A Needle in the Right Hand of God

  • by R. Howard Bloch
  • Narrated by Stephen Hoye
  • 7 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Bayeux Tapestry is the world's most famous textile: an exquisite 230-foot-long embroidered panorama depicting the events surrounding the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is also one of history's most mysterious and compelling works of art. This haunting stitched account of the battle that redrew the map of medieval Europe has inspired dreams of theft, waves of nationalism, visions of limitless power, and esthetic rapture. In his fascinating new audiobook, Yale professor R. Howard Bloch reveals the history, the hidden meaning, the deep beauty, and the enduring allure of this astonishing piece of cloth. Bloch opens with a gripping account of the event that inspired the Tapestry: the swift, bloody Battle of Hastings, in which the Norman bastard William defeated the Anglo-Saxon king Harold and laid claim to England under his new title, William the Conqueror. But to truly understand the connection between battle and embroidery, one must retrace the web of international intrigue and scandal that climaxed at Hastings. Bloch demonstrates how, with astonishing intimacy and immediacy, the artisans who fashioned this work of textile art brought to life a moment that changed the course of British culture and history. Every age has cherished the Tapestry for different reasons and read new meaning into its enigmatic words and images. French nationalists in the mid-nineteenth century, fired by the Tapestry¿s evocation of military glory, unearthed the lost French epic "The Song of Roland", which Norman troops sang as they marched to victory in 1066. As the Nazis tightened their grip on Europe, Hitler sent a team to France to study the Tapestry, decode its Nordic elements, and, at the end of the war, with Paris under siege, bring the precious cloth to Berlin.

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What the Critics Say

"With estimable clarity and evident enthusiasm, Bloch delivers variety, surprise, and understanding for history readers." (Booklist)
"The tapestry, now in a museum in Bayeux, brings history to life, and Bloch's splendid account does the same for the tapestry itself." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A 50/50 thing...

Half of this book for me was enjoyable. The other half, largely tedious. This dividing line comes when the author moves from the historical/political/cultural and on to the details of the stitching, the cloth and the manual techniques involved. This to some extent is interesting, but within this book for me it went on for too long.

Either way, a good book with many interesting ideas. Would be 4* if it was edited for about 1 hours boredom.
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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-02-2007
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio