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Lost to the West Audiobook

Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization

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Publisher's Summary

In AD 476 the Roman Empire fell - or rather, its western half did. Its eastern half, which would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire, would endure and often flourish for another 11 centuries. Though its capital would move to Constantinople, its citizens referred to themselves as Roman for the entire duration of the empire's existence. Indeed, so did its neighbors, allies, and enemies: When the Turkish Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople in 1453, he took the title Caesar of Rome, placing himself in a direct line that led back to Augustus.

For far too many otherwise historically savvy people today, the story of the Byzantine civilization is something of a void. Yet for more than a millennium, Byzantium reigned as the glittering seat of Christian civilization. When Europe fell into the Dark Ages, Byzantium held fast against Muslim expansion, keeping Christianity alive. When literacy all but vanished in the West, Byzantium made primary education available to both sexes. Students debated the merits of Plato and Aristotle and commonly committed the entirety of Homer's Iliad to memory. Streams of wealth flowed into Constantinople, making possible unprecedented wonders of art and architecture, from fabulous jeweled mosaics and other iconography to the great church known as the Hagia Sophia that was a vision of heaven on earth. The dome of the Great Palace stood nearly two hundred feet high and stretched over four acres, and the city's population was more than twenty times that of London's.

From Constantine, who founded his eponymous city in the year 330, to Constantine XI, who valiantly fought the empire's final battle more than a thousand years later, the emperors who ruled Byzantium enacted a saga of political intrigue and conquest as astonishing as anything in recorded history. Lost to the West is replete with stories of assassination, mass mutilation and execution, sexual scheming, ruthless grasping for power, and clashing armies that soaked ...

©2009 Lars Brownworth; (P)2009 Random House

What Members Say

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  •  
    Zenas Zelotes 01-20-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Best Audiobook Ever"

    My wife and I have listened to this book three times in a mere window of months ... it's that good. Absolutely mesmerizing. 1000 years of Greco-Roman history you learn (absolutely) nothing about in K-12. A history lover's dream. This book is the critical missing link between the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the Renaissance. And the audio narration was second to none. Can't wait to listen to it again (and again and again). Fantastic!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen 09-20-15
    Helen 09-20-15
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    "Good story"

    Good story with some entertaining vignettes.
    Could have used an accompanying
    PDF with maps and timelines.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John K. Sanders 09-13-15 Member Since 2015
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    "great read"

    this was a very enlightening book regarding the Byzantine Empire well written and well narrated

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robert 08-31-15
    robert 08-31-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent"

    Good introduction to a fascinating timeline of history that I never learned
    In school and fills in gaps in my historical studies

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Cherniak Richmond Hill, ON, CA 07-10-15
    Jason Cherniak Richmond Hill, ON, CA 07-10-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A fair general story"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would only recommend this book because there were no alternatives with a broad overview of Byzantium. This book takes a bit of simple approach to some complex issues that are better dealt with by other books that only consider them tangentially. I also found that occasionally I'd be hearing about a person for up to five minutes before the person's name was used - very annoying when you can't flip ahead a few pages.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura L Lyon 05-15-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Lost and in love with story"

    I just love this book
    It talk about begging to end Byzantine empire

    If you only want to get one book on the Byzantine and know 95% then I would get this book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trevor 04-29-15
    Trevor 04-29-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Fun great-man history"

    A love letter to the great rulers of the forgotten empire. The story of Belisarius and Justinian is particularly entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Ferguson 04-02-15
    W. Ferguson 04-02-15
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    "Great Story"

    I really enjoyed this book. It was a great introduction to a period in history that I had never learned anything about in school. Lars Brownworth does a great job reading with all of the enthusiasm you would expect from an author reading his own work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Tapping, Australia 01-30-15
    Daryl Tapping, Australia 01-30-15 Member Since 2017
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    "Majestic historical storytelling. "

    This is a truly brilliant audio book. This is the third or fourth time I have listened to it and every time I sit enthralled.

    The Romans, buttressing Europe for a millennia from the Islamic hordes streaming throughout Christian lands.

    Bought low by Christian armies only to limp forward until extermination by the Turks.

    A fine reminder of how easily the west surrenders its history and culture, while at the same time reminding us that we have much to be proud of, much in common with Eastern Europe, and part of a story that repeats time after time.

    Majestic storytelling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Chiumenti 05-20-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent story and story telling - coherent."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Lost to the West to be better than the print version?

    Easier to get through the audio in the car than sitting and reading.


    What other book might you compare Lost to the West to and why?

    Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is excellent, and it covers the Eastern Empire to the end in 1453 as well. But there is so much detail that a reader will lose his place in the story. Lost to the West has the right amount of detail to keep the story logically connected and prevent the reader (listener) from losing his place.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Discouraging to realize how often the Byzantines, and their Western Roman brothers were their own worst enemies, more losing the Empire than being beaten by outsiders.


    Any additional comments?

    Gibbon's books would be more appreciated if the reader had a good idea of the thread from beginning to end, which is easier to take away from Lost to the West.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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