Beginning with its Paleolithic origins and the early civilizations of the Aegean, Roberts traces the development of the European identity over the course of thousands of years, ranging across empires and religions, economics, science, and the arts. Antiquity, the age of Christendom, the Middle Ages, early modern history, and the old European order are all surveyed in turn, with particular emphasis given to the turbulent 20th century.
©1996 J. M. Roberts; (P)2003 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"A lucid, convincing introductory guide, certainly the best such summation currently available." (Kirkus Reviews)
"The appearance of A History of Europe by J.M. Roberts is...timely and welcome." (New York Times Book Review)
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The narrator is so bad it’s almost comical. It was so distracting that I gave up on this book a few times always with the intention to try again later, but there’s no point – I know I won’t bother! It’s officially abandoned.
Too bad because I like the subject matter, but I have a bunch of other books that can fill that void.
As a lifelong academic and lover of history, I cringe inside when someone says that history is boring because all it is is names and dates and "this happened then that happened in this year and that year, test on Monday." History is about the uncovering of the past, and finding the truth and what it means for us. Real history is about interpreting and collecting evidence, and telling a compelling and useful story. Real history is so much more than names and dates, it is supposed to inform us of truths about the human condition by examining people in different times and places.
This book, however, is "history" in the boring sense that so many think history is. No interpretive work is done, no attempt is made to form a more personal narrative, and if you payed attention in your high school World History course, this book is not likely to tell you anything new. My fear is that people more open-minded about history will be turned off by this book if it is the first one that they listen to. There are many great histories out there. This is not one of them.
The content of this book is probably quite good, but the narration -- in a nasal, condescending British accent -- destroys interest. Whomever told the narrator they could be a reader did a real dis-service to Audible listeners.
The narration was so annoying, I finally gave up after an hour. Perhaps I will try it again another time, but I regret this purchase.
I am disappointed with this book because it doesn't deliver a satisfying experience of history. The author does not provide enough examples and names to make the history come alive. He will state some generalities about something and then provide no examples. For instance, he may say that the Germans were having difficulties forming a nation, but gives only passing information about any details that actually took place. Napoleon and others seem like only footnotes that do not require much discussion. I am still listening, but I will stop when I reach the 20th century, I didn't feel I could totally waste my credit, but I hope I can save others the trouble.
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