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17th Century

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  1. 8.5 hrs • 7/8/2016 • Unabridged

    Esteemed history professor Thomas F. Madden explores the reformations that swept across Christendom in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The impact of these reforms affected government, popes, and kings as well as commoners, for at this time the church was an omnipresent part of European identity—and the import of church reforms on every level of life at this time simply cannot be underestimated. Involved in this fascinating era are such notable personages as King Henry VIII, Martin Luther, and John Calvin. Through every aspect of this remarkable process of reformation, professor Madden captures the essence of the era—and imparts a true, studied understanding of just what this time period meant to the course of human events.

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    Christianity at the Crossroads

    8.5 hrs • 7/8/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 22.1 hrs • 4/26/2016 • Unabridged

    A groundbreaking examination of the greatest event in history, the Scientific Revolution, and how it came to change the way we understand ourselves and our world We live in a world transformed by scientific discovery. Yet today, science and its practitioners have come under political attack. In this fascinating history spanning continents and centuries, historian David Wootton offers a lively defense of science, revealing why the Scientific Revolution was truly the greatest event in our history. The Invention of Science goes back five hundred years in time to chronicle this crucial transformation, exploring the factors that led to its birth and the people who made it happen. Wootton argues that the Scientific Revolution was actually five separate yet concurrent events that developed independently, but came to intersect and create a new world view. Here are the brilliant iconoclasts—Galileo, Copernicus, Brahe, Newton, and many more curious minds from across Europe—whose studies of the natural world challenged centuries of religious orthodoxy and ingrained superstition. From gunpowder technology, the discovery of the new world, movable type printing, perspective painting, and the telescope to the practice of conducting experiments, the laws of nature, and the concept of the fact, Wootton shows how these discoveries codified into a social construct and a system of knowledge ideas of truth, knowledge, progress. Ultimately, he makes clear the link between scientific discovery and the rise of industrialization—and the birth of the modern world we know.

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    The Invention of Science by David Wootton

    The Invention of Science

    22.1 hrs • 4/26/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 12.5 hrs • 3/16/2016 • Unabridged

    From two veteran historians comes an intelligent and spirited history of Charles II’s dissolute life and surprising legacy. To refer to the private life of Charles II is to abuse the adjective. His personal life was anything but private. His amorous liaisons were largely conducted in royal palaces surrounded by friends, courtiers, and literally hundreds of servants and soldiers. Gossip radiated throughout the kingdom. Charles spent most of his wealth and his intellect on gaining and keeping the company of women, from the lowest of society such as the actress Nell Gwyn to the aristocratic Louise de Kérouaille. Some of Charles’ women played their part in the affairs of state, coloring the way the nation was run. The authors take us inside Charles’ palace, where we will meet court favorites, amusing confidants, advisors jockeying for political power, mistresses past and present, as well as key figures in Charles’ inner circle, including his “pimpmasters” and his personal pox doctor. The astonishing personal life of Charles II reveals much about the man he was and why he lived and ruled as he did. The King’s Bed tells the compelling story of a king ruled by his passion.

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    The King’s Bed by Don Jordan, Michael Walsh

    The King’s Bed

    12.5 hrs • 3/16/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 4.3 hrs • 4/23/2015 • Unabridged

    This unabridged chapter, titled “Witch Mania,” is from Charles Mackay’s evergreen work, Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Published in 1841, it is a stylish and comprehensive dissection of the witch mania which beset much of Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In his easygoing journalistic style, Mackay describes in some detail many celebrated outbreaks of this hysteria including the trials of Dr. Fian and Gellie Duncan in Scotland, the progress of Matthew Hopkins through East Anglia as the self-styled Witch-Finder General, and further episodes in New England, Wurzburg and Geneva. Herein are speeches made from the dock, the scaffold, from the foot of the “bonnie fire” itself, gruesome accounts of the many tortures endured and several chilling spells and incantations. It begins with a discussion of medieval attitudes to the devil and Satan, misinterpretations of Mosaic Law, of what comprised a typical Witches’ Sabbath, of the brutal extirpation of the Knights Templar and the brave but futile resistance of the little-known Stedinger in Holland. “Witch Mania” is, in short, not only an exciting introduction to the history of witchcraft and a worthy addition to the libraries of folklorists, social historians, and students of Wicca, but also a moving memorial to the countless innocent lives lost.

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    Witch Mania

    4.3 hrs • 4/23/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 19.0 hrs • 12/2/2014 • Unabridged

    Peter Ackroyd has been praised as one of the greatest living chroniclers of Britain and its people. In Rebellion, he continues his dazzling account of the history of England, beginning the progress south of the Scottish king James VI, who on the death of Elizabeth I became the first Stuart king of England, and ending with the deposition and flight into exile of his grandson James II. The Stuart monarchy brought together the two nations of England and Scotland into one realm, albeit a realm still marked by political divisions that echo to this day. More importantly perhaps, the Stuart era was marked by the cruel depredations of civil war and the killing of a king. Shrewd and opinionated, James I was eloquent on matters as diverse as theology, witchcraft, and the abuses of tobacco, but his attitude to the English parliament sowed the seeds of the division that would split the country during the reign of his hapless heir, Charles I. Ackroyd offers a brilliant, warts-and-all portrayal of Charles’s nemesis, Oliver Cromwell, Parliament’s great military leader and England’s only dictator, who began his career as a political liberator but ended it as much of a despot as “that man of blood,” the king he executed. England’s turbulent seventeenth century is vividly laid out before us, but so too is the cultural and social life of the period, notable for its extraordinarily rich literature, including Shakespeare’s late masterpieces, Jacobean tragedy, the poetry of John Donne and Milton, and Thomas Hobbes’s great philosophical treatise, Leviathan. Rebellion also gives us a very real sense of the lives of ordinary English men and women, lived out against a backdrop of constant disruption and uncertainty.

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    Rebellion by Peter Ackroyd

    Rebellion

    19.0 hrs • 12/2/14 • Unabridged
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  6. 20.6 hrs • 11/11/2014 • Unabridged

    Over 350,000 intrepid English men, women, and children migrated to America in the seventeenth century, leaving behind their homeland for an uncertain future on distant shores. Whether they settled in Jamestown, Salem, or Barbados, these early English migrants—entrepreneurs, soldiers, and pilgrims alike—sought to re-create their old country in the new land. Yet as Malcolm Gaskill reveals in Between Two Worlds, colonists’ efforts to remake England and retain their Englishness proved impossible. As they strove to leave their mark on the New World, they too were altered: by harsh wilderness, by illness and infighting, and by bloody battles with Indians. Gradually acclimating to their new environment, later generations realized that they were perhaps not even English at all. These were the first Americans, and their newfound independence would propel them along the path toward rebellion. A major work of transatlantic history, Between Two Worlds brilliantly illuminates the long, complicated, and often traumatic process by which English colonists became American.

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    Between Two Worlds by Malcolm Gaskill

    Between Two Worlds

    20.6 hrs • 11/11/14 • Unabridged
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    26.2 hrs • 8/13/2013 • Unabridged

    Bernard Bailyn gives us a compelling, fresh account of the first great transit of people from Britain, Europe, and Africa to British North America, their involvements with each other, and their struggles with the indigenous peoples of the eastern seaboard. The immigrants were a mixed multitude. They came from England, the Netherlands, the German and Italian states, France, Africa, Sweden, and Finland, and they moved to the western hemisphere for different reasons, from different social backgrounds and cultures. They represented a spectrum of religious attachments. In the early years, their stories are not mainly of triumph but of confusion, failure, violence, and the loss of civility as they sought to normalize situations and recapture lost worlds. It was a thoroughly brutal encounter—not only between the Europeans and native peoples and between Europeans and Africans but among Europeans themselves, as they sought to control and prosper in the new configurations of life that were emerging around them.

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    The Barbarous Years

    26.2 hrs • 8/13/13 • Unabridged
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  8. 12.3 hrs • 7/12/2011 • Unabridged

    At Will Durant’s death in 1981, his personal papers were dispersed among relatives, collectors, and archive houses. Twenty years later, scholar John Little discovered the previously unknown manuscript of Heroes of History in Durant’s granddaughter’s garage. Written shortly before he died, these twenty-one essays serve as an abbreviated version of Durant’s bestselling, eleven-volume series, The Story of Civilization. Durant traces the lives and ideas of those who have helped to define civilization, from Confucius to Shakespeare, from the Roman Empire to the Reformation, spanning thousands of years of human history. A volume of life-enhancing wit and wisdom, Heroes of History draws upon Durant’s expansive knowledge and singular ability to translate distant events and complex ideas into easily accessible principles.                       

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    Heroes of History

    12.3 hrs • 7/12/11 • Unabridged
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