During the European Renaissance, an age marked equally by revolutionary thought and constant warfare, it was armies, rather than philosophers, who shaped the modern European nation state. "Mobile cities" of mercenaries and other paid soldiers - made up of astonishingly diverse aggregations of ethnicities and nationalities - marched across the land, looting and savaging enemy territories.
In the 15th century, Poland hired German, Spanish, Bohemian, Hungarian, and Scottish soldiers. Later, Sweden fought in Muscovy with Irish, English, Scottish, French, and German troops. Units of Croats, Germans, Walloons, Albanians, and especially Swiss, served in French armies. In the Netherlands, Italians and Spaniards fought beside Irishmen, Germans, Dalmatians, and Walloons. Regiments of Swiss pikemen fought for Spain, France, and Venice, as well as for German and Italian princes. Companies of Poles, Hungarians, and Croatians fought in German regiments.
Growing national economies, unable to pay or feed massed armies for any length of time, thus became war states, an early nationalism which would later consume modern Europe. Furies: War in Europe, 1450-1700, by acclaimed historian of the Renaissance Lauro Martines, compellingly and simply delivers the story of modern Europe's martial roots, capturing the brutality of early modern war and how it shaped the history of a continent.
©2013 Lauro Martines (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
From Lauro Martines, yes. From Simon Brooks, no.
A brilliant book with a clown of a narrator. Bad enough that the narrator couldn't master common place names (Genoa, Lombardy, Perugia, etc.) his mispronunciation of simple English words was even more jarring. Martines is a first-rate scholar: he deserves better.
Audible needs to screen its narrators.
First, the good. The book is a serious attempt to view war from the perspective of those who experienced it. It is very much not a story about great men - they are mentioned but not dwelt on. Instead the author draws on diaries and accounts of events in towns and villages and the countryside during a war and does an excellent job of conveying the horribleness of war's effect on the population. He clearly has a point of view and expresses it, but it's hard to listen to many of the truly awful accounts he quotes and not sympathize.
Now for the bad. The narrator is awful. I have listened to many books and have suffered through some bad narrators, but this is on an entirely new level. He seems incapable of pronouncing words correctly. A few examples I noted today during about 1.5 hours of listening.
Cill-ih-see-ah - for the location Silesia (Sigh-lee-see-ah or Sigh-lee-zha)
Back-ill-us - for the word "bacillus"
Nah-vair for "Navarre"
Cath-lick-ism for "Catholicism"
Veh-nal for "venal"
If I could give the performance 0 stars I would. I wish I'd purchased the e-book or the physical book. I would probably come back and re-read it, but I definitely can't listen to this reading of this book again
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