The Civilization of the Middle Ages

  • by Norman F. Cantor
  • Narrated by Frederick Davidson
  • 28 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 1963, Norman F. Cantor published his breakthrough narrative history of the Middle Ages. Here is a significant revision, update, and expansion of that work.
The Civilization of the Middle Ages incorporates current research, recent trends in interpretation, and novel perspectives, especially on the foundations of the Middle Ages and the Later Middle Ages of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. A sharper focus on social history, Jewish history, women’s roles in society, and popular religion and heresy distinguish the book. While the first and last sections of the book are almost entirely new and many additions have been incorporated in the intervening sections, Cantor has retained the powerful narrative flow that made earlier editions so accessible.


What the Critics Say

“No better explanation of medievalism is available to the general reader.” (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Recommended for students

This has long been a highly regarded book summarizing the history of the Middle Ages. I've had a print copy for a long time but never had the time to read most of it, so I was very happy to see this audio version.
This is NOT entertainment. If you're looking for thrilling stories, titillating facts, and hero-worship, this is not the book for you. But if you want to learn the basic nitty-gritty details of medieval history -- who did what when, and why it mattered -- this book is perfect. The narrator does a convincing job with the French and German words, and gives it enough life to hold your attention without trying to overly dramatize a book that isn't really dramatic. I've found it worthwhile to listen to each section over and over to absorb all the information.

The main criticisms I have are that it's a bit narrow and conservative. By conservative, I mean that the author largely dismisses or ignores popular and non-mainstream cultures, despite the large amount that is known about them from historians' research. Also, his focus on England, France, Germany, and Italy means that we learn almost nothing about Eastern Europe and very little about Spain. But this is normal for books on "European History" or "Western Civilization," so one can't complain too much.
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- Delano


Frederick Davidson brings strength ,nuance,and subtlety to this amazing rendition of the MiddleAges
As magnificently researched and rendered by the pen of Mr. Norman Cantor.

What a marvellously told story of the history of the Middle Ages focusing on Europe.

I will definitely listen to this masterpiece again.
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- Bluestramp

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-19-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.