The Bubonic Plague of the 14th century killed one third of all human beings in Europe and Western Asia; many who survived the plague killed each other in the Hundred Years War that followed. What was it like to live in this calamitous century, when knighthood (and much more) died a violent death? Find out.
©1978 Barbara W. Tuchman (P)1984 Recorded Books
I really enjoy Barbara Tuchman's work. To listen is to be immersed in14th century Europe, where knights are bold, vicious, arrogant, conniving, sometimes not very bright, and very dangerous. The church is all about power and control, holding souls hostage to a harsh God, ransoming them for material gain. Villages are wiped off the map by the Black Death in a matter of weeks. Riveting!
But, I can't wholeheartedly recommend this performance. The reader does a reasonable job, but her pace is not mine. A slower, slightly more relaxed reading would make this book even more engrossing. I must say that I've enjoyed this title in spite of the narrator, she reads just a little too fast for me. If I were to recommend this book, I'd recommend a version by a different narrator.
Barbara Tuchman is an awesome historian and writer and I've never before read anything like this book. I bought the kindle version in order to re-read it in parts that were simply too quickly read for adequate comprehension. It is extremely dense with information--many, many names, places, and dates. In addition to going too fast (and barely, if at all pausing between paragraphs), I found the narrator's pronunciation of French names a little distracting. Sometimes it was perfect, sometimes half-right, and sometimes completely off, e.g. "Reims." But if you don't speak French you won't notice the mispronunciations. On the other hand, I would imagine that it would be very hard to keep the names straight without any knowledge of the language.
The content describing life in fourteenth century France was absolutely fascinating.
Impressive detail from diverse sections of 14th century society gives the book wonderful perspective.
The historical geographic view of the Black Death is fascinating.
She certainly can pronounce the French names much better than I.
This book, which won an additional Pulitzer for Tuchman, is history at its very best. I have read this book before, but was delighted to find that even in the audio version it was just as difficult to put down (or pause). Good books about the early Middle Ages in Europe are hard to find; but even though this may be the best title on the subject, this is still a great book no matter the reader's favorite genre.
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