Barbara Tuchman reveals both the great rhythms of history and the grain and texture of domestic life as it was lived. Here are the guilty passions, loyalties and treacheries, political assassinations, sea battles and sieges, corruption in high places and a yearning for reform, satire and humor, sorcery and demonology, and lust and sadism on the stage. Here are proud cardinals, beggars, feminists, university scholars, grocers, bankers, mercenaries, mystics, lawyers, and tax collectors, and, dominating all, the knight in his valor and "furious follies", a "terrible worm in an iron cocoon".
©1978 Barbara W. Tuchman; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Beautifully written, careful, and thorough in its scholarship....What Ms. Tuchman does superbly is to tell how it was....No one has ever done this better." (New York Review of Books)
"Barbara Tuchman at the top of her powers....A beautiful, extraordinary book....She has done nothing finer." (Wall Street Journal)
The book is amazing and does a great job of depicting the 14th (1300s) century in Europe ... a time of emerging social consciousness, the plague, Crusades, knights and kings, etc. The author works from original sources and pieces together from these sources a picture of what life was like during these times.
I HATE the British accent. The author is American and I would much prefer to listen to a book containing facts, foreign names, etc. read by a native American speaking reader. There were just too many times when I didn't catch what the reader was saying because of the accent.
The same as the tagline of the book: The Calamitous 14th Century
Get another reader for this book and redo it in American English. At the very least, make it clear to people who purchase the audio that the reader is British.
Tuchman has the rare ability to make readers feel as if they are actually living in history. That ability is on display in this book, which took me into the reality of the Middle Ages as no other book has. Reading this book, you will learn that romantic fantasies like Game of Thrones bear little reality to the squalid, violent, chaotic reality. Life in Medieval Europe really was, as Hobbes described it, "nasty, brutish, and short." The 14th century was the point when it all came crashing down - when the repeated blows of plague, famine, and war knocked the struts out from under the rotting edifice of European feudalism. The following 500 years, of course, saw Europe's amazing rise - but to understand the magnitude of that rise, it helps to start at the bottom. And this book describes the bottom.
I had a difficult time following the book at time and had to rewind because I would miss something. I'm not sure why though. Nadia May does an ok job.
Definitely! This is a very accessible look into a much over-looked period history. I came in with only the vaguest idea of this time in European history but I found myself quickly engaged.
The Battle of Nicopolis sticks out to me because of its world-shifting consequences - unknown and unseen at the time. As the author rightly points out, Fall of Constantinople is often considered the end of an era; however, the real turning point was this battle. The following half-century was just the death throes of that world.
I have not listened to any of Ms. May's performances but I would gladly do so again. Her voice is clear, pleasant, and well-modulated. Her pace is very comfortable.
I would have loved to do that, however, the book is entirely too long for that.
stunning, grand, poignant
ms tuchman does a spendid job of braiding together many diverse and complicated bits of history into a consice and very human narrative. the good, the bad, the accidentlly successful and failures, the purposefully succesful and failures of the period are presented in a very sane fashion. human behavior is human behavior. doesn't seem to matter which century one is born.
people great and small are still making the same decisions for the same reasons. change the names of individuals, nations, and causes and your are left with today's headlines.
this is a very enjoyable and sobering book.
the narration is very well done. no odd pauses. nice posh accent. one item that i found amusing. ms may pronounces the word "joust" "juiced". the first time i heard it i realized what the word was supposed to be and realized it was just a different pronounciation at the same time i was trying to figure out why the possible intoxication of the particpants was being mentioned. one might want to be "juiced" before participating in a tournament however.
a panaramic epic ripped from today's headlines!
i have read other works by ms tuchman and this is by far the best. very good read. should be required in all high school lit classes
I am a fan of the author's approach to history and her delivery. The reader is pleasant and does a very good job in giving the words life they deserve.
Its one of the better survey books on history I have read thus far (by survey I mean its not focused on a specific event or specialty (military, social, etc)). The author is a good writer and incorporates sources well, the books doesn't spew out events and names at you, but really gives you an idea of the life at the time and in some cases the personalities involved in the events. A very useful and clear narrative full of life.
This book has been perennially popular since it was first issued. I finally read it. Author Barbara Tuchman paints a vivid picture of life in the 14th century, during the black plague, Hundred Year' War, the disastrous crusades and the decline of the chivalric age. Also fascinating was the reclamation of the story Engerrand VII, Lord of Coucy, an extraordinarily important noble who navigated admirably in complicated times, and who would otherwise have been forgotten to history. In the telling, we see much of this age through Engerrand de Coucy's eyes. The female narrator speaks clearly, with a British accent and excellent French pronounciation.
If you're interested in Medieval history you will love this book! Even if you're just a fan of Medieval fantasy, this book is for you.
Barbara Tuchman does a great job of stating facts without bogging down the story. Her way of intertwining quotes from 14th century sources in mid-sentences really keeps the book feeling authentic. It's not just Tuchman's voice we hear, but the voices of many Medieval chroniclers.
Nadia May makes listening to this book like sitting in as a British school teacher reads to her class with marvelous enthusiasm. She couldn't have a more perfect voice to speak of castles, knights, jousts and courtly love.
"A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by associating with smarter people."
Just as one would expect from Barbara Tuchman the book is incredibly researched and well written but it is more suited to someone with a serious interest in this time period. A listener with an interst in just a little non fiction entertainment will find this book hard to follow because the great detail and many characters and unfamiliar settings. . The performance is very good
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