Heart of Europe

  • by Peter H. Wilson
  • Narrated by Napoleon Ryan
  • 34 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Holy Roman Empire lasted 1,000 years, far longer than ancient Rome. Yet this formidable dominion never inspired the awe of its predecessor. Voltaire quipped that it was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. Yet as Peter H. Wilson shows, the Holy Roman Empire tells a millennial story of Europe better than the histories of individual nation-states.
Heart of Europe traces the empire from its origins within Charlemagne's kingdom in 800 to its demise in 1806. By the mid-tenth century, its core rested in the German kingdom, and ultimately its territory stretched from France and Denmark to Italy and Poland. Yet the empire remained abstract, with no fixed capital and no common language or culture. The source of its continuity and legitimacy was the ideal of a unified Christian civilization, but this did not prevent emperors from clashing with the pope over supremacy. Though the title of Holy Roman Emperor retained prestige, rising states such as Austria and Prussia wielded power in a way the empire could not. While it gradually lost the flexibility to cope with political, economic, and social changes, the empire was far from being in crisis until the onslaught of the French revolutionary wars.


What the Critics Say

"Hugely impressive...Wilson is an assured guide through the millennium-long labyrinth of papal - imperial relations." (Literary Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not engaging

This is one of the driest and most tedious books I listened to. I personally did not like the narrator either. Worse than any textbook I ever had the displeasure of plowing through. Just fact after fact, no dimension. I only got through 20%.
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- Pardubak

Well written & read,, if a touch on the dry side.

Enjoyed it, but am stunned that Prince Eugene of Savoy didn't receive a single mention.
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- J. Grzeskiewicz

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-13-2017
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio