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Publisher's Summary

Richard J. Evans's gripping narrative ranges across a century of social and national conflicts, from the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 to the unification of both Germany and Italy, from the Russo-Turkish wars to the Balkan upheavals that brought this era of relative peace and growing prosperity to an end. Among the great themes it discusses are the decline of religious belief and the rise of secular science and medicine, the journey of art, music, and literature from Romanticism to Modernism, the replacement of old-regime punishments by the modern prison, and the dramatic struggle of feminists for women's equality and emancipation. Uniting the era's broad-ranging transformations was the pursuit of power in all segments of life, from the banker striving for economic power to the serf seeking to escape the power of his landlord, from the engineer asserting society's power over the environment to the psychiatrist attempting to exert science's power over human nature itself.

The first single-volume history of the century, this comprehensive and sweeping account gives the listener a magnificently human picture of Europe in the age when it dominated the rest of the globe.

©2016 Richard J. Evans (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Terrific comprehensive history

Evans's history of 19th century Europe should be required reading for anyone interested in how we came to the situation facing us in the 21st. The beginning of the book,with its focus on geopolitics, is slow going but worth the effort. Evans seems to cover everything: A rich social history that spans the continent from the end of the Napoleonic wars to the onset of WW1. Highly recommended.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book - gimmicky narrator

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

40 hours of well-documented nineteenth century European history? Nuff said.

How could the performance have been better?

Narrator, who is otherwise fine, has a very distracting way of emphasizing the inline quotes by raising the urgency of his voice. It's an annoying gimmick that sounds like the quoted speakers are constantly interrupting his reading to yell at you from the past.Let us get the print edition to track the quotes. After all, the audio doesn't integrate the references, so it doesn't really matter whether something is narration or quote. In short - just read the book.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

40 straight hours of European history? Sounds like fun!

Any additional comments?

Someone tell Mr Ryan to dump the yelling trick and just read. He's a fine narrator in his own right. Lose the gimmicks.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly engaging

A well organized and thoughtful overview. It gave me great insight into this period. I did not realize how ignorant I was about this time with violence and hardship beyond scale we can comprehend.
Great reader. His use of voices for historical characters brought life to the reading. The 45 hours went surprisingly fast.
I would strongly recommend for any history student and any American who wants to better understand where as well as why our ancestors left

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • alan
  • north wales, PA, United States
  • 01-23-17

terrible reader, excellent book

What made the experience of listening to The Pursuit of Power the most enjoyable?

A great history of Europe after Napoleon, by a historian of Germany. Unfortunately the reader pauses after every fifth or sixth word for no discernable reason, making this a very rocky choppy ride. Evans' history is best when most detailed, in the period leading up to the revolutions of 1830 and then 1848, followed by more cursory potted treatments of social, artistic, scientific, literary, musical, i.e. "cultural" milestones, and then we're suddenly at the turn of the century, rush through the Balkan wars, and its time for world war I. Nice exposition of some modern historiography - imperial atrocities in the colonies got imported into Europe, women's suffrage, etc.

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

Pauses after every fifth or sixth word; it's like listening to hiccups.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful book. Excruciating narration

The book is very comprehensive,rich in detail,and very informative-history at its best-first rate.

The narration is awkward and painful to listen to. When he pronounces German names he truly sounds like he is trying to clear a gnat out of his throat.

His inflection is also horrible. For example when he says "Bismark" delivered with a way overdone guttural,gnat removing,affectation, he then paused as if to say to the listener,"isn't that delivery wonderful!". The second example of stilted inflection is much like the way Dr. Evil in Austin Powers would say the word "Laser". That is the word is so fascinating that it has the heaviest emphasis in the sentence.

Though I just finished it,I'd gladly start it over and listen to it again but I can't bear to hear his inept delivery again

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Libby
  • Eastern U.S.
  • 01-23-18

Choppy and tedious

This book started out good, but I couldn't maintain interest as it kept going. It kept getting bogged down in details until I couldn't even remember the larger point he was trying to make. The choppy, non-chronological order in which things were presented, too, made it frustratingly difficult to synthesize all the ideas.

Maybe it would've been more easily digestible with a different narrator. Napoleon Ryan has a fantastic voice. But the repetitive cadence, the way he inflects EVERY SINGLE sentence exactly the same, wears you down. I'm sure not everyone's as sensitive to cadence as I am, so it might not bother you, but listen to the sample. If you find yourself wondering if he's going to keep up this exact repetitive inflection for the entire giant book, the answer is yes.

I've listened to quite a few history programs on Audible, mostly the Great Courses and Will Durant. This suffered in comparison to the engaging and straightforward styles of those. I'm nine hours in, but I'm going to cut my losses, and get the Great Courses course The Long 19th Century instead. This is the first history book I've actually returned.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best review of 19the century European history

I really enjoyed this audiobook and will listen to it or read it again. It was a tad politicized against conservative ideology, so the reader has to listen/watch for it and recognize the prejudice of the author. But I have a greater understanding of the situation leading up to WW1, which in turn leads to understanding of WW2, and even our current global situation. Must read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

This was a thoroughly researched and in depth description of the turmoil in Europe which led to WW 1.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • dd
  • Pyong-Yang, WA USA
  • 12-19-16

Narrated by Napoleon How could you go wrong????

Would you consider the audio edition of The Pursuit of Power to be better than the print version?

yes

What other book might you compare The Pursuit of Power to and why?

guns of august

Which scene was your favorite?

bismark and the reunification of germany

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

Napoleon's narration

Any additional comments?

Had no idea he was still alive.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very in depth

In 1815 there were several nations/kingdoms/empires around the world that equaled Europe in terms of size, wealth, power, standard of living and in 1914 there were no rivals. The author then goes on to say that there is no real reason for this. No superiority of resources, culture, polity, philosophy, rather, it just happened. I found this very unsatisfying especially as it was never developed or supported though the book. Of course proving "It just happened" would be a difficult task. This was my main point of contention with the book. Other than that I greatly enjoyed.

At times this book is almost encyclopedic and it is easy to get lost in the wash of details, names, places, books, peoples, movements. Having a prior grounding in European history is almost a necessity. However it is still very readable. It does focus very closely on what happens in Europe. The Americas, Africa, Asia, Oceania are only mentioned in passing when necessary and only in view of their direct impact on events in Europe.

From the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the outbreak of The Great War has often been portrayed as Europe's Century of Peace but this book makes clear that conflict was an ongoing affair whether armed or in other forms. It merely seemed to be peace because of the cataclysmic events that book-ended the century and gave it such a nostalgic glow.

In terms of political, economic, sociological, religious and philosophical change this was probably the most tumultuous 100 years of Europe's history. Only in technological change can the post WWII era said to be greater. This is part of what requires the wide spread and in-depth exploration found in the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful