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Publisher's Summary

Here is a masterpiece of historical narrative that stretches from the Ice Age to the Atomic Age, as it tells the story of Europe, East and West.  

Norman Davies captures it all - the rise and fall of Rome, the sweeping invasions of Alaric and Atilla, the Norman Conquests, the Papal struggles for power, the Renaissance and the Reformation, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Europe's rise to become the powerhouse of the world, and its eclipse in our own century, following two devastating World Wars.  

This is the first major history of Europe to give equal weight to both East and West, and it shines light on fascinating minority communities, from heretics and lepers to Gypsies, Jews, and Muslims. It also takes an innovative approach, combining traditional narrative with unique features that help bring history alive: 299 time capsules scattered through the narrative capture telling aspects of an era, and 12 snapshots offer a panoramic look at all of Europe at a particular moment in history. All told, Davies's Europe represents one of the most important and illuminating histories to be published in recent years.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©1996, 1997 Norman Davies (P)2019 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A master of broad-brushstroke synthesis, Davies navigates through the larger historical currents with the detail necessary to a well-written engaging narrative." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Europe

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great, But It Is an Overview

I needed to revisit an overall history of Europe in order to access more recent scholarship in the subject areas that I no longer spend time studying. Davies' Europe served this purpose well. I would recommend it also for anyone who would like to get a solid overview of the course of European history. However, go in knowing that it is a survey level study and do not expect sufficient explanation supporting many of Davies' interpretations. This is simply an affectation of this level of coverage.

My own interpretations of the events and flow of European history differ much from the author's. And there are areas where Davies didn't really stretch for ballance between the differing views. He also tends to oversimplify views which he does not subscribe to. That is somewhat unfortunate but is unavoidable to a certain degree.

In my read of study, I found much to question and disagree with. Again though, this is a survey level study. Davies' idea to present those focuses upon particular events or persons in between the Chapter themes worked wonderfully in communicating the historical context of each period.

This book is worth the listen and I probably will listen to it number of times. I will also make use of the more recent secondary sources Davies discussed.

17 people found this helpful

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My Favorite Historian

I have read the paperbound version of this book many times and have been waiting a long time for the creation of an audio version. Mr. Davies has a wonderful way of telling history with an enthusiasm that never feels tedious or dry. Other historians write laboriously accurate scholarly assessments of the agreed upon past, while Mr Davies gives the reader his version- no less true - of the story of European history. "A" history, not "the" history of Europe.he pulls off this feat magnificently. i never once got the feeling that even HE was bored writing it', let alone caring how the reader felt. Furthermore, i can't think of a better choice than Derek Perkins voice to narrate this excellent book.

62 people found this helpful

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A lot of everything all in one place

From the Ice Age to 1996 is an overwhelming task but Davies pulls it off without being too superficial or too involved. The Author is fair and balanced even with the bad guys and the good guys are not always so good. Good starting point for a young historian to gain perspective before becoming involved in specific historical periods or peoples. Never boring and narration was excellent.

10 people found this helpful

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Not what I expected

I expected a chronological story as described. I’m several hours in and it hasn’t happened. Instead it moves between countries from early to modern, back and forth. Just wasn’t what I expected and unfortunately I cannot return this one-I can’t do another 40 hours of it

9 people found this helpful

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Not enough focus on individuals

Davies gives only a paragraph to Peter the Great, Catherine, Frederick, and Queen Victoria.... but doesnt shut up about the Balkans or the jéws... He brushes over the interesting in favor of the banal. It seems that after he covers the napoleonic wars he is in a big hurry to get to ww1 and ww2 that he fails to give Queen Vic the love she deserves. what a waste.

6 people found this helpful

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A thoroughly scattered mess. What a bore.

I guess everything is covered...? but it's all so brief and boring that nothing really stands out. I hope I never try to endure this a second time.

4 people found this helpful

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best history of Europe ever

This history is not complete. It does not discuss many traditional topics. However, It does include much information not found anywhere else. Most importantly, it reads like a story and not like a chronology.

9 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Blah blah blah

It goes on and on and says nithing. What a waste of time. Don't bother with this one.

3 people found this helpful

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Well narrated conservative history of Europe

Great narration of a scholarly book which was not best suited to an audio format. As Davis explains at the start, the book does not have a completely linear thread. in paper format one could choose to skip over side excursions and just follow the timeline of events, but in audio you can't. So sometimes keeping track of where one is on the timeline is a bit of work. Some of the short side excursions seem pointless, maybe he thought he was being funny? Be prepared for Davis' conservative slant. He follows the tradition of ignoring, minimizing or disparaging female leaders. But for what it is, it is well written and interesting to listen to.

19 people found this helpful

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Wonderful Writing And Reading

This book was right in the perfect middle. The episodes were disparate enough from their neighbors that the whole work was kept interesting, but just unified enough to make one feel the receiver of a convergent history.
This work was wonderfully written, with insight, witty comments, and what I knew were unorthodox views and interpretations. I made that determination because the author told me so, and because the orthodox views were presented as well.
I was extremely pleased with the even treatment of all parts of Europe all throughout history; that was one thing I was really looking for. The word in the original language followed by translations was especially satisfying.
Finally, I loved how the author kept commenting on how past attitudes could be influencing current attitudes, as well as the fact that the writing recognized when it had passed from history into current events, noted the passage, then proceeded without fear to make the comments that seemed appropriate.
I recommend this to any of my history-loving friends. Be aware, though, that you might find yourself bemoaning, "Oh! 60 hours are done already?!

1 person found this helpful