A Needle in the Right Hand of God Audiobook | R. Howard Bloch | Audible.com
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A Needle in the Right Hand of God | [R. Howard Bloch]

A Needle in the Right Hand of God

The Bayeux Tapestry is the world's most famous textile: an exquisite 230-foot-long embroidered panorama depicting the events surrounding the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is also one of history's most mysterious and compelling works of art. This haunting stitched account of the battle that redrew the map of medieval Europe has inspired dreams of theft, waves of nationalism, visions of limitless power, and esthetic rapture.
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Publisher's Summary

The Bayeux Tapestry is the world's most famous textile: an exquisite 230-foot-long embroidered panorama depicting the events surrounding the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is also one of history's most mysterious and compelling works of art. This haunting stitched account of the battle that redrew the map of medieval Europe has inspired dreams of theft, waves of nationalism, visions of limitless power, and esthetic rapture. In his fascinating new audiobook, Yale professor R. Howard Bloch reveals the history, the hidden meaning, the deep beauty, and the enduring allure of this astonishing piece of cloth.

Bloch opens with a gripping account of the event that inspired the Tapestry: the swift, bloody Battle of Hastings, in which the Norman bastard William defeated the Anglo-Saxon king Harold and laid claim to England under his new title, William the Conqueror. But to truly understand the connection between battle and embroidery, one must retrace the web of international intrigue and scandal that climaxed at Hastings. Bloch demonstrates how, with astonishing intimacy and immediacy, the artisans who fashioned this work of textile art brought to life a moment that changed the course of British culture and history.

Every age has cherished the Tapestry for different reasons and read new meaning into its enigmatic words and images. French nationalists in the mid-nineteenth century, fired by the Tapestry┬┐s evocation of military glory, unearthed the lost French epic "The Song of Roland", which Norman troops sang as they marched to victory in 1066. As the Nazis tightened their grip on Europe, Hitler sent a team to France to study the Tapestry, decode its Nordic elements, and, at the end of the war, with Paris under siege, bring the precious cloth to Berlin.

©2006 R. Howard Bloch; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

What the Critics Say

"With estimable clarity and evident enthusiasm, Bloch delivers variety, surprise, and understanding for history readers." (Booklist)
"The tapestry, now in a museum in Bayeux, brings history to life, and Bloch's splendid account does the same for the tapestry itself." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (36 )
5 star
 (9)
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 (12)
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4.6 (10 )
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Story
4.0 (10 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jody R. Nathan Tulsa, OK USA 11-13-07
    Jody R. Nathan Tulsa, OK USA 11-13-07 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard to get the picture"

    I have listened to books about art before; but this one, while competently narrated, and while apparently well researched and written, was difficult to follow. Even using various on-line sources for viewing the Bayoux tapestry, I was lost most of the time. At points in the text, there are references to specific images in specific panels, and I found no good way to follow along. The tapestry is 230 feet long (nearly 80 yards!) and viewing it online was simply not very satisfactory. Parts of the story, however, do not really require following the tapestry. The tapestry tells the story of the Battle of Hastings, (1066) where William of Normandy conquered the English King Harold. The book tells what is known of the tapestry; explains some of the artwork; notes that it is the source of much of the written history of the battle. There is also some interesting history of the tapestry itself, such as the fact that the Germans were interested in it during World War II to show that the Germans had a historical right to Britain. Other facts, such as when it was made and by whom are the subject of much debate.

    I enjoyed much of the book, and think I would have enjoyed it more had I a decent copy of the tapestry to follow along with.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie-Elizabeth Scottsdale, AZ, United States 07-25-09
    Marie-Elizabeth Scottsdale, AZ, United States 07-25-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating!"

    already familiar with the tapestry, i enjoyed the heck out of this audio book! the author covers historical events depicted, as well as background information, technical aspects of the tapestry's construction, controversies regarding the origin of the piece, the importance of the piece as history itself, and the role it has played in international politics into the 20th century. i found it to be a fascinating and enriching journey, and well read. thank you!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anja Schmidt Denmark 08-12-12
    Anja Schmidt Denmark 08-12-12 Member Since 2006

    k11923

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting account of history"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would certainly recommend it to someone interested in history. The author brings together a lot of small pieces of history and arceology to paint a very thorough picture of the tapastry and the history behind it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The piecing together of very small parts of a great puzzle.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator was awfull, indeed. I think other reveiws also pointed that out. It took me a couple of hours' reading to adapt to that diction. It annoyed me.
    It sounded like he was reading from a long long list and was terribly tired of having to do so.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Miller Caroga Lake, NY USA 07-09-12
    Jim Miller Caroga Lake, NY USA 07-09-12 Member Since 2005
    ratings
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    Story
    "Detailed and far-ranging"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A focused history of the Bayeux tapestry, in the larger context of French and English history, and national identity. Well-read.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Union, NJ, United States 08-15-10
    Richard Union, NJ, United States 08-15-10
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    "Needs to be seen and not just heard"

    The book was very interesting, but much of it describes the Tapestry. Without being able to see the illustration, it was hard to follow the description. This is a book that needs to be seen and not just heard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Bartness 03-20-09
    B. Bartness 03-20-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Very Painful Audio Book"

    It was quite an effort for me to simply finish listening to the entire book. I would say about 30 percent of the book describes the tapestry itself and the rest talks about the history surrounding the tapestry.

    When dealing with the tapestry itself, it is impossible to correlate what the book is talking about to my small scale print out of the tapestry. The listener is not able to make any connections between the book and tapestry itself. It also does not help that author describes the tapestry in complete random order. He keeps talking about panels, and the listener has no basis to make a connection.

    The author does have a passion for the tapestry, which is enjoyable. I have no idea why someone thought this book would make a good audio book. It did make interested enough to learn the difference between an embroidery and a tapestry and a few other points in the book.

    I did want to learn more about the tapestry and I purchased the book "The Bayeux Tapestry" by David M Wilson. This book has half scale color pictures (10" tall) that show all of the beautiful details of the tapestry including the stitching. It is vastly superior to even the images found on the internet.

    I suggest skipping this painful audio book, and purchasing the impressive real book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results
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  • Anthony Constable
    Lancaster, England
    3/9/11
    Overall
    "A 50/50 thing..."

    Half of this book for me was enjoyable. The other half, largely tedious. This dividing line comes when the author moves from the historical/political/cultural and on to the details of the stitching, the cloth and the manual techniques involved. This to some extent is interesting, but within this book for me it went on for too long.

    Either way, a good book with many interesting ideas. Would be 4* if it was edited for about 1 hours boredom.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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