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18th Century

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  1. 31.2 hrs • 8/9/2016 • Unabridged

    It is an era that redefined history. As the 1790s began, a fragile America teetered on the brink of oblivion, Russia towered as a vast imperial power, and France plunged into revolution. But in contrast to the way conventional histories tell it, none of these remarkable events occurred in isolation. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian Jay Winik masterfully illuminates how their fates combined in one extraordinary moment to change the course of civilization. A sweeping, magisterial drama featuring the richest cast of characters ever to walk upon the world stage, including Washington, Jefferson, Louis XVI, Robespierre, and Catherine the Great, The Great Upheaval is a gripping, epic portrait of this tumultuous decade that will forever transform the way we see America’s beginnings and our world.

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    The Great Upheaval

    31.2 hrs • 8/9/16 • Unabridged
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    57.4 hrs • 9/15/2015 • Unabridged

    The Pulitzer Prize–winning volume on European civilization by acclaimed historians Will and Ariel Durant Rousseau and Revolution, the tenth volume of the Story of Civilization, ranges over a Europe in ferment, but centers on the passionate rebel—philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the great exponent of the romantic impulse toward self-exploration and social revolt, who contended with the great rationalist Voltaire for the mind of Europe. Rousseau condemned civilization as a disease, glorified the noble savage, proclaimed to the world with equal intensity his own love affairs and the natural rights of man, and became the patron saint of the revolution and the worldwide social upheavals of two centuries.

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    Rousseau and Revolution by Will Durant, Ariel Durant

    Rousseau and Revolution

    57.4 hrs • 9/15/15 • Unabridged
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    42.9 hrs • 6/1/2015 • Unabridged

    The Age of Voltaire, the ninth volume of the Story of Civilization, is an in-depth examination of France and England in the first half of the eighteenth century. In this masterful work, listeners will encounter the English ideas that inspired the Enlightenment in France—skepticism, scientific experiment, constitutional government, “natural rights,” and individual liberty; the salons of Paris, where the wits and thinkers of all Europe gathered to exchange ideas; the philosophes—intellectuals, playwrights, and poets who consulted and consorted with kings and queens; Voltaire himself—the incarnation of the Enlightenment and a devotee of reason who still defended religious faith; Mme. Pompadour, patron of the philosophes, who seduced King Louis XV and through him influenced French policy; the Augustan Age in English literature—Alexander Pope’s poetry, Jonathan Swift’s satires, and the novels of Samuel Richardson and Henry Fielding; and the growing parasitism of the aristocracy and rising power of the commercial class.

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    The Age of Voltaire by Will Durant, Ariel Durant

    The Age of Voltaire

    42.9 hrs • 6/1/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 22.5 hrs • 2/10/2015 • Unabridged

    For the ruling and propertied classes of the late eighteenth century, the years following the French Revolution were characterized by intense anxiety. Monarchs and their courtiers lived in constant fear of rebellion, convinced that their power—and their heads—were at risk. Driven by paranoia, they chose to fight back against every threat and insurgency, whether real or merely perceived, repressing their populaces through surveillance networks and violent, secretive police action. Europe, and the world, had entered a new era. In Phantom Terror, award-winning historian Adam Zamoyski argues that the stringent measures designed to prevent unrest had disastrous and far-reaching consequences, inciting the very rebellions they had hoped to quash. The newly established culture of state control halted economic development in Austria and birthed a rebellious youth culture in Russia that would require even harsher methods to suppress. By the end of the era, the first stirrings of terrorist movements had become evident across the continent, making the previously unfounded fears of European monarchs a reality. Phantom Terror explores this troubled, fascinating period, when politicians and cultural leaders from Edmund Burke to Mary Shelley were forced to choose sides and either support or resist the counterrevolutionary spirit embodied in the newly omnipotent central states. The turbulent political situation that coalesced during this era would lead directly to the revolutions of 1848 and to the collapse of order in World War I. We still live with the legacy of this era of paranoia, which prefigured not only the modern totalitarian state but also the now preeminent contest between society’s haves and have-nots. These tempestuous years of suspicion and suppression were the crux upon which the rest of European history would turn. In this magisterial history, Zamoyski chronicles the moment when desperate monarchs took the world down the path of revolution, terror, and world war.

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    Phantom Terror by Adam Zamoyski

    Phantom Terror

    22.5 hrs • 2/10/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 14.4 hrs • 11/4/2014 • Unabridged

    Kate Williams’ Ambition and Desire is a compelling biography that explores the unbelievable life of an incredible woman and lays bare one of the world’s most violent love affairs. Josephine de Beauharnais began as a kept woman of Paris and became the most powerful woman in France. She was no beauty, her teeth were rotten, and she was six years older than her husband, but one twitch of her skirt could bring running the man who terrorized Europe. The tale of Napoleon and Josephine is one of the most famous love stories in the world. With Josephine, Napoleon became the greatest man in Europe—the Supreme Emperor. And yet, envisioning Josephine as the calm consort on the sofa obscures many of the most fascinating aspects of her story. How did she rise to such an astonishing position? How did she perfect the art of the beautiful, sweet chameleon—and thus fool so many? France in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century was a country in such extreme flux that everything was accessible—and possible—but it took an incredible woman to seize the opportunities. Ambition and Desire shows how the little girl from Martinique became the queen of France.

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    Ambition and Desire

    14.4 hrs • 11/4/14 • Unabridged
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  6. 12.4 hrs • 7/8/2014 • Unabridged

    Scandal! Intrigue! Cossacks! Here the world’s most engaging royal historian chronicles the world’s most fascinating imperial dynasty: the Romanovs, whose three-hundred-year reign was remarkable for its shocking violence, spectacular excess, and unimaginable venality. In this incredibly entertaining history, Michael Farquhar collects the best, most captivating true tales of Romanov iniquity. We meet Catherine the Great, with her endless parade of virile young lovers (none of them of the equine variety); her unhinged son, Paul I, who ordered the bones of one of his mother’s paramours dug out of its grave and tossed into a gorge; and Grigori Rasputin, the “Mad Monk,” whose mesmeric domination of the last of the Romanov tsars helped lead to the monarchy’s undoing. From Peter the Great’s penchant for personally beheading his recalcitrant subjects (he kept the severed head of one of his mistresses pickled in alcohol) to Nicholas and Alexandra’s brutal demise at the hands of the Bolsheviks, Secret Lives of the Tsars captures all the splendor and infamy that was Imperial Russia.

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    Secret Lives of the Tsars

    12.4 hrs • 7/8/14 • Unabridged
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  7. 13.7 hrs • 5/6/2014 • Unabridged

    From the author of the bestseller The Admirals comes a new look at the American Revolution’s first weeks. When we look back on our nation’s history, the American Revolution can feel almost like a foregone conclusion. In reality, the first weeks of the war were much more tenuous, and a fractured and ragtag group of colonial militias had to coalesce to have even the slimmest chance of toppling the mighty British Army. American Spring follows a fledgling nation from Paul Revere’s little-known ride of December 1774 and the first shots fired on Lexington Green, through the catastrophic Battle of Bunker Hill, culminating with a Virginian named George Washington taking command of colonial forces on July 3, 1775. Focusing on the colorful heroes John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Benjamin Franklin, and Patrick Henry, and the ordinary Americans caught up in the revolution, Walter Borneman tells the story of how a decade of discontent erupted into an armed rebellion that forged our nation.

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    American Spring

    13.7 hrs • 5/6/14 • Unabridged
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  8. 10.5 hrs • 12/3/2013 • Unabridged

    For more than two centuries, our political life has been divided between a party of progress and a party of conservation. In The Great Debate, Yuval Levin explores the origins of the Left-Right divide by examining the views of the men who best represented each side of that debate at its outset: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. In a groundbreaking exploration of the roots of our political order, Levin shows that American partisanship originated in the debates over the French Revolution, fueled by the fiery rhetoric of these ideological titans. Levin masterfully shows how Burke’s and Paine’s differing views, a reforming conservatism and a restoring progressivism, continue to shape our current political discourse—on issues ranging from abortion to welfare, education, economics, and beyond. Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand Washington’s often acrimonious rifts, The Great Debate offers a profound examination of what conservatism, liberalism, and the debate between them truly amount to.

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    The Great Debate by Yuval Levin

    The Great Debate

    10.5 hrs • 12/3/13 • Unabridged
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  9. 9.8 hrs • 11/18/2013 • Unabridged

    Jesse Norman presents a fascinating biography of Edmund Burke, an innovative eighteenth-century political thinker whose ideas prove essential to our understanding of modern politics. Edmund Burke is both the greatest and the most underrated political thinker of the past three hundred years. A brilliant eighteenth-century Irish philosopher and statesman, Burke was a fierce champion of human rights and the Anglo-American constitutional tradition as well as a lifelong campaigner against arbitrary power. Revered by great Americans including Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, Burke has been almost forgotten in recent years. But as politician and political philosopher Jesse Norman argues in this penetrating biography, we cannot understand modern politics without him. As Norman reveals, Burke was often ahead of his time, anticipating the abolition of slavery and arguing for free markets, equality for Catholics in Ireland, and responsible government in India, among many other things. He was not always popular in his own lifetime, but his ideas about power, community, and civic virtue have endured long past his death. Indeed, Burke engaged with many of the same issues politicians face today, including the rise of ideological extremism, the loss of social cohesion, the dangers of the corporate state, and the effects of revolution on societies. He offers us now a compelling critique of liberal individualism, and a vision of society based not on a self-interested agreement among individuals, but rather on an enduring covenant between generations. Burke won admirers in the American colonies for recognizing their fierce spirit of liberty and for speaking out against British oppression, but his greatest triumph was seeing through the utopian aura of the French Revolution. In repudiating that revolution, Burke laid the basis for much of the robust conservative ideology that remains with us to this day: one that is adaptable and forward-thinking, but also mindful of the debt we owe to past generations and our duty to preserve and uphold the institutions we have inherited. He is the first conservative. A rich, accessible, and provocative biography, Edmund Burke describes Burke’s life and achievements alongside his momentous legacy, showing how Burke’s analytical mind and deep capacity for empathy made him such a vital thinker—both for his own age, and for ours.

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    Edmund Burke

    9.8 hrs • 11/18/13 • Unabridged
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  10. 14.6 hrs • 10/29/2013 • Unabridged

    Pulitzer Prize–winning and bestselling historian James MacGregor Burns explores the most daring and productive intellectual movement in history, the European and American Enlightenment. In this engaging history, James MacGregor Burns brings to vivid life the two-hundred-year conflagration of the Enlightenment, during which audacious questions and astonishing ideas tore across Europe and the New World, transforming thought, bringing down governments, and inspiring visionary political experiments that would ultimately reach every corner of the globe. Unlike most historians, Burns pays particular attention to America’s intellectual revolution, beginning and ending his story on American soil. He discovers the origins of our domestic enlightenment in men like Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson and their early encounters with incendiary European ideas about liberty and equality, and he highlights the role of thinkers like James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. After all, it was the American founders, alone among Enlightenment thinkers, who actually carried through with their ideas. Today the same questions Enlightenment thinkers grappled with have taken on new urgency around the world: in the blossoming Arab Spring, in the former Soviet Union, China, and in the United States. What should a nation be? What should a citizenry expect from its government? Who should lead and decide? How can citizens effect change? What is happiness, and what can the state contribute to it? Burns’ exploration of the ideals and arguments that formed the bedrock of our nation shines a new light on these ever-important questions.

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    Fire and Light

    14.6 hrs • 10/29/13 • Unabridged
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  11. 1.9 hrs • 9/1/2012 • Unabridged

    Using a narrative format, Creating the Constitution details the events leading up to the writing of the US Constitution and what American leaders went through to create it. The authors describe the conflicts between the new states and the delegates each sent to the Constitutional Convention, as well as the work that was done to resolve the many issues at hand.

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  12. 8.3 hrs • 7/1/2012 • Unabridged

    In 1787, William Bligh, commander of the Bounty, sailed under Captain Cook on a voyage to Tahiti to collect plants of the breadfruit tree, with a view to acclimatizing the species to the West Indies. During their six-month stay on the island, his men became completely demoralized and mutinied on the return voyage. But a resentful crew, coupled with ravaging storms and ruthless savages, proved to be merely stages leading up to the anxiety-charged ordeal to come. Bligh, along with eighteen men, was cast adrift in an open boat only twenty-three feet long with a small stock of provisions—and without a chart. His narrative, deeply personal yet objective, documents the voyage and Bligh’s relationship to his men, thereby exposing the oft debated question of what kind of man he really was.

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    Mutiny on Board HMS Bounty

    8.3 hrs • 7/1/12 • Unabridged
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  13. 19.7 hrs • 5/22/2012 • Unabridged

    The Speckled Monster is both a hair-raising tale of courage in the face of the deadliest disease that has ever struck mankind and a gripping account of the birth of modern immunology. Jennifer Lee Carrell’s dramatic story follows two parents who, after barely surviving the agony of smallpox themselves, flouted eighteenth-century European medical tradition by borrowing folk knowledge from African slaves and Eastern women in frantic bids to protect their children. Their heroic struggles gave rise to immunology, as well as the vaccinations that remain our only hope should the disease be unleashed again. Carrell transports listeners back to the early eighteenth century to tell the tales of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, two iconoclastic figures who helped save London and Boston from this scourge.

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    The Speckled Monster

    19.7 hrs • 5/22/12 • Unabridged
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  14. 0 reviews 0 5 3.5 3 out of 5 stars 3.5/5
    10.2 hrs • 2/20/2012 • Unabridged

    Written in the late eighteenth century as a reply to Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution, Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man is unquestionably one of the great classics on the subject of democracy. A vindication of the French Revolution and a critique of the British system of government, it defended the dignity of the common man in all countries against those who would discard him as one of the “swinish multitude.”     Paine created a language of modern politics that brought important issues to the working classes. Employing direct, vehement prose, Paine defends popular rights, national independence, revolutionary war, and economic growth—all of which were considered, at the time, to be dangerous and even seditious issues. His vast influence is due in large measure to his eloquent literary style, noted for its poignant metaphors, vigor, and rational directness.

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    Rights of Man by Thomas Paine

    Rights of Man

    10.2 hrs • 2/20/12 • Unabridged
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    23.9 hrs • 11/8/2011 • Unabridged

    The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into Empress of Russia by sheer determination. Possessing a brilliant mind and an insatiable curiosity as a young woman, she devoured the works of Enlightenment philosophers and, when she reached the throne, attempted to use their principles to guide her rule of the vast and backward Russian empire. She knew or corresponded with the preeminent historical figures of her time: Voltaire, Diderot, Frederick the Great, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette, and, surprisingly, the American naval hero, John Paul Jones.Reaching the throne fired by Enlightenment philosophy and determined to become the embodiment of the “benevolent despot” idealized by Montesquieu, she found herself always contending with the deeply ingrained realities of Russian life, including serfdom. She persevered, and for thirty-four years the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution that swept across Europe. Her reputation depended entirely on the perspective of the speaker. She was praised by Voltaire as the equal of the greatest of classical philosophers; she was condemned by her enemies, mostly foreign, as “the Messalina of the north.”Catherine’s family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies—all are here, vividly described. These included her ambitious, perpetually scheming mother; her weak, bullying husband, Peter (who left her lying untouched beside him for nine years after their marriage); her unhappy son and heir, Paul; her beloved grandchildren; and her “favorites”—the parade of young men from whom she sought companionship and the recapture of youth as well as sex. Here, too, is the giant figure of Gregory Potemkin, her most significant lover and possible husband, with whom she shared a passionate correspondence of love and separation, followed by seventeen years of unparalleled mutual achievement.The story is superbly told. All the special qualities that Robert K. Massie brought to Nicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Great are present here: historical accuracy, depth of understanding, felicity of style, mastery of detail, ability to shatter myth, and a rare genius for finding and expressing the human drama in extraordinary lives.History offers few stories richer in drama than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, this eternally fascinating woman is returned to life.

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    Catherine the Great

    23.9 hrs • 11/8/11 • Unabridged
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  16. 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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