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Publisher's Summary

The Pursuit of Power draws on a lifetime of thinking about 19th-century Europe to create an extraordinarily rich, surprising and entertaining panorama of a continent undergoing drastic change.

The aim of this audiobook is to reignite the sense of wonder that permeated this remarkable era, as rulers and ruled navigated overwhelming cultural, political and technological changes. It was a time where what was seen as modern with amazing speed appeared old-fashioned, where huge cities sprang up in a generation, where new European countries were created and where, for the first time, humans could communicate almost instantly over thousands of miles.

Richard Evans gives full coverage to the revolutions, empire building and wars that marked the 19th century, but the book is about so much more, whether it is illness, serfdom, religion or philosophy. The Pursuit of Power is an audiobook by a historian at the height of his powers and an essential audiobook for anyone trying to understand Europe, then or now.

©2016 Richard J Evans (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel Johnstone
  • 08-27-17

Excellent history

A truly superb history of a surprisingly under-reported time period. If you enjoy sweeping narratives of the grand strategies of the competing powers, you should enjoy this book. It also goes into great detail about the political, economic and social forces at work in this era. I will definitely lists again.

The narrator is a little... unusual. However, he quickly becomes very engaging and I would listen to more of his work.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Charlie
  • 12-10-16

Very disappointing performance

Would you try another book written by Richard J Evans or narrated by Napoleon Ryan?

It is very hard to rate this book because the narration is so poor that it makes the book unintelligible. Narrator does not seem to have a clue or interest of what he is reading. This removes any structure of the book and makes the understanding very difficult. The book itself is hard to judge due to the above but doesn't engage. Very disappointing after such great audiobook such as the Silk Road. I am not able to keep listening to this book as it is way too frustrating. So to above question it would a No on both counts.

Would you ever listen to anything by Richard J Evans again?

Probably not

What didn’t you like about Napoleon Ryan’s performance?

He reads like a computer simulated voice without showing any interest in the text

17 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-25-18

A turbulent European century

A detailed account of a turbulent century. Tremendous social change ultimately overshadowed by Europe's hubris and the stumble into WW1.
Reading style was ponderous with undue emphasis on non-English names. However, the details in the book overcame the poor delivery.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • M
  • 07-17-17

Very, very interesting.

As a chap who was brought up and educated in the Anglosphere, the French Revolution is something I was vaguely aware of as happening at some time over there in the Frenchy bit of Europe. The long shadow that Napoleon cast over European dynamics was never made clear to me, never discussed in history lessons, and I was never shown how deeply integrated Britain was with the various pursuits for power that followed 1815. This is an important book for British readers especially, I think (though I would also love to hear what other Europeans think) because in the background of this Brexit thing that's going on at the moment there's a belief that 'we' in the UK were generally doing our own thing throughout most of history and were generally pretty bloody marvellous at it too! This book puts that whole perspective in some perspective and really does bring to the fore the fact that we are in pretty much every way possible affected by what goes on in Europe. I really liked Napolean's narration too and he has my full admiration for taking on all those names from across Europe.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-23-17

Good book, bad narrator.

Excellent book.But I can only give it two stars overall because the narration is very bad. it seems to have been read by a man for whom English is an unknown language. This makes it difficult to follow the sense. Pity they could not have found a better narrator.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr
  • 07-16-18

A lengthy, but rewarding listen.

I came to this with slight trepidation partly due to its length, and partly because of Evan's well known feud with one of my favorite historians, Niall Ferguson. I'm glad I made the effort though. As with every historian, Evan's brings his own perspectives and biases to the table, but I didn't find his views became hectoring, or were ever less than well argued.

I won't pretend it was easy to get to the end of this 42 hour marathon, but you certainly can't say you don't get your money's worth. Evan's manages to cover a truly astounding array of aspects of 19th century European existence: everything from diplomacy, to the to the rise of organized sports, to the development of psychoanalysis and even what it was like to take a journey along Europe's roads of the period. Every subject seems well researched and cogently written, and Evans has a good eye for the absurdity and farces of history, which help to lighten a heavy-weight historical work. I came away feeling I had a much better understanding of the human beings who lived through this extraordinary time of change, what moved them to make the decisions they made, and support the causes they supported.

I know a lot of reviewers disliked the narrator - but I found his rich, fruity voice a pleasure to listen to.

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  • Drew Ratter
  • 02-10-18

Magnificent

Richard J Evans is a genius. He handles a huge amount of material with matchless skill and provides the reader with a compelling picture of the century of Europe’s peak and the reasons for its precipitate decline.

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  • James
  • 12-20-17

Huge gathering of facts but without human sympathy

Any additional comments?

This is factual history at the very peak of academic achievement, but it is devoid of human sympathy and is permeated with implied disdain for the country that pays the author’s salary. The advancement of human kind does not occur in easy imagination but from facing contemporaneous hard realities of life. Perhaps we should expect nothing else from lucky Oxbridge, which has enjoyed an undisturbed life since 1945, but this otherwise excellent book lacks soul, which is a great pity.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful