hard to remember the names of the players.
The narrator is fairly good but sometimes I felt it was a lecture for high school students.
I will not download any of the follow on books in the series - this one was a bit too painful
J. L. Smith
I think Cline is really onto a key idea that explains the great shift from the Bronze to Iron Ages. Cline is a better speaker than writer - if you see any of his 1 hour talks on YouTube, you'll get just as much out of it as the entire book, maybe more. The weakness the book keeps trying to be too academic and name every archeological site and discovery, including the archaeologists for those sites until you get lost in the process.
2 suggestions for Dr Clines next book: remove half the book by taking out the academic discussion of each site and each discovery - that will cut your material in half. Now, replace that material with more general discussion of life in each of the empires: Egyptian, Hittite, etc. with how those economies worked independent and traded together. Finally, show how the changes in government, technology, industry, etc. changed from the Bronze to Iron Age. Then you'll have a Bronze to Iron Age transition book as good as Jim Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.
I read another reviewing describe exactly my difficulty with this book, namely that I could not for the life of me stay engaged. Every two sentences I would need to actively recommit myself, then stray. I didn't mind the narrator's performance, it was actually what sold me on the book. I would be hard pressed to point to the problem, but feel perhaps that the writing is simultaneously far too detailed and not enough. It just starts in at you with myriad names and dates but fails to help you anchor them which a sense of time, geography, or personality. Perhaps I have been spoiled by long format lecture series which explore a single topic exhaustively, which ground a reader with a solid, multifaceted understanding of the subject, so they walk away able to educatedly and independently glean insights, juxtapositions, and overarching themes. Sadly, I never felt immersed by this book, and for what I already know of the subject recognized this book only ever to skim the surface and rapidly move on.
The material is quite interesting. Although it's admirable that Cline doesn't jump to a lot of unsupported conclusions, his final chapter is completely tied up in wishy-washy caveats ("it might be possible to conclude... on the other hand... nonetheless..."); ultimately it feels like an unsatisfying anticlimax.
As others have noted, his ridiculous sing-song inflections sound like the forced enthusiasm of a kindergarten teacher. A number of oddball pronunciations are also distracting and grating (megeee...ddo for Megiddo, AY-leet for elite)...
I'm quitting this book just a few chapters after its beginning, so this review may be unfair. I can't spend any more of my time waiting for the story to improve. The subject could be very interesting, but as presented in this book, it is dry and boring. Too many names, too many dull details and worst of all, too much speculation.
It failed to capture and hold my interest. The boredom factor and the inappropriate narrator did me in.
The narrator's style didn't suit the story. He was overly emotive to the point of sounding silly at times, and occasionally sounded patronizing, like he was talking to children. If he were on a stage he could be accused of overacting. Perhaps he was trying to compensate for the desiccated material. If so, he was not successful.
A reader familiar with this period of history might find the book more appealing. I had hoped the book would help me become more familiar with that era, but I was too put off to enjoy this author's journey. Also, given the deluge of foreign names and dates and the overload of speculation, this book might be best enjoyed in printed form, which would make it easier for a reader to keep track, or refer back to past comments.
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