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A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century | [Barbara Tuchman]

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (15 )
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4.7 (13 )
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4.1 (13 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joshua Spring Mills, PA, United States 01-19-14
    Joshua Spring Mills, PA, United States 01-19-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A classic history"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita San Francisco, CA, United States 10-15-13
    Anita San Francisco, CA, United States 10-15-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Great book, but read too fast"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JSK Charlotte 01-22-14
    JSK Charlotte 01-22-14 Member Since 2013
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    "A Favorite"
    What did you love best about A Distant Mirror?

    Impressive detail from diverse sections of 14th century society gives the book wonderful perspective.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Distant Mirror?

    The historical geographic view of the Black Death is fascinating.


    What does Aviva Skell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She certainly can pronounce the French names much better than I.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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