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  • Summer of Blood: The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381

  • By: Dan Jones
  • Narrated by: Kris Dyer
  • Length: 7 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (84 ratings)

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Summary

Revolt and upheaval in medieval Britain by a brilliant new narrative historian, Summer of Blood breaks new ground in its portrayal of the personalities and politics of the bloody days of June 1381.

The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 is one of the most dramatic and bloody events in English history. Starting with village riots in the Essex countryside, chaos rapidly spread across much of the southeast of England, as tens of thousands of ordinary men and women marched in fury to London, torching houses, slaughtering their social superiors and terrifying the life out of those who got in their way. The burning down of Savoy Palace, home to the most powerful magnate in the realm, marked one of the Revolt’s most violent episodes.

The Peasants’ Revolt has remained an underexplored period of history. In revisiting the bloody events of 1381, Dan Jones has brought back to glorious life the squalor, drama and complex hierarchies of a society that until now seemed almost too distant to imagine. His examination of village life and the failings of government from the perspective of the Revolt’s key players is both intellectually stimulating and compulsively readable.

Vivid, atmospheric and beautifully written, this is historical writing of the highest quality.

©2019 Dan Jones (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Short, clear history of a long, hot summer." (Scotsman)

"Dan Jones seeks to uncover the idealism and brutality of this fateful summer…A fresh look." (John Guy, Sunday Times

"Dan Jones relates his tale with relish and zest…If anyone is looking for a racy account of England's 'summer of blood' this is it." (TLS

What listeners say about Summer of Blood: The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381

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  • Overall
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Narrator was aight, Book half-aight

Dan Jones is in severe need of a thesaurus and I need to recover my brain cells. Though informative of basic events of the revolt, it goes for the modern emotive approach to history. However, unlike "The Five" by Rubenhold, I was thoroughly disengaged to the point of wanting to run a rebellion myself.

Sympathies to the narrator, since I couldn't envision them as anyone else but Anthony Daniels. Coupled with the content, the image of C-3P0 in the middle of longbow crossfire yelling: "We're doomed!" was not far away.

Other than that, good for vacant and disengaged listening. Halfway through, I chose to use the time to finally get some coding done.

Conclusion: if you don't like his documentaries on TV, it's just more of that. Safe audible travels.

1 person found this helpful

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New narrator

An excellent coverage of an often neglected period in history. Dan Jones has done a great job. However, whilst the narrator is clear in his enunciation, he has no life in his delivery at all, and I kept finding my attention drifting. It would have worked better with, say, Dan himself

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A Most Informative Book.

This book goes into great detail into the Peasant's Revolt in a way I have not yet seen. It is very informative - I knew very little about this event before hearing the Audio Book - it is extremely well written - well it is by Dan Jones - and very descriptive, imbuing events with clarity and panache.
The narrator is really good and brings " life "to the audio which is frequently missing in less adept speakers.

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How can such a gory tale be so boring to listen to

Dan Jones is an exceptional historian with a way of storytelling that really brings history to life. Unfortunately the narration was quite droning and at times mind numbing, I really struggled to finish it. Much prefer the books he has narrated himself.

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Peasants Brexit Vote

Great presentation and deatail for the Peasants Revolt and a very engaging reader bringing those bloody times to life

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This is why we love history

This is a book that details and explains from beginning to end probably the best known rebellion or uprising in history. There have been others yes but this one is as well known as some of the later uprisings and is proof that we need democracy and that is can work. the book puts you right at the heart of the matter making you feel as if you are there and though the outcome is obvious still one finds oneself rooting for the underdog just as we often do now. Short but really good. The narration’s not so great. The narrator reaeds in a somewhat staccato fashion so giving the book an air of breathlessness but otherwise it’s fine.

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Solid, well-researched account of the rising.

It was a bit short, but on the whole worth a read for anyone interested in the topic.

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Pro-Royal, anti-rebel bias undermines the work.

I enjoyed this book for sure. Unlike some reviewers I have no problem with the author indulging in moments of speculation, to keep the narrative flowing, where these imaginings simply add colour and drama. This is to be expected in what is a novelistic and popular telling of the story. This is not, nor is it meant to be, a scholarly work. Rather, a romping good tale. It largely succeeds on these terms.

What is irritating, is when creative license simply serves Jones' political prejudices. In discussing the uprising too often he attributes benign motives to King Richard and established authority - while assuming the very worst of the rebels. They are described as 'blood thirsty', 'demagogic' and 'arrogant' in the latter stages of the book when all objectivity is abandoned. We are also led to see John Ball as a power-hungry madman and heretic, and Wat Tyler is painted as a rather cartoonish, strutting villain who deserved his downfall for displaying bad manners in front of the King. It's no wonder David Starkey has championed this work. It is, ultimately, a profoundly conservative critique of the uprising.

A more sympathetic Epilogue on the meaning and legacy of 1381 does restore balance somewhat. But not entirely. This story has been better told by writers more instinctively on the side of the unwashed and oppressed. If that describes you, there is certainly pleasure to be had here - but be prepared to grit your teeth and shout occasionally!