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Jim

Jim Twickenham, United Kingdom Member Since 2011
HELPFUL VOTES
68
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  • "Completely gripping"

    Overall

    The reviews for this book tempted me to get it despite a feeling that there surely couldn't be anything new to say about the first world war. However; it grips from the start to create a clear picture of what was driving the seemingly non-sensical start of world war one and how the first few months of the war unfolded. If all of that sounds a bit dry there are a sequence of gloriously bonkers characters amongst the ranks of Europe's nobility and military class which add fascinating human colour to the epic historical sweep

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    The Guns of August

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (25)

    In this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, historian Barbara Tuchman brings to life the people and events that led up to World War I. This was the last gasp of the Gilded Age, of Kings and Kaisers and Czars, of pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms, and all the pomp and romance that went along with war. How quickly it all changed...and how horrible it became.

    Kirstine says: "Not a good choice for an audio version"
  • "Outstanding"

    Overall

    Brilliantly conceived to combine the life of a central character with an overview of the peak and decline of European medieval culture. It's well narrated (don't care about her accent; she's always as clear as a bell) and at just north of 24 hours duration, excellent value.

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    A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and the exquisitely decorated Books of Hours; and on the other, a time of ferocity and spiritual agony, a world of chaos and the plague.

    Annelli says: "A Distant Mirror"
  • "Easy Listening"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When deciding whether to buy a title I'll often look for a book review online so when I came across a slightly sniffy New York Times review which call this "Lively if not particularly scholarly" I was sold. This is highly engaging and well written without being too demanding which is what I was in the mood for over the Easter break. Norwich paints lively, opinionated portraits of the movers and shakers of medieval England; in each case going on to show us how Shakespeare wrote about them a few generations after the fact. It's a device that worked really well for me; partly because Norwich is good at bringing historical characters to life in a convincing way through the little we know about them and also because we get an insight into the shifting politics of the period by seeing what Shakespeare could and could not safely write about a hundred or more year later under the Tudors.

    If you enjoy medieval history this won't break particularly new ground but it's well written, well narrated, it brings characters and the period to life and there's enough in it to enjoyably hold your attention without taxing the brain too much.

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    Shakespeare's Kings: The Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By John Julius Norwich
    • Narrated By John Curran
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    William Shakespeare may have been the greatest playwright in the English language, but how does he measure up as a historian? In this brilliant comparison between the events and characters in Shakespeare's history plays and the actual events that inspired them, acclaimed historian John Julius Norwich examines the nine works that together amount to an epic masterpiece on England's most fascinating period.

    Jim says: "Easy Listening"
  1. The Guns of August
  2. A Distant Mirror: The Cal...
  3. Shakespeare's Kings: The ...
  4. .

A fascinating insight into World War I

An unforgettable listen from the talented Eric Schlosser

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