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The Modern Scholar: The Medieval World I: Kingdoms, Empires, and War

Narrated by: Thomas F. Madden
Length: 8 hrs and 19 mins
5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

Non-member price: $34.76

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Publisher's Summary

An award-winning, widely recognized expert on premodern history, Professor Thomas F. Madden launches the first of a two-part series on the medieval world. This all-encompassing investigation of a highly influential time period includes the major events of the era and informative discussion of empire, papacy, the Crusades, and the fall of Constantinople.

During the course of these lectures, Professor Madden also addresses the rise of Islam, reform movements, and schisms in the church. In so doing, Professor Madden underscores the significance and grand scale of an age that continues to hold an undeniable fascination for people today.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2009 Thomas F. Madden (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Chi-Hung
  • 01-11-2009

Another good course from a master

There are reasons why I bought just about every lectures given by Thomas F. Madden, if one can forgive his stylistic dullness, his lecture was concise, to the point and informative. The lecture bridges the gap between middle age and high middle age, often 14th century feel too much like a vacume, except 100 year war, it almost feel as if nothing interesting occur after the 4th crusade in 1204 to 1454, if you feel this way, this course would bridge it.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • An engineer who can measure stuff
  • 12-11-2011

An interesting and inspiring course

Dr. Madden's lectures inspired me to get interested in the medieval world to a degree that I had not anticipated. Extremely interesting topic. I learned so much. How little we know of the peoples, kingdoms and empires that formed the foundation of our society throughout the middle ages.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Yvette
  • 17-02-2013

Prof Madden is fabulous

What did you like best about this story?

Prof Madden is not at all condescending. This is part 1 of 2 parts- both are excellent and informative and Prof M makes amusing and interesting asides. I've listened to all about 4/5 times.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Sean
  • 04-03-2014

Fantastic Listen

What made the experience of listening to The Modern Scholar the most enjoyable?

The author ties everything together so well.

Have you listened to any of the narrator’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I like all of Professor Madden's lectures.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Medievalist1180
  • 24-10-2013

Worthy every penny

Any additional comments?

While this lecture is not a graduate level course by any means, it is a fantastic 200-300 level undergraduate lecture. Dr. Madden is the foremost Crusade historian alive today, and masterfully delivers his extensive knowledge in the Modern Scholar series. Do not listen to those who complain that it's too basic or that he lapses in speech, they're used to gaudy and verbose lectures. True genius is in communicating concisely and exactly, not with a plethora of obtuse and obscure words; take it from a medieval grad student-- less is more/better in academia.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amr
  • 05-09-2012

Nice Overview

Nice overview on the political history of Europe in the Medieval time. Highlights the important turning points, and the events that lead to shape Europe as we know it today. It's a bit difficult to keep up with all the names and people if you're not already familiar with them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 13-11-2013

Wonderful History

If you could sum up The Modern Scholar in three words, what would they be?

Great Learning System

What other book might you compare The Modern Scholar to and why?

Thomas Cahill's histories, gives a lot more background than just dates and actions.

Which character – as performed by the narrator – was your favorite?

This question is not relevant to this title

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Overall it is an eye opener to the fact that what we are taught were the "Dark Ages" were actually a pretty vibrant era of transition. His explanation of the the feudal system and how it developed was particularly insightful.

Any additional comments?

Other reviewers have disparaged the professor's style, I find it very engaging. It is as though he is talking directly to the listener and he sometimes drops in a modern idiom which is delightfully out of place.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • bergsteiger98b
  • 30-05-2019

religion

they still can't makeup their mind about it.. leaves us all confussed. need to the quiz.

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  • EmilyK
  • 21-04-2019

Favorite audible lecturer; interesting topic

I'm dumbfounded by the reviewers panning Prof. Madden's speaking style; he's one of my favorites on Audible and I wish he were still recording more! Listen to a sample to decide what camp you are in. He does have a deadpan style, but I find it soothing and dryly funny; sort of the opposite to a Rufus Fears type over-emoting (at least in my book).

Substantively, the Middle Ages are fascinating, especially in the hands of someone who can discern what we can know, what we don't know, and the trends in historians' views of the limited source material. If you find this topic interesting, I would highly recommend his courses on the Crusades and on the History of Venice, though I have yet to run across one I didn't like. They are all reminiscent of the best of college lectures.

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  • Tod
  • 02-09-2015

Madden at his scholarly best.

I've listened to a dozen courses from Professor Madden, and this is right up there among my favorites. His style is very informal, with a great narrative flow and lots of fascinating asides along the way. The course itself has a very broad scope, so if you are looking for general knowledge or just want to brush up on the period, you won't be disappointed. Highly recommended!

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  • Lord Peridot
  • 13-08-2018

Genesis of modern Europe

This is another great set of lectures by Prof. Madden which illuminates the evolution of the western Roman Empire into something recogniseable as modern day Europe. Besides the fall of Rome, Madden discusses the related issues of the barbarian tribes which took over the empire, Christendom, the Crusades & the Papacy, the rise of England & France as nation states, the new Islamic Arabic Empire and the survival of the Roman Empire in the east. If you want to understand the foundations of modern Europe you need to go further back than the Enlightenment & the Renaissance. And that is just what Madden does here. Lecture titles from the PDF below :

1. The End of an Empire and the Beginning of the World
2. The Empire Strikes Back: Justinian I and the Reconquest of the West
3. Storm in the East: The Rise of Islam
4. The New Masters of Rome: The Popes
5. A New Empire: The Carolingians
6. Devastation Again: The New Invasions of Europe
7. To Reform and Rebuild: The Eleventh-Century Reform Movement
8. The Clash of Church and State: The Investiture Controversy
9. The Crusades
10. Growing Kingdoms: England and France
11. The Rise and Fall of the Papal Monarchy
12. Europe Asunder: The Avignon Papacy and the Great Schism
13. The Hundred Years War
14. Europe Stands Alone: The Fall of Constantinople

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • George
  • 07-07-2014

Excellent introduction to the period.

What did you like most about The Modern Scholar?

The story is told with accuracy and passion. The reader is lead along to understand the developing period through narrative.

Who was your favorite character and why?

As a History, characters come and go, and while there are thumbnail sketches of individuals, the sweep of the period lets you understand that this is not a story of the lives of great men, but a more considered evaluation of the times.

What does the narrator bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The natural medium of this text is aural : they are in effect lectures given to a small tutorial. While it would be possible simply to read the text, the nuance of the voice allows you to pick up on connection and inter connections.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The lectures are designed more to awaken the mind that excite the emotions.However it does make you think of past decisions that appear to have unexpected results. O tempera ! O Mores !

Any additional comments?

I can thoroughly recommend this lecture series as a good place to start with understanding the medieval period.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ieva
  • 04-12-2013

Good source of information

I have listened to several Thomas F.Madden's books. Although they are mostly built as lectures, they are easy to listen and follow. Good source of information whether for a student or just someone who is interested in the respective time period of our history, like me. The Medieval World series cover various areas and are very well presented and informative. Read by the author himself. Might take some time to get used to his voice and rather lecture like presentation style. Listened with delight and attraction. Suggest for widening the history knowledge and understanding.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • jeremy
  • 09-07-2013

One of the better Modern Scholar courses

I'm a great fan of the Modern Scholar series, and like most of them the content here was excellent. Unlike some of them, this is presented in a very listenable way. A joy to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful