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)
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
No. The information was interesting, but way too detailed. Could be vastly improved by being abridged,
Ok, but her voice went up and down, and I could not catch everything she was saying
didn't think it measured up to the great reviews this book has gotten. The author is not a medievalist historian and has written other very popular books on Vietnam war and World war 1.
just don't think she could have done anything other than not write it as it is not really her subject and was best left alone I think for her.
she is a great narrator,,,I don't have any complaints over her narration
One of my favorite. Captivating like a novel and documented like a scholarly book.
The pest epidemics and its deep consequences on the social and political events of the century.
Great energy throughout this dense and complicated book.
Not really, it is too long and detailed !
Nadia May delivers a great performance as long as she sticks to English. Unfortunately her French pronunciation is not very good and, as a native French speaker, I struggled to understand the French quotations or the name of some French locations.
World Champion Parallel Parker
This is the second time I've "read" this book and listening to it gives a different dimension. Impressive historian, impressive sourcing and incisive pattern-finding. I'm not a historian but it seems to me there's been a lot of "medieval times were not so backward" going around, like "they discovered X and did Y, etc." but . . . well . . . really?
Not better, just different. I like to listen to these fascinating books while i garden or drive so this was perfect for me.
Way too much range in loudness and pace. She would drop into these low pitch, fast paced, quieter sections i couldn't hear. It was incredibly frustrating. I listen to many audiobooks and i have never found a narrator more frustrating.
Amazing author, wish the narration was better.
YES. The narrative is a mess at the start - but the material is EXCELLENT. I've read this multiple times and loved it each time.
If you have an interest in the middle ages, and particularly in the social history of that time period, you absolutely have to read this book.
We are all familiar with the history books which describe the major battles of a particular time period or which concentrates on the political machinations. This book does this as well but with so much more.
If you want to learn how people dressed, what they ate, how much they were paid, how religion and war influenced their lives, what they died of etc, etc, then get this book now.
The best bit is that Barbara Tuchman doesn't just concentrate on the nobility. She covers all stratas of society from peasants to clerics, from dukes to brigands.
Some reviews have complained that this book spends too much time on the minutiae of daily life, but personally I think that this is the book's strongest point.
You actually get to know how people "really" lived during the 14th century.
The book does concentrate almost exclusively on western Europe, imparticular France. However, as so much of what happened in the 14th century centred around decisions and actions taken in what is now present day France this is perfectly understandable.
There is excellent coverage of the Black Death, the Papal Schism and of course the 100 years war.
We get a fascinating insight into how religion influenced daily life and what people actually believed and how much of that belief was actually practised.
Believe me, if you thought some of the scandals surrounding the Catholic church in the last few years were bad, you will be sobered when you here what they were up to during this time period.
My advice is not to get hung up on trying to remember all of the names of people and places covered in the book. Many of the names are similar and keeping track of interlinking families and alliances can often be tricky.
As long as you can keep track of the main characters its probably ok to let the rest just flow over you ... while you just enjoy absorbing the interesting titbits of information we are given along the way.
Personally I think the narration by Nadia May is the best ... note that a second version of the book is available from audible which is narrated by a different person.
There is no doubt that this book contains a massive amount of information. Some might find this daunting, but if you are really interested in life during the middle ages then you will lap it all up.
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