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Publisher's Summary

It was an age of hope and possibility, of accomplishment and expansion. Europe's High Middle Ages spanned the Crusades, the building of Chartres Cathedral, Dante's Inferno, and Thomas Aquinas. Buoyant, confident, creative, the era seemed to be flowering into a true renaissance - until the disastrous 14th century rained catastrophe in the form of plagues, famine, and war. 

In Europe in the High Middle Ages, William Chester Jordan paints a vivid, teeming landscape that captures this lost age in all its glory and complexity. Here are the great popes who revived the power of the Church against the secular princes; the writers and thinkers who paved the way for the Renaissance; the warriors who stemmed the Islamic tide in Spain and surged into Palestine; and the humbler estates, those who found new hope and prosperity until the long night of the 1300s. From high to low, from dramatic events to social structures, Jordan's account brings to life this fascinating age.

©2001 William Chester Jordan (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about Europe in the High Middle Ages

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent history, incompetent narrator

I struggle to understand how a narrator could mispronounce so many words. From "ChrisTendom" to "scholatisism" to the Pope as "Vaicar" of Christ, it was a continuous mess. He has a good reading voice, but that doesn't matter when he calls mendicants "menckens" and so forth.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good book narrator detracts

Overall a worthwhile history, little to no information for those familiar with the period but an excellent overview for the newly interested. The narrators voice and pace; however, the frequent and frequently repeated mispronunciations was distracting.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Narration Blunders

This is a good book I truly enjoyed it. For most history books I get the physical book as well so I can make notes as I go and the length of this book means you cannot dive too deep into the subject matter. But still, it’s a good overview of the period covered.

That being said:
The narrator blunders through words I can’t even understand how. On one page he says a word completely wrong, then the following page he says it correct. At points throughout he adds words which are not even there changing the sentence not only grammatically but changing its meaning entirely.

This narrator makes having the physical book essential.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Worth it but flawed

It was certainly worth the time as a survey. No strong thesis driving the book, but that is probably a reflection of the subject rather than any shortcoming of the author. The narrator has a great voice, it is a shame that his pronunciations weren't quite up to it. He got words wrong and frequently which was bit bit jarring. Still, he has a great voice.

2 people found this helpful

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A Tricky Listen

This volume constitutes as important a portion of the overall series of European history as all the rest, brief as it may be. And, while it’s well written, it will really tax listeners as they try to overcome or ignore mispronunciations of various names or words throughout.

“GEO-fray” for Geoffrey, “VAI-car” for vicar, “bish-AWE-pric” for bishopric.

It might be a small point, and if you already knew the difference then perhaps you can be a better person and truly ignore it. If you’re just learning about this portion of history, you might require some additional references before discussing it.

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Good content, subpar narration

This book is less detailed than other books in the series (a quick look at the hour count could tell that), which is unfortunate, but it does a fair job in the space it is alloted. I'm usually ambivalent towards the narration in my audiobooks, but this is the first book where the pronunciation was very off-putting to me.

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Fine overview marred by sloppy narration

Languedoc is not pronounced "LANG-w'-doc." Roussillon is not pronounced "Roo-SEE-y'n." Is it too much to ask that the narrator of a book about medieval Europe know how to pronounce some of the key names in medieval Europe?

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A sweeping narrative, delivered exquisitely.

An Epic Account brings knights, kings, and peasants back to life.

Experienced audiences will appreciate this history. Fans of fictional medievalism will marvel that the reality is just as fascinating as the fiction.

I’ll be looking for more books by a Jordan and more performances by Nixon.