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The Reformation

A History of European Civilization from Wycliffe to Calvin, 1300 - 1564 (The Story of Civilization, Book 6)
Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
Series: The Story of Civilization, Book 6
Length: 50 hrs and 8 mins
Categories: History, European
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An engrossing volume on the European Reformation by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Will Durant.

The sixth volume of Durant's acclaimed Story of Civilization, The Reformationchronicles the history of European civilization from 1300 to 1564. In this masterful work, listeners will encounter

  • the schism within the Roman Catholic Church and the formation of early Protestantism;
  • the theology of Martin Luther and his societal impact;
  • the rise of Humanism and the life of Desiderius Erasmus;
  • the royal monarchies of England, France, Spain, and Italy;
  • the imperial conquests of Christopher Columbus and the discovery of the Americas;
  • the Bohemian revolution of Eastern Europe, the unification of Russia, and the rise of the Ottoman Empire;
  • the teachings of John Calvin; and
  • the Counter-Reformation of the sixteenth century.

©1957 Will Durant (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Profile Image for Arthur Pendragon
  • Arthur Pendragon
  • 07-11-2014

Fantastic!

Where does The Reformation rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The entire series, including this volume, rank as my favourite books of all-time.

What did you like best about this story?

The depth and insight of the author.

What about Stefan Rudnicki’s performance did you like?

Great.

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

Marvel.

Any additional comments?

No.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 29-01-2015

The Power of Change

See my review of Our Oriental Heritage for my notes on the series as a whole.
This is another great volume of Durant’s great History series. This volume covers the Renaissance outside of Italy, the Reformation, and Counter-Reformation and overlaps quite a bit in time with volume 5 (The Renaissance).

The Reformation is not quite as dramatic as most of the other volumes of this series. There is a lot of politics and religion and strong historical figures but not a lot of heroes or inspiring stories. As always Durant provides a compelling integrated history of the period, going over the same period several times from the different perspectives of the historical individuals. Particularly compelling is a long overview of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation as a set of monologs by a hypothetical composite character representing the reformers, the traditional catholic, and the humanist.

This was well worth the time and I (re)learned a lot. It is quite amazing how decisions of people hundreds of years ago still effect our daily lives today. Durant tells the story of History is a way that makes one feel a part of history. He shows us quite normal individuals that made a difference centuries ago and how that difference has flowed through time all the way to us (and lets us see our own power to make such differences).

The narration was excellent with a lot of character and passion which helped keep me engaged in the stories.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Shannon
  • 04-02-2015

Audible needs to have the entire 11 volume series

Any additional comments?

I'm loving the series, but already worried about 8-11; since Audible has just the first 7 volumes.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Andreas
  • 11-08-2015

Learning is great!

I have, up until listening to this book, thought that only Luther was involved in starting the reformation. So listening to this book, and learning how some coincidences, and some deliberate actions in sum ended up causing the reformation made the whole happening a lot more exciting.

In short. I learned a lot from this book, and almost wish I could unlearn it, and listen to it again...

Happy listening!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • BVerité
  • 28-04-2015

A masterpiece to cherish for all times.

Beautifully read, this 6th volume of Durant's "History of Civilization" is a true gift from a brilliant mind. Henry VIIIth, Martin Luther, the Borgia Pope Alexander, Isabella and Ferdinand, these are just a few of the enormous personalities of these times. I enjoyed every minute of this audiobook. Thank you to those who made this treasure available in audio format!
Though I recommend starting from the beginning, each volume of this "Story of Civilization" is a stand-alone history. It's worth the time and money to listen to each word in this 11 volume series. Truly an amazing and engrossing work of scholarship and humanity!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew P Prosseda
  • 11-02-2015

If you are interested in history...

you'll love this book. Fascinating story of European history. I'm a novice and it was captivating for me. I'm sure there is much here for the well versed, too.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Fuge
  • 23-09-2015

Wonderful research

I marvel at the work involved in researching this book. I absolutely love the breadth and details expressed by this wonderful mind.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel Harper
  • 15-09-2019

Excellent Summary

This is a well written, comprehensive summary of the Reformation. The book is lively, with many quotable turns of phrase and splashes of humor. The author is not unbiased about the historical actors he describes, but he is clear about his biases and fair to those he disapproves of. This is an excellent survey of the era for those looking to get a general understanding and move on, those looking for a general understanding and then dive deeper in some particular area, and those looking to understand how their favorite holy man or saint fits into the larger context of the era.

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  • Marcus
  • 16-08-2019

Faith and Enlightenment

This volume of the series deals with the reformation, its historical antecedents and consequences. The life and work of early XIV century clerics and theologians in Europe are referred. The political development in Spain, France, Germany and England is exposed, in order to give context to Luther and the Reformers. The book gives special attention to Erasmus of Rotterdam and his works. Humanism and Reformation were intertwined. A word - a small one - is given about the catholic counter reformation. The story develops smoothly. One can criticizes Will Durant’s commentaries but must recognizes his clear and entertaining style. History in Durant’s prose is never boring.

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  • 匿名
  • 29-01-2019

Every sentance is important.

Comparing the grammer and Langauge with most newer books would put them to shame. Great.

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  • Manish
  • 14-10-2019

Interesting Times

Few books that try and cover this period in all countries. As such it can feel a bit bitty. Persist and you will be rewarded