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Medieval Europe  By  cover art

Medieval Europe

By: Chris Wickham
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
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Publisher's summary

The millennium between the breakup of the western Roman Empire and the Reformation was a long and hugely transformative period - one not easily chronicled within a single volume. Yet distinguished historian Chris Wickham has taken up the challenge in this landmark book, and he succeeds in producing the most riveting account of medieval Europe in a generation.

Tracking the entire sweep of the Middle Ages across Europe, Wickham focuses on important changes century by century, including such pivotal crises and moments as the fall of the western Roman Empire, Charlemagne's reforms, the feudal revolution, the challenge of heresy, the destruction of the Byzantine Empire, the rebuilding of late medieval states, and the appalling devastation of the Black Death. He provides illuminating vignettes that underscore how shifting social, economic, and political circumstances affected individual lives and international events. Wickham offers both a new conception of Europe's medieval period and a provocative revision of exactly how and why the Middle Ages matter.

©2016 Chris Wickham (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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What listeners say about Medieval Europe

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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow! Outstanding Work on the Period

Three charactoristics make this book a GREAT listen. 1) The reading is EXCELLENT! I felt as though I were inside the writer's mind. 2) The organization of the material never lost me. A leap forward or flashback never left me hanging because it was always tied so neatly to moment being described. 3) The balance between presenting the overview and the detail never overwhelmed me nor left me wanting for greater insight. Of course if I want to understand more about the crusades, I need to listen to 10 hours on the crusades, but now I know about the crusades in a way I never before did. --Dane

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40 people found this helpful

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outstanding, absolutely outstanding.

learned a great deal about something I thought I already understood. narration.was excellent and in.proper english

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24 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Obscure language, excellent otherwise

Would you try another book from Chris Wickham and/or Derek Perkins?

While the book is well-researched and neatly organized, its significant shortcoming is the overly complex language used for the sake of complexity itself. Sometimes the language makes it really hard to see "the forest behind the trees" and understand the original thought of the author. For example, instead of "corruption" it is "the culture of giving money in the hope of getting favors in return" and there are numerous other examples of such sophistry.In this regard the author is a bit similar to the famous Greek historian Polybius, whose histories were really one of a kind once you get past the elusive language of the author and start seeing the flawless logical analysis of the events. Unfortunately, back in the time not everybody would have enough patience to decipher the meaning hidden behind complex grammatical forms and most of his history works were eventually lost as a result.I think the point of using the language and professional terms is not to make books sound more sophisticated and academic, but rather to skillfully illuminate the ideas presented and put them into the right context. I am not sure that this book always succeeds in doing that.But if you manage to get past through the obscure language and get to the point then this book will not disappoint.

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18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

must be read not listened to.

this is an example of when hearing a book read does not work. i am listening to this book to LEARN something about medieval europe. however when this book is read to you you cannot absorb the material. it goes by so quickly that there is no comprehension being put forward of the concepts. when you read this book you read at your own pace and stop to consider each idea that are contained therein. that is how learning works otherwise one sentence "runs "into another and the listener gets nothing out of it.

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16 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

interesting but dry

I found my mind wondering often and then being totally lost. tough book to absorb through audiobook format. Interesting content though. I'd recommend reading it instead though.

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    1 out of 5 stars

Unlistenable

What would have made Medieval Europe better?

Less dates and places thrown at you at high speed, more linear story line. I know history isn't fiction, but still - one can make it more interesting than dates and places... Felt like I was back in a college history class where the prof just droned on ad on with nothing of import.

What was most disappointing about Chris Wickham’s story?

'Story'? There was no story. Just dates and places, sprinkled with an occasionally interesting bit. I wanted to know what life was like, what they wore, what they ate, how they obtained it, what their worries were, how they coped with them, gentry and religious issues, and so on. The author just glanced over that and went back to his dates and places. I couldn't take more than half of chapter two.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The reader was excellent- he had a fine tonal quality and speech pattern and read the droll, boring material as best he could.

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

Disappointment. I expected better than this droll regurgitation of the thousand other books written on this material.

Any additional comments?

Returning this one...

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12 people found this helpful

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not for me.

I consider myself a novice history buff and can follow along most books, but this one was difficult.

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12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good history lesson

Any additional comments?

Learned this history in school, now learning it again. Much more interesting than in the school.

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7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good overview that inspires more reading

great narration and book. very dense and great information. I found it hard to follow at times with a lot of dates being thrown out at once, I think this is more a product of the audio book medium than the fault of the author or book.

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6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good intro to medieval Europe

I very much appreciated this book as something of a history buff. I’m not sure this would be the best first introduction to the topic. I would instead suggest one of the Great Courses, especially the ones by professor Daileader. That said, amazing narrator and very enjoyable.

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5 people found this helpful