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Publisher's Summary

From the schism between Rome and Constantinople to the rise of the T'ang Dynasty, from the birth of Muhammad to the crowning of Charlemagne, this erudite book tells the fascinating, often violent story of kings, generals, and the peoples they ruled. In her earlier work, The History of the Ancient World, Susan Wise Bauer wrote of the rise of kingship based on might. But in the years between the fourth and the 12th centuries, rulers had to find new justification for their power, and they turned to divine truth or grace to justify political and military action. Right thus replaces might as the engine of empire. Not just Christianity and Islam but the religions of the Persians and the Germans, and even Buddhism, are pressed into the service of the state. This phenomenon---stretching from the Americas all the way to Japan---changes religion, but it also changes the state.
©2010 Susan Wise Bauer (P)2010 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

“[A] witty and well-written examination of world history...that is rich in detail and intriguing in anecdotal information.” ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Troy on 08-11-14

The First Half of the Medieval World

The sequel to this book is The History of the Renaissance World, which picks up where this one leaves off and stops right before the actual Renaissance. To my mind then, this book is only the first half of the Medieval world story. That irks me, seeing as how the Renaissance story is not actually told in this series. And that's too bad because like the previous volume dealing with the Ancient World, this volume is pretty freaking spectacular in terms of scope and depth. It says something when the worst I can say about a series is that I want more.

As with the Ancient World volume, this book covers every corner of the globe: every continent (except Antarctica), both hemispheres. Every major culture from the Mayans to the Chinese and everything in between are put on the timeline for comparison and contrast in the course of civilization's rise and fall. It's the kind of eye-opening overview presented in a way that really should be taught in schools, where focus is not on any one given civilization, but rather on parallel development between cultures. As different as the cultures are, the underlying patterns of humanity are revealed, showing that, regardless of where on the map we spring up, we're all capable of some amazing and equally devastating things.

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42 of 44 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Carl on 01-15-12

A great place to continue--a tough place to start.

What did you love best about The History of the Medieval World?

The book does an excellent job of connecting world events together, instead of focusing on one specific land/nation/continent. That said, that is a monumental task and a listener can easily get overwhelmed by such a perspective--especially when

What did you like best about this story?

As an American of Western European stock, I found it useful to hear about the developments on the Korean Peninsula--as that drama continues to play out today.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No--one chapter at a time. The listener needs time to absorb the content of this book

Any additional comments?

This is one of the few audio books I have downloaded where I fully intend to listen to it--not one more time--but two more times. The topic is that heavy.

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23 of 25 people found this review helpful

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