A History of the Middle Ages

  • by Crane Brinton, John Christopher, Robert Wolff
  • Narrated by Charlton Griffin
  • 19 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A History of the Middle Ages is the amazing story of European man in transition. It is a dramatic chronicle of 1,000 years of political, social, and economic transformation beginning with the dissolution of the classical Mediterranean civilization and ending with the first flowering of the Renaissance. It is also the story of two new religions, Christianity and Islam, both of which were destined to dominate the mind of every person in those new civilizations arising in their wake. This was the great Age of Faith, a time of darkness and a time of enlightenment...a time of lords and vassals, popes and kings, and commerce and cathedrals. This great history starts with a survey of Christianity, then continues with an exploration of the "dark ages" following the fall of Rome, before proceeding with an explanation of how Europe coped with, and absorbed, the barbarians who overran the Empire. It goes on to trace the development of feudalism and Islam, and describes the harrowing survival of Byzantium throughout the brutal chaos that swirled about the Eastern Roman Empire during the 9th and 10th centuries. Discover how national monarchies and the modern nation state came into being, how the West responded to the Islamic invasions, and how Christianity penetrated into the farthest reaches of Northern Europe. Understand the dramatic repercussions of the Great Schism in Christianity and how economic change in the West almost destroyed the church. Finally, discover the events which gave rise to the magnificent flowering of the Gothic Age and the explosion of knowledge which subsequently paved the way for the Renaissance. The Middle Ages were the precursor to everything which we in the west consider "modern." This beautifully written history tells you why.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A very good book ruined

I was housebound at the time and I was looking forward to learning something of my favourite historical period. I still have some text books from my youth, but this seemed likely to be more thorough and informative.

Unfortunately, and I have to say this, the reading was so appalling that it was difficult to absorb anything and having to continually 'rewind' an MP3 player was a frustrating exercise.

Part of the problem is that a book of this type does not lend itself to spoken cross references to narrative which has already been read or which appears later in the book. On the printed page this would be easy enough to follow but not so in an audiobook. This is one of those occasions where some care should have been taken to edit the book to make things easier for the listener.

I also regret that the narrators voice and quite unnecessary attempts to introduce 'drama' (I can only think that this is what he was trying to do) into the work was both irritating and unsuccessful.

I have given up on the audiobook and may now go to the library and borrow the printed work.
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- Vaughan

Reasonable book, ruined

Any audiobook is a game of two halves. The first part is the text written by the author and the second the narration.

The first part of this book is fine, well researched if a little pro-Western, pro-Church stand point. It is a little dated in places but otherwise excellent.

The downfall comes with the narration which at best sounds like Hugh Denis doing his best pompous voice but most of the time is dreadfully dull and precisely the tone that puts so many off history. At point one I really did wonder what was going on as he mispronounces even the simplest things dan-e-geld is actually dane-geld (gold paid to the Danes to go away). The patronising, condescending and frankly turgid tones were eventually enough even for me and I couldn't face the final part. My view is that it was a good book ruined. There are many good books on audible, this just isn't one of them. My advice, get Caesar's Legion instead and cracking book and an excellent narrator.
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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-04-2004
  • Publisher: Audio Connoisseur