Manual The Medieval World

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Spoiler alert -- it didn't work. What if the barbarian Visigoths had managed to maintain control of Spain, instead of eventually falling to invading African Muslims like they did?

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Medieval World

What if the resulting lack of threat never convinced Charlemagne to conquer all his tribal neighbors and create for the first time a unified France? What if India hadn't spent this entire period in an unending year civil war between dozens of equally matched little fiefdoms or "rajas," as the Hindus called them?

This is one of the main reasons to study history in the first place, is to ponder these imponderables, to better understand what happened by picturing all the things that almost but never actually did; and Bauer does an impeccable job here at encouraging that, gearing most of her stories in terms of how close they were to not getting pulled off, of how what we think of as "history" is actually in a constant state of flux while first occurring, even as its general trajectory is fated to move ever forward, ever more complex. This regularity really comforts me at times, to tell you the truth, which of course is another big reason to study history, to be reassured that in the long run, humanity really is getting better as a whole, even if its accomplishments must sometimes be tracked in terms of centuries; anytime I have another of my constant freakouts these days about the f-cking teabaggers or the f-cking oil companies or my f-cking neighbor who blares her f-cking stereo at three in the f-cking morning when she comes home f-cking wasted, reading a bit of a book like this reminds me of how unimportant these petty annoyances are in the grand scheme of things, that they too will quickly get swallowed by the tide of history and soon be forgotten.

It's for all these reasons, then, that today The History of the Medieval World becomes the first book of to score a perfect ten here at CCLaP, and why I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about this surprisingly sophisticated millennium of history. It was a true delight to come across, a dense scholarly tome that reads like an airport thriller, and I'm now highly looking forward to tackling the previous volume of the series, as well as anticipating the third volume to come. Out of View all 3 comments. Feb 25, Bill rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction , history.

I gave this 5 stars because I love history, and this is the best historical overview I have read. Bauer's style is accessible and very readable. She presents her history in manageable small bites, with a chapter averaging pages, including maps and a comparative time-line in each. For example, a chapter on the Byzantine empire may detail about 40 years, with following chapters on the rise of Islam, or China, or Korea, covering approximately the same period. In this way we see the civilizations of the world develop in concert, without being overwhelmed or bogged down with minutia. If one was so minded, you could read straight through the chapters on, say, India, and get a good feel for its continual development.

I highly recommend this series to anyone with an interest in the history and development of civilization. Dec 20, Son Tung rated it really liked it. How cool is this, i started to feel how different historical agents shaped the world we are having. Susan goes with the same format: chronological order and switching geography, she was able to put some significant names, places and events into my head such as the emergence of Charlemange How cool is this, i started to feel how different historical agents shaped the world we are having. Susan goes with the same format: chronological order and switching geography, she was able to put some significant names, places and events into my head such as the emergence of Charlemange, Kievan Rus, the shrinkage of Byzantine Empire..

Before this, i didn't know the origin of Cyrillic alphabet and its connection to the Byzantine and Greek letters or The French or German were in the same kingdom then split. One question: The history of Korea part is an interesting but odd part. Ofcourse she can not put everything in one book, but I suspect there are other incentives to put Korea in. The lecture outlines the summaries and insightful interpretation of events.

This aids to the overall understanding while the book helps with details. It is helpful to see others' review where more indepth knowledge are shown in the critiques regarding Susan's presentation. Mar 31, David rated it really liked it Shelves: history. Good book. It's been too long a week for me to write a detailed review, so I'm going to let my Commodore 64 do the writing.

Jan 07, Peter Mcloughlin rated it really liked it Shelves: european-history , classical-world , owned-books , to , asian-history , politics , general-history , nonfiction , toce , bce-toce. From Constantine to the Crusades. Focuses on Eurasia and dreary and depressing as hell. War, politics, palace intrigue, rise, and fall of kingdoms, religious and theological disputes.

All very remote for the present and the book feels like a long slog through a remote period's pain where all the action and suffering amounted to little for people living now. I suppose millennia from now today's struggle will have little bearing or sympathy of those people in the future.

Going over the pain of thi From Constantine to the Crusades. Going over the pain of this era with little care for winners and losers can affect one's own perspective on present-day woes. Feb 28, Greg Strandberg rated it really liked it Shelves: history.

This was a really good book chronicling about years of European, Middle Eastern, and Asian history. Each chapter is about 6 pages, and each has a good map showing you which nations covered which areas. I was amazed at the number of rulers that fell out of favor and ran off to monasteries, or in the case of women rulers, nunneries.

Many that didn't rush off were blinded, however. This happened to many people over the centuries. The practice of drinking from the skull of a vanquished foe seemed This was a really good book chronicling about years of European, Middle Eastern, and Asian history. The practice of drinking from the skull of a vanquished foe seemed to have fallen out of favor around , but people were still being blinded in Byzantium well into the s. This is definitely a history of the 'great people,' which not much attention given to common living and working conditions.

TMS - Medieval World I Audiobook

It's a great read that will fill you in on a good span of the world's history in a short time, however. Jan 30, Feisty Harriet rated it liked it Shelves: medieval-history , world-history. I was very pleased that this truly is world history and not only the history of Europe although there is a LOT about Europe and Christianity in Europe and adjacent geographic areas. Bauer covers wars and kingdoms and dynasties and major technological or agricultural improvements in China, India, some Africa, and the Americas.

Long, but excellently researched. Sep 13, Cat Treadwell rated it it was amazing. First off, this book is very large, as is the topic it covers. It is essentially an overview of the medieval period, from the last days of the Romans, for the main continents across the world — and it is truly fascinating and engrossing.

Amazingly, the author achieves their goal very well indeed. Each chapter deals with a different culture, moving forward slowly in time to indicate clearly the evolution of the period from each perspective. However, this is never overwhelming. As an overview of a very long period over a very wide area, it is excellent and miraculously! An excellent text, recommended. A fitting follow-up to her previous book, The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome , the author continues summarizing world history with enough detail to know what happened, but tersely enough to keep moving.

I continue to appreciate her dry wit and commentary, such as noting that a crown was inherited by "Louis the Sluggard. The name, like Henry's [Henry the Quarrelsome], points to a difficult personality. Louis the Sluggard kept the throne for a single ye A fitting follow-up to her previous book, The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome , the author continues summarizing world history with enough detail to know what happened, but tersely enough to keep moving.

Louis the Sluggard kept the throne for a single year before he died -- in all likelihood, poisoned by his own exasperated mother. Sections of time periods are divided into easily digested chapters, so although the book is large it's not hard to get through a chapter or two at a time. However, so much time is covered that many of history's notables show themselves to be repetitive. There's only so much poisoning, strangling, and revolts to seize the throne you can read before it starts to get boring.

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This is not so much a flaw in the writing as it is an aspect of history, and in some sense it makes the leaders in history that behave differently stand out even more. I would recommend this book to anyone who can read a large book and has an interest in an overall sense of world history after the first book in series, of course and I look forward to the next installment.

Jun 22, Christina rated it really liked it Shelves: audiobook , non-fiction-history. This is the second volume in the series and it's an absolutely fascinating period of history. For me, it was really hard to get through without it becoming depressing and weighing heavily on the mind. Across race, culture, gender, or religion, the core of human nature seems to be the same.

From the beginning of time hatred, wars, atrocities, and the lust for power have been major themes of human existence. Reading this book was a constant stream of the same basic story played out by different pe This is the second volume in the series and it's an absolutely fascinating period of history. Reading this book was a constant stream of the same basic story played out by different people across the world. It appears that the answer to the question, "Can't we all just get along?

View 2 comments. Jul 29, Rebecca Wilson rated it it was amazing Shelves: histories , american. What a great book. I think I'll read it during every election cycle from now on. Fortunately, I still have Bauer's History of the Renaissance World to get me a little further through the current election. Here's what's so soothing: hundreds of years of assassinations, warfare, and suffering, reported in a lively detached way, kind of like a Viking chronicle, but with much more personality.

Things are much better now! In every possible way! Our brains are programmed to focus on threats; this was a What a great book. Our brains are programmed to focus on threats; this was an important adaptation that allowed us to not be wiped out by bears and things. But it's also wired us to have a consistently negative view of the times in which we live. The only antidote is history, especially one as wide-ranging both geographically and chronologically as this one.

The History of the Medieval World is just that: a round-up of major world events from the s to the s. I was worried that it would be highly focused on the Christian and Muslim world, but China and India got plenty of page time, and the Americas even put in a few appearances. Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania were nowhere to be found. Because of this, the narrative marches along and there's not a lot of dwelling on things.

We get very little in the way of normal people's lives, science, or art, but lots of politics, war, and religion.

Great Minds of the Medieval World | The Great Courses Plus

And there were definitely some real characters in the mix. As much as the world totally sucked back then, there were occasional blips of badassery: The Empress Wu of China; the Empress Zoe of Constantinople; Muhammed; the Peace and the Truce of God in Western Europe; and a couple Arab kings who converted their people to Judaism because Islam and Christianity just seemed too damned fraught.

Even though history was always my favorite from, like, second grade on, and even though I achieved a double major in history mostly by accident, I knew next to nothing about medieval history coming into this. I had never learned about the Fall of Rome or the Rise of Constantinople before. The only episode in this entire book that I knew well was the Norman Conquest, and only because it's one of my favorite Wikipedia articles.

I've been amused to see other reviewers knock stars off for a single error of fact on page , or whatever. Errors are inevitable, and easily corrected in future editions. What this book gets right is its tone and subject matter. I wanted a sweeping overview, not a deep-dive, and that's what this is. View 1 comment. May 29, Gary Beauregard Bottomley rated it really liked it. There is a whole lot of 'one darn thing after another' in the telling of this story. Even the author herself would probably not be able to answer all the questions from a multiple choice test based on this book.

At times, it did get overwhelming with all the names and places and dates which are presented in this story. The narrative for weaving the story together coherently at times seemed to be missing. The particular sometimes needs a glue in order for the bigger, universal story to be understo There is a whole lot of 'one darn thing after another' in the telling of this story. The particular sometimes needs a glue in order for the bigger, universal story to be understood. It's possible to look at and study every turtle in the known universe, but still not understand what turtle being really means.

I felt the book excelled at early Christian church history and what the nature of the trinity meant, the different ways of understanding the divinity of Christ, and the development of the orthodox Western Church and the Eastern Church. All early Christian 'isms' such as Nestorianism, Manicheism, Arianism, and so on usually confuse me, but she would repeat the definition as they came up in the story telling thus allowing me to follow the esoteric fine points.

The author also would emphasis the importance of identity in order for a group of people to become greater than the sum of its parts thus allowing for a cohesive system of some kind transcending what was previously there beforehand. He has a narrative that tied the story together, and he also looked at the development of thought in addition to the political events that were covered in this book, and he presented most of the same facts at least in Europe , but I never felt overwhelmed by his story telling as I sometimes would with this book because he knows that history needs a narrative in order to be understood.

Jan 10, Robin Mccormack rated it it was ok. Actually I've given up, yet again. I'd rather read historical fiction. This book was super long and super dense. I regretted a little bit that on my basic Kindle it wasn't so easy to read the maps or the timelines, but after a couple of hundred pages, I decided to be thankful I didn't have to lug around a Bible-sized tome everywhere I've gone for the past six weeks. I am getting more and more interested in history as I get older, so I don't currently have much to compare it to, but Bauer's dry humor made reading this book such a pleasure. Spoiler alert: Everybody d This book was super long and super dense.

Spoiler alert: Everybody dies, usually ironically quickly after making a bad decision that usually resulted in the deaths of thousands of expendable commoners and soldiers. Also, women--and children--are so very literally property that it's hard to get your head around some time. Like Disney makes being a princess seem like a pretty good gig, whereas real princesses got handed out like party favors to seal deals between usually incompetent men.

And like at least three times in this book, somebody used their enemy's empty skull for a wineglass. If you're just going to read one chapter of this book, which would be odd, but, regardless, I would recommend chapter 80, The Arrival of the Turks in Byzantine. It's the sloppiest series of hookups and breakups between elderly Byzantine nobles and a few cute young ones, too. I feel like this is the behind the scenes stuff that I didn't get in high school.

Honestly, this book was better than any self-help book I've read. If all these ridiculous people predominantly men can get out there in front of giant armies they have no business leading, and these little boys can be sat on thrones because of who their daddies are. Very glad to have read this book and am looking forward to reading Susan Wise Bauer's other history books. Jul 10, Chad rated it really liked it. Another great entry in Mrs.

Bauer's series. The chapters are easy to digest and not dryly written. The historical events are interspersed with interesting stories about the individuals involved.

The Medieval World: 200-1500

In addition to being an interesting read, it also makes a good reference book if you need to refresh yourself on a particular culture or event. Throughout the reading of the book, I was struck by the extremes people would go to in order to gain or keep power. I wasn't, unfortunately, surprised by the kill Another great entry in Mrs. I wasn't, unfortunately, surprised by the killing, but I was surprised at how often people would kill their parents, their siblings, and in at least one case even their own children in their quest for power. I personally think it's only by the grace of God that humanity has survived as long as it has.


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It was also disappointing to read how often religion has been co-opted for political gain. It's important to learn history, otherwise you will be forced to repeat it. In order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the Medieval World, I think it's important to promote democracy in order to avoid the never ending wars of succession, and it's important to participate in that democracy so that the governed will remain in charge.

It's also important to know your Bible, so that when someone stands up and says "You can get to heaven by fighting in this war", you'll know they're lying. Dec 07, Brianna rated it it was ok Shelves: read-for-school. The scope of this work is quite impressive. As an amateur historian myself, I am in awe of all that Susan Wise Bauer had to do to write this. The sections on the far east were absolutely fascinating, and the book as a whole helped me put things in perspective and figure out what was happening when. That being said, there were a lot of problems. There were quite a few places where I feel like she really misrepresented the Eastern Roman Empire.

And, with the notable exception of Char I. And, with the notable exception of Charlemagne who she praises to the heavens , she seems to be saying that you can't convert or be a Christian king without having some ulterior motive.

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You know, ignoring the fact that it's the One True Faith and people might actually convert because they believe it. Honestly, though, the biggest problem I have with the book is the way she handles the Great Schism. It's arguably one of the biggest events in medieval history and she talks about it in a single paragraph. Just one paragraph. And she doesn't even mention the theological issues you know, only the main reason for the Schism , no, she puts those in a footnote.

A footnote. Not to mention she mentions only two of them, one of them wasn't even that big of an issue, and the other she gets plain flat wrong. So yeah, I have quite a few problems with this book, and I shan't be keeping it around. This book covers years in an extraordinarily erratic story. This website requires cookies to provide all of its features. For more information on what data is contained in the cookies, please see our Cookie Policy.

To accept cookies from this site, please click the Allow button below. Menu Search My Account. Basket You have no items in your shopping basket. Advanced search Search: Search. Carlton Books. Look Inside. Book Summary An engaging journey through the Middle Ages, The Medieval World explores a time of war, invention, exploration and extraordinary endeavour.