A World Lit Only by Fire

  • by William Manchester
  • Narrated by Barrett Whitener
  • 11 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From tales of chivalrous knights to the barbarity of trial by ordeal, no era has been a greater source of awe, horror, and wonder than the Middle Ages. In handsomely crafted prose and with the grace and authority of his extraordinary gift for narrative history, William Manchester leads us from a civilization tottering on the brink of collapse to the grandeur of its rebirth, the Renaissance. The latter was a dense explosion of energy that spawned some of history's greatest poets, philosophers, and painters, as well as some of its most spectacular villains.

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What the Critics Say

"An absorbing and readable history." (School Library Journal)
"Manchester provides easy access to a fascinating age when our modern mentality was just being born." (Chicago Tribune)
"Manchester has not forgotten the skills that, with invective, eloquence, and anecdote, make him a master storyteller."(Kirkus Reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Gets better

I just finished this. It starts with a catalogue, somewhat one-sided, of why the middle ages were a bad and brutal event in human history. I say somewhat one-sided, because I think Manchester falls into the camp that slightly under-rates the brutality and over-rates the civilising influence of the Romans. Manchester is however very good when he gets out of the mud of context and back onto the more easily navigated paths of narrative biography. His descriptions, in particular, of Luther and of Magellan (effectively the hero of this volume, though you'll have to wait till around two thirds of the way through to get to him) are both interesting and illuminating.

The book is read in something of a monotone - don't expect great theatrical declamations. But it is interesting and a worthwhile listen, and to be honest I'll probably now buy the printed book to read over.
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- markw

Really great book was gripping from the beginning

I couldnt stop listening so had to loss a day to it I was so engrossed. the narration was excellent the subject so huge I will have to listen a few times to make any imprint on my somewhat diminished brain but will enjoy it everytime...
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- Geoffrey O.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-03-2007
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.