We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean | [John Julius Norwich]

The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean

A colorful account of the civilizations that rose and fell on the lands bordering the Mediterranean, The Middle Sea represents the culmination of a great historian’s unparalleled art and scholarship. John Julius Norwich provides brilliant portraits of the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the French, the Venetians, the Popes, and the pirates of the Gulf. Above all, he deftly traces the intermingling of ancient conflicts and modern sensibilities that shapes life today on the shores of the Middle Sea.
Regular Price:$39.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

This lively and dramatic book brings roaring to life the grand sweep of 5,000 years of history in the cradle of civilization.

A colorful account of the civilizations that rose and fell on the lands bordering the Mediterranean, The Middle Sea represents the culmination of a great historian’s unparalleled art and scholarship. John Julius Norwich provides brilliant portraits of the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the French, the Venetians, the Popes, and the pirates of the Gulf. Above all, he deftly traces the intermingling of ancient conflicts and modern sensibilities that shapes life today on the shores of the Middle Sea.

©2006 John Julius Norwich (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Norwich’s focus plays to his strengths as a military historian, and he produces, over six hundred pages, a highly readable chronicle." (The New Yorker)

"Norwich is irresistibly readable...superbly erudite yet having a sense of popular taste...A fine single-volume history suited to any collection." (Booklist)

“Norwich's history of the Mediterranean is a cause for celebration...A demonstration of his unrivaled narrative skills...No one planning a simple vacation by the wine-dark sea can afford to leave this book at home." (The Washington Post)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (17 )
5 star
 (3)
4 star
 (6)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
3.7 (17 )
5 star
 (5)
4 star
 (6)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (2)
Story
2.9 (17 )
5 star
 (2)
4 star
 (4)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Brian Abel Ragen St. Louis, MO USA 09-09-14
    Brian Abel Ragen St. Louis, MO USA 09-09-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Poor Reading of Review of Quick of Western Civ."

    Lord Norwich's account of the Mediterranean will disappoint readers of his histories of Venice, Byzantium, and Norman Italy, since it is a much more superficial run through of much the same territory, but one too spotty to do any part of the subject justice. As a quick review of the outlines of history once taught in "Western Civ." courses, however, it is not bad. The reading, however, will not serve those new to the subject well at all, since it may leave them thinking that many words, especially names, are pronounced in the eccentric ways in which Trivette renders them. Readers more familiar with the subject will simply find those blunders grating and distracting.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-31-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Worst Possible Narration "

    I had to stop listening to this book within the first chapter after the narrator, who has a grating Midwest American accent, so totally mispronounced important words that it became impossible to tolerate any longer. I deeply wish I could get my credit back in order to get another book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aryaman Shalizi 06-10-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting concept, but overall disappointing."

    I really liked the concept of this book, which is a "biography" of the cultures Mediterranean sea and their conflicts from antiquity to the end of the First World War. In places, it's a great story, full of interesting and colorful anecdotes. It suffers from two main faults, as I see it.

    First, after the fall of Rome, and certainly once he enters into the 19th century, Norwich shifts to an almost exclusive discussion of the various conflicts that swept across the Mediterranean littoral over the last 1000 years. While these are important, and have consequences we live with to this day, the shifting of borders and movements of armies doesn't translate well to audio. Moreover, after the fall of Rome he all but entirely drops the discussion of cultural developments, ethnic interactions, and social forces which had been discussed more thoroughly when dealing with the empires of antiquity. The Renaissance gets barely a mention, nor is there any discussion of the flow of knowledge and technologies across the Mediterranean.

    Second, the narrator is a huge distraction. I thought that "Alpha Trivette" was the name of a crappy text-to-speech program, but according to IMDB he is an actual actor of some sort. However, he has the most jarring delivery, often pausing at odd spots mid-sentence; I set the playback speed to 1.25x to smooth out the flow, which helped. Worse still, he has a tin ear for the pronunciation of, well, every other language spoken around the Mediterranean. For example, the Italian name Gugliermo is rendered "googly-ermo" rather than "gool-yer-mo," the Israeli port of Acre is rendered "ack-ree" rather than "aker," and on and on. I wish readers would check on the pronunciation of words they were unfamiliar with before jumping in and thoroughly mangling everything.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 08-12-15
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 08-12-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1457
    256
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    237
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "REALLY BAD NARRATOR"

    Does Audible.com even LISTEN to its product before they ask its Members to shell out credits or money? "The Middle Sea" is a history of the Mediterranean civilization going back 5,000 years. For some inexplicable reason, the book is narrated by a little known American actor named ALPHA TRIVETTE - yes, ALPHA TRIVETTE - who, like his name, sounds the stereotypical Sheriff of a small western town during the cowboy era. He stumbles and bumbles through the plethora of foreign names, locations and languages. After only 30 minutes of this hayseed massacre, I wanted Doc Holliday to take me up to Boot Hill and SHOOT me in my Tony Llamas! There's no way I could have made it through almost 30 HOURS!!! I enjoyed "Absolute Monarchs" by John Julius Norwich but it was narrated by the awesome Michael Page. Alpha may be an "actor" (at least, according to IMDB) but he is no narrator - I wouldn't listen to him reading "Lonesome Dove"!! You're a daisy if you waste money on this big ole bag o' fertilizer!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phyllis 04-27-14
    Phyllis 04-27-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A huge disappointment in every way"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    There is no sense of purpose or direction. The reader was terrible. I think it would require a complete re-do. it is the first and only Audible Book I truly disliked and could not finish.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Alpha Trivette’s performances?

    Never, if that is the name of the reader


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    June 08-26-14
    June 08-26-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A fascinating review of the Med"
    If you could sum up The Middle Sea in three words, what would they be?

    compelling, instructive, alluring


    What did you like best about this story?

    provided enough origin story on which to base the development of civilization in the Mediterranean. the history of the countries of the Med and the cultures moving through are fascinating because many of us trace our own origins to the area and most of us appreciate the contributions made to humankind evolving out of the Middle Sea.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    either my French and Italian teachers were all wrong, or this man does not have a good handle on phrases or place names.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    the longest movie ever filmed


    Any additional comments?

    please provide more audio books of John Julius Norwich' work

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.