This second volume covers A.D. 395 to A.D. 1185, from the reign of Justinian in the East to the establishment of the German Empire of the West. It recounts the desperate attempts to hold off the barbarians, palace revolutions and assassinations, theological controversy, and lecheries and betrayals, all in a setting of phenomenal magnificence.
(P)1992 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"[Gibbon] stood on the summit of the Renaissance achievement and looked back over the waste of history to ancient Rome, as from one mountain top to another." (Christopher Dawson)
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
There was some drudgery with the minor, post Constantine emperors. I was also not as excited by the HRE sections as I was by the sections on the Rise of Islam, the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, and the Crusades. Those sections alone are why I rated the second half 5 stars and not 4. Anyway, a fantastic read. Ironic to finish it right after S&P lowers our national credit rating and our senators again fail to do anything productive.
This exhaustive history is one of the best on the subject. Gibbon knew his material and gave us one of the greatest works about the long period that this history covers. Where this history might seem long and tedious in places, it is made up for by the numerous explanations of battles and descriptions of the cities and characters of the times. Where Gibbon sometimes seems to opinionated about the times and people, he gives reasons for this and helps the listener to understand the circumstances and ideas of the times. The narration is at times tedious as well. You get the idea that you are in a college lecture hall rather than listening to the reading of a book. Bernard Mayes does a good job with the material. Overall, I would recommend this set of volumes to anyone who is interested in the hisory of the world. Others will find this material tedious and boring at times. My advice? Give a listen and stick with this. You might find out some things that you didn't know and might find this history as extremely interesting as I have.
The story the author is telling is in itself fascinating and the point of view from which he tells it makes it even more interesting.
This is the weakest spot in the work. The narrator does not make voice shifts to differentiate the characters, and since this is a history work written in the third person that is not really to be expected.
A bit of both.
If you are not interested in the story this history wants to tell, do not get this book. It was not produced as entertainment, but as the author often says, to be instructive.
I have always wanted to read this book. It is almost as long as the whole Old and New Testament. However, using an audio book makes the job much easier. It can get dry in parts, but the history of the period from 180-1450 AD has many details that you cannot get without reading several hard to find books. I would only suggest this book to persons who are intense readers of history. Reading Suetonius, Livy and Tacitus before reading this book might be wise. That would give you some concept of the period 700BC-180AD in Roman history. What is most interesting is that Rome really took 1300 years to fall. Also, an clear understanding of the current East-West conflict goes all the way back to the days of Constantine. The players in the East-West conflict keep changing but the game started when Constantine divided the empire around 325 AD.This book is helpful in understanding the books of Daniel and Revelation in the Bible.
I enjoyed this tremendously. Some reviewers have been pretty hard on Mayes, but I'm really not sure why. I thought he did very well. He's not my favorite reader, nor even one of my favorites, but I'd give him a B+ at least and would certainly not hesitate to buy another of his recordings. As mentioned in the headline, the technical quality of the recording is mediocre (at best) which I would find a serious concern if I were listening to, say, the Berlin Philharmonic; but the quality here is more than adequate for this purpose and before long I did not notice it at all.
An avid reader, who also loves to listen.
probably not unless I read it as opposed to listening to it.
Any narrator aside from him would have made this better. Very boring
Yes it's a great story that already has been made into movies and series and they're all great.
This book was very informational but it was boring and dry and was just an overall hard book to listen to and get through.
This is obviously one of the most important western works of literature, and should be on the list of every serious reader. Unfortunately there are several major flaws with this rendition.
First and foremost, this is a very very poor, almost unlistenable recording. It is either very old and uncared for or it was just plain technically poor when recorded. Unless you have a tin ear it will be excruciating to endure it for long.
Second the reader has a very thick British accent and peculiar annunciation and timing. This, combined with the imperceptible mumbling lows and over modulated highs make this an unbearable recording.
Yet somehow, the absolute brilliance of the writing comes through.
It's just that it is so enormously fatiguing that I was unable to finish it.
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