Heart of Europe

  • by Peter H. Wilson
  • Narrated by Napoleon Ryan
  • 34 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Holy Roman Empire lasted 1,000 years, far longer than ancient Rome. Yet this formidable dominion never inspired the awe of its predecessor. Voltaire quipped that it was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. Yet as Peter H. Wilson shows, the Holy Roman Empire tells a millennial story of Europe better than the histories of individual nation-states.
Heart of Europe traces the empire from its origins within Charlemagne's kingdom in 800 to its demise in 1806. By the mid-tenth century, its core rested in the German kingdom, and ultimately its territory stretched from France and Denmark to Italy and Poland. Yet the empire remained abstract, with no fixed capital and no common language or culture. The source of its continuity and legitimacy was the ideal of a unified Christian civilization, but this did not prevent emperors from clashing with the pope over supremacy. Though the title of Holy Roman Emperor retained prestige, rising states such as Austria and Prussia wielded power in a way the empire could not. While it gradually lost the flexibility to cope with political, economic, and social changes, the empire was far from being in crisis until the onslaught of the French revolutionary wars.


What the Critics Say

"Hugely impressive...Wilson is an assured guide through the millennium-long labyrinth of papal - imperial relations." ( Literary Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Rather plain, not going to win any converts.

This is a book written in a moderately academic manner. Not terrible, but certainly not a populist style.
The reader, although clear , does not show any warmth for the subject, and it is presented in a faintly pleasant but emotionless tone. Its not a monotone by by means, but all the facts are presented without any real emphasis.

The result is a fairly characterless listen that while not awful is rather plain. If you are specifically in need of something that covers this exact subject for a professional or academic study, you will find it useful and it certainly could be worse.

However, if you have a more general interest in either historical audiobooks or just audiobooks in general , there are large numbers of such out there that are considerably better and I would recommend trying any number of those over this.
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- Andrew

Probably better to read than to listen

Really fascinating and well narrated audiobook, lots of well researched information with well balanced interpretations and conclusions. However I would prefer to have read it physically I think. Because of how hard it is to flick back and forth, I find more linear history audiobooks easier to listen to, whereas this one was arranged by themes, and timelines were hard to follow at times. Still, a good book overall, well worth investing some hours into!
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- Thomas

Book Details

  • Release Date: 13-06-2017
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio