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Heart of Europe Audiobook

Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire

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Publisher's Summary

The Holy Roman Empire lasted 1,000 years, far longer than ancient Rome. Yet this formidable dominion never inspired the awe of its predecessor. Voltaire quipped that it was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. Yet as Peter H. Wilson shows, the Holy Roman Empire tells a millennial story of Europe better than the histories of individual nation-states.

Heart of Europe traces the empire from its origins within Charlemagne's kingdom in 800 to its demise in 1806. By the mid-tenth century, its core rested in the German kingdom, and ultimately its territory stretched from France and Denmark to Italy and Poland. Yet the empire remained abstract, with no fixed capital and no common language or culture. The source of its continuity and legitimacy was the ideal of a unified Christian civilization, but this did not prevent emperors from clashing with the pope over supremacy. Though the title of Holy Roman Emperor retained prestige, rising states such as Austria and Prussia wielded power in a way the empire could not. While it gradually lost the flexibility to cope with political, economic, and social changes, the empire was far from being in crisis until the onslaught of the French revolutionary wars.

©2016 Peter H. Wilson (P)2017 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Hugely impressive...Wilson is an assured guide through the millennium-long labyrinth of papal - imperial relations." (Literary Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (60 )
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3.9 (57 )
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4.2 (58 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Pardubak 10-11-17
    Pardubak 10-11-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not engaging"

    This is one of the driest and most tedious books I listened to. I personally did not like the narrator either. Worse than any textbook I ever had the displeasure of plowing through. Just fact after fact, no dimension. I only got through 20%.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Grzeskiewicz Baltimore, MD 10-02-17
    J. Grzeskiewicz Baltimore, MD 10-02-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well written & read,, if a touch on the dry side."

    Enjoyed it, but am stunned that Prince Eugene of Savoy didn't receive a single mention.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ambrose Seymour 09-19-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mixed feelings on this one."

    I enjoy the material, and the work is solid overall. But there are occasional lazy swipes at parallel history that undermined my confidence in the scholarship. One specific example, his brief discussion of Empress Matilda of England massively oversimplifies the facts and the context of her conflict with Stephen of Blois, saying effectively "Matilda defeated her enemies in England" - which just isn't the case. Matilda's son eventually fought to a negotiated conclusion of this early English civil war, but her enemies were not "defeated" and to the extent that they were, she had already left.

    Not to go over-granular, but this is one example of several where things happening on the margins of the HRE are reduced in ways that distort the relevant history.

    I also didn't love the narration, but that's often a matter of taste.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Stevenson 09-05-17 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    Story
    "info dump"
    What disappointed you about Heart of Europe?

    Just unloads information on you and expects you to remember which Otto or Henry is which when they are mentioned again an hour later without any reference points.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    dissappointment


    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
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  • Andrew
    United Kingdom
    9/28/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rather plain, not going to win any converts."

    This is a book written in a moderately academic manner. Not terrible, but certainly not a populist style.
    The reader, although clear , does not show any warmth for the subject, and it is presented in a faintly pleasant but emotionless tone. Its not a monotone by by means, but all the facts are presented without any real emphasis.

    The result is a fairly characterless listen that while not awful is rather plain. If you are specifically in need of something that covers this exact subject for a professional or academic study, you will find it useful and it certainly could be worse.

    However, if you have a more general interest in either historical audiobooks or just audiobooks in general , there are large numbers of such out there that are considerably better and I would recommend trying any number of those over this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    greenwich, london
    9/27/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "confusing!"

    very detailed but presents a confusing picture of empire. not helped by poor and over dramatic reading.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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