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Medieval

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  1. 10.9 hrs • 8/9/2016 • Unabridged

    A gripping exploration of the fall of Constantinople and its connection to the world we live in today, 1453 tells the story of one of the great forgotten events of world history, the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. For a thousand years Constantinople was quite simply the city: fabulously wealthy, imperial, intimidating—and Christian. Single-handedly it blunted early Arab enthusiasm for Holy War; when a second wave of Islamic warriors swept out of the Asian steppes in the Middle Ages, Constantinople was the ultimate prize: “The Red Apple.” It was a city that had always lived under threat. On average it had survived a siege every forty years for a millenium—until the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, twenty-one years old and hungry for glory, rode up to the walls in April 1453 with a huge army, “numberless as the stars.” Here is the taut, vivid story of this final struggle for the city told largely through the accounts of eyewitnesses. For fifty-five days a tiny group of defenders defied the huge Ottoman army in a seesawing contest fought on land, at sea, and underground. During the course of events, the largest cannon ever built was directed against the world’s most formidable defensive system, Ottoman ships were hauled overland into the Golden Horn, and the morale of defenders was crucially undermined by unnerving portents. At the center is the contest between two inspirational leaders, Mehmed II and Constantine XI, fighting for empire and religious faith, and an astonishing finale in a few short hours on May 29, 1453—a defining moment for medieval history.

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    1453

    10.9 hrs • 8/9/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 7.5 hrs • 6/14/2016 • Unabridged

    In this gripping narrative history, Lesley Hazleton tells the tragic story at the heart of the ongoing rivalry between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam, a rift that dominates the news now more than ever. Even as Muhammad lay dying, the battle over who would take control of the new Islamic nation had begun, sparking a succession crisis marked by power grabs, assassination, political intrigue, and passionate faith. Soon Islam was embroiled in civil war, pitting its founder’s controversial wife Aisha against his son-in-law Ali and shattering Muhammad’s ideal of unity. Combining meticulous research with compelling storytelling, After the Prophet explores the volatile intersection of religion and politics, psychology and culture, and history and current events. It is an indispensable guide to the depth and power of the Shia-Sunni split.

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    After the Prophet by Lesley Hazleton

    After the Prophet

    7.5 hrs • 6/14/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 7.2 hrs • 10/20/2015 • Unabridged

    From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Plantagenets comes a short, lively, action-packed history of how the Magna Carta came to be. The Magna Carta is revered around the world as the founding document of Western liberty. Its principles can be found in our Bill of Rights and in the Constitution. But what was this strange document that dwells on tax relief and greater fishing rights, and how did it gain legendary status? Dan Jones takes us back to 1215, the turbulent year when the Magna Carta was just a peace treaty between England’s King John and a group of self-interested, violent barons who were tired of his high taxes and endless foreign wars. The treaty would fail within two months of its confirmation. But this important document marked the first time a king was forced to obey his own laws. Jones’ Magna Carta follows the story of the Magna Carta’s creation, its failure, and the war that subsequently engulfed England and is book that will appeal to fans of microhistories of pivotal years like 1066, 1491, and especially 1776—when American patriots, inspired by that long-ago defiance, dared to pick up arms against another English king.

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    Magna Carta

    Read by Dan Jones
    7.2 hrs • 10/20/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    6.5 hrs • 9/22/2015 • Unabridged

    On August 22, 1485, at Bosworth Field, Richard III fell, the Wars of the Roses ended, and the Tudor dynasty began. The clash is so significant because it marks the break between medieval and modern; yet how much do we really know about this historical landmark? Michael K. Jones uses archival discoveries to show Richard III’s defeat was by no means inevitable and was achieved only through extraordinary chance. He relocates the battle away from the site recognized for more than five hundred years. With startling detail of Henry Tudor’s reliance on French mercenaries and a new account of the battle action, the author turns Shakespeare on its head, painting an entirely fresh picture of the dramatic life and death of Richard III, England’s most infamous monarch.

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    Bosworth 1485

    6.5 hrs • 9/22/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 26.0 hrs • 8/20/2015 • Unabridged

    The Bubonic Plague of the 14th century killed one third of all human beings in Europe and Western Asia; many who survived the plague killed each other in the Hundred Years War that followed. What was it like to live in this calamitous century, when knighthood (and much more) died a violent death?

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    Distant Mirror

    26.0 hrs • 8/20/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 21.3 hrs • 6/30/2015 • Unabridged

    For many, the medieval world seems dark and foreign—a miraculous, brutal, and irrational time of superstition and strange relics. The pursuit of heretics, the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the domination of the Holy Land come to mind. Yet the medieval world produced much that is part of our world today, including universities, the passion for Roman architecture and the emergence of the Gothic style, pilgrimage, the emergence of capitalism, and female saints. This new narrative history of medieval Christianity combines what is familiar and unfamiliar to modern audiences. Elements of novelty in the book include a steady focus on the role of women in Christianity; the relationships among Christians, Jews, and Muslims; the experience of ordinary parishioners; the adventure of asceticism, devotion, and worship; and instruction through drama, architecture, and art. Kevin Madigan expertly integrates these areas of focus with more traditional themes, such as the evolution and decline of papal power; the nature and repression of heresy, sanctity, and pilgrimage; the Conciliar Movement; and the break between the old western church and its reformers.

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    Medieval Christianity

    21.3 hrs • 6/30/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 18.2 hrs • 5/12/2015 • Unabridged

    The acclaimed author of Rubicon and other superb works of popular history now produces a thrillingly panoramic (and incredibly timely) account of the rise of Islam. No less significant than the collapse of the Roman Republic or the Persian invasion of Greece, the evolution of the Arab empire is one of the supreme narratives of ancient history, a story dazzlingly rich in drama, character, and achievement. Just like the Romans, the Arabs came from nowhere to carve out a stupefyingly vast dominion—except that they achieved their conquests not over the course of centuries as the Romans did but in a matter of decades. Just like the Greeks during the Persian wars, they overcame seemingly insuperable odds to emerge triumphant against the greatest empire of the day—not by standing on the defensive, however, but by hurling themselves against all who lay in their path.

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    In the Shadow of the Sword

    18.2 hrs • 5/12/15 • Unabridged
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  8. 6.8 hrs • 5/5/2015 • Unabridged

    From a celebrated religious scholar comes a riveting account of the Catholic Church’s failed attempt to crush Martin Luther and his Reformation. In 1521, the Catholic Church was hunting for Martin Luther. Angered by the Christian reformer’s unapologetic criticisms of the Church, the Holy Roman Emperor had called for him “to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic.” Knowing that inquisitors would murder the monk and crush his fragile movement if they caught him, Luther’s followers spirited him away to Wartburg Castle in central Germany. There Luther hid for the next eight months as his fate—and that of the Reformation—hung in the balance. In Luther’s Fortress, acclaimed religious historian James Reston Jr. describes this crucial but little-known episode in Luther’s life. While at Wartburg, Luther translated the Bible, fought his inner demons, and held together his fractious and increasingly radicalized movement from afar. A gripping portrait of the theologian at a transformational moment, Luther’s Fortress reveals how Luther and his Reformation emerged from Wartburg Castle stronger than ever.

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    Luther’s Fortress by James Reston Jr.

    Luther’s Fortress

    6.8 hrs • 5/5/15 • Unabridged
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  9. 18.5 hrs • 3/24/2015 • Unabridged

    Edward I is familiar to millions as “Longshanks,” conqueror of Scotland and nemesis of Sir William Wallace (in Braveheart). Yet this story forms only the final chapter of the king’s action-packed life. Earlier Edward had defeated and killed the famous Simon de Montfort, traveled to the Holy Land, and conquered Wales. He raised the greatest armies of the Middle Ages and summoned the largest parliaments. Notoriously, he expelled all the Jews from his kingdom. In this book, Marc Morris examines afresh the forces that drove Edward throughout his relentless career: his character, his Christian faith, and his sense of England’s destiny—a sense shaped in particular by the tales of the legendary King Arthur. He also explores the competing reasons that led Edward’s opponents (including Robert Bruce) to resist him.

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    A Great and Terrible King

    18.5 hrs • 3/24/15 • Unabridged
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  10. 14.5 hrs • 3/10/2015 • Unabridged

    In The Greatest Knight, renowned historian Thomas Asbridge draws upon the thirteenth-century biography and an array of other contemporary evidence to present a compelling account of William Marshal’s life and times. Asbridge charts the unparalleled rise to prominence of a man bound to a code of honor yet driven by unquenchable ambition. Marshal was the true Lancelot of his era—a peerless warrior and paragon of chivalry. As a five-year-old boy, William was sentenced to execution and led to the gallows, yet this landless younger son survived his brush with death and went on to train as a medieval knight. Against all odds, Marshal rose through the ranks—serving at the right hand of five English monarchs—to become a celebrated tournament champion, a baron and politician, and, ultimately, regent of the realm. This knight’s tale lays bare the brutish realities of medieval warfare and the machinations of royal court, and it draws us into the heart of a formative period of our history. It is the story of one remarkable man, the birth of the knightly class to which he belonged, and the forging of the English nation.

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    The Greatest Knight

    14.5 hrs • 3/10/15 • Unabridged
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  11. 7.1 hrs • 10/28/2014 • Unabridged

    There is much more to the Norman story than the Battle of Hastings. These descendants of the Vikings who settled in France, England, and Italy—but were not strictly French, English, or Italian—played a large role in creating the modern world. They were the success story of the Middle Ages; a footloose band of individual adventurers who transformed the face of medieval Europe. During the course of two centuries, they launched a series of extraordinary conquests, carving out kingdoms from the North Sea to the North African coast. In The Normans, author Lars Brownworth follows their story, from the first shock of a Viking raid on an Irish monastery to the exile of the last Norman Prince of Antioch. In the process, he brings to vivid life the Norman tapestry’s rich cast of characters: figures like Rollo the Walker, William Iron-Arm, Tancred the Monkey King, and Robert Guiscard. It presents a fascinating glimpse of a time when a group of restless adventurers had the world at their fingertips.

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    The Normans

    7.1 hrs • 10/28/14 • Unabridged
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    15.1 hrs • 10/14/2014 • Unabridged

    The author of the New York Times bestseller The Plantagenets chronicles the next chapter in British history—the actual historical backdrop for Game of Thrones. The fifteenth century saw the longest and bloodiest series of civil wars in British history. The crown of England changed hands five times as two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty fought to the death for the right to rule. Celebrated historian Dan Jones describes how the longest reigning British royal family tore itself apart until it was finally replaced by the Tudors. Some of the greatest heroes and villains in history were thrown together in these turbulent times—from Joan of Arc and Henry V, whose victory at Agincourt and prudent rule marked the high point of the medieval English monarchy, to Richard III, who stole the throne and murdered his own nephews. It is also a period of headstrong and resilient women—Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville, and Margaret Beaufort—who were not afraid to seize power and bend men to their will. With vivid descriptions of the battles of Towton and Bosworth, where the last Plantagenet king was slain, The Wars of the Roses is a bold and dramatic narrative history that will delight listeners who like their history with a healthy dose of bedlam, romance, and intrigue.

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    The Wars of the Roses

    15.1 hrs • 10/14/14 • Unabridged
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    61.4 hrs • 5/15/2014 • Unabridged

    The fourth volume in Will Durant’s Pulitzer Prize–winning series, The Age of Faith surveys the medieval achievements and modern significance of Christian, Islamic, and Judaic life and culture. Like the other volumes in the Story of Civilization series, this is a self-contained work, which at the same time fits into a comprehensive history of mankind. It includes the dramatic stories of St. Augustine, Hypatia, Justinian, Mohammed, Harun al-Rashid, Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Maimonides, St. Francis, St. Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, and many others, all in the perspective of integrated history. The greatest love stories in literature—of Héloise and Abélard, of Dante and Beatrice—are here retold with enthralling scholarship.

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    The Age of Faith by Will Durant

    The Age of Faith

    61.4 hrs • 5/15/14 • Unabridged
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  14. 10.7 hrs • 5/15/2014 • Unabridged

    How a seven-year cycle of rain, cold, disease, and warfare created the worst famine in European history In May 1315 it started to rain. It didn’t stop anywhere in north Europe until August. Next came the four coldest winters in a millennium. Two separate animal epidemics killed nearly 80 percent of northern Europe’s livestock. Wars between Scotland and England, France and Flanders, and two rival claimants to the Holy Roman Empire destroyed all remaining farmland. After seven years, the combination of lost harvests, warfare, and pestilence would claim six million lives—one eighth of Europe’s total population. William Rosen draws on a wide array of disciplines, from military history to feudal law to agricultural economics and climatology, to trace the succession of traumas that caused the Great Famine. With dramatic appearances by Scotland’s William Wallace, the luckless Edward II, and his treacherous Queen Isabella, history’s best-documented episode of catastrophic climate change comes alive, with powerful implications for future calamities.

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    The Third Horseman by William Rosen

    The Third Horseman

    10.7 hrs • 5/15/14 • Unabridged
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  15. 0 reviews 0 5 3 3 out of 5 stars 3/5
    4.2 hrs • 3/26/2014

    The Middle Ages is not only a period of romance, but of legends, tales, and mysteries. In this course, Professor Thomas F. Madden guides listeners through the most famous and enduring narratives of medieval Europe. Beginning with King Arthur, Professor Madden peels back layers of exaggeration and fiction to lay bare the historical basis for the mythical king. Madden then examines myths of the medieval church, sexual myths of the Middle Ages, and myths about Robin Hood and the Shroud of Turin, all the time imparting an understanding of just what medieval people thought about their planet.

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    Medieval Mysteries

    4.2 hrs • 3/26/14
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  16. 4.5 hrs • 3/5/2014

    Professor Thomas F. Madden is a widely published author and the director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University. In The Lost Warriors of God, Madden examines one of the most fascinating organizations in world history: the Knights Templar, whose members gave up home, family, and worldly possessions to defend the Holy Land and the Christian pilgrims who journeyed there.

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