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Foundation

7 ratings

Summary

In this massive best seller in England, one of Britain's most popular and esteemed historians tells the epic story of the birth of the country.

Peter Ackroyd, whose work has always been underpinned by a profound interest in and understanding of England's history, now tells the epic story of England itself.

In Foundation the chronicler of London and of its river, the Thames, takes us from the primeval forests of England's prehistory to the death of the first Tudor king, Henry VII, in 1509. He guides us from the building of Stonehenge to the founding of the two great glories of medieval England: common law and the cathedrals. He shows us glimpses of the country's most distant past - a Neolithic stirrup found in a grave, a Roman fort, a Saxon tomb, a medieval manor house - and describes in rich prose the successive waves of invaders who made England English despite being themselves Roman, Viking, Saxon, or Norman French.

With his extraordinary skill for evoking time and place and his acute eye for the telling detail, Ackroyd recounts the story of warring kings, civil strife, and foreign wars. But he also gives us a vivid sense of how England's early people lived: the homes they built, the clothes they wore, the food they ate, even the jokes they told. All are brought vividly to life through the narrative mastery of one of Britain's finest writers.

©2011 Peter Ackroyd (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Clive Chafer
Category: History, Europe
Length: 18 hrs and 21 mins
Available on Audible
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The Canterbury Tales: A Retelling

4 ratings

Summary

Author Peter Ackroyd has won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Whitbread Novel of the Year, and the Guardian Fiction Prize, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Based on Geoffrey Chaucer’s immortal work, this retelling of The Canterbury Tales follows a party of travelers as they tell stories amongst themselves about love and chivalry, saints and legends, travel and adventure. Through allegory, satire, and humor, the tales help pass the time during their journey.

©2009 Peter Ackroyd (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC

Available on Audible
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Rebellion

4 ratings

Summary

Peter Ackroyd has been praised as one of the greatest living chroniclers of Britain and its people. In Rebellion, he continues his dazzling account of the history of England, beginning the progress south of the Scottish king James VI, who on the death of Elizabeth I became the first Stuart king of England, and ending with the deposition and flight into exile of his grandson James II.

The Stuart monarchy brought together the two nations of England and Scotland into one realm, albeit a realm still marked by political divisions that echo to this day. More importantly perhaps, the Stuart era was marked by the cruel depredations of civil war and the killing of a king. Shrewd and opinionated, James I was eloquent on matters as diverse as theology, witchcraft, and the abuses of tobacco, but his attitude to the English parliament sowed the seeds of the division that would split the country during the reign of his hapless heir, Charles I. Ackroyd offers a brilliant, warts-and-all portrayal of Charles's nemesis, Oliver Cromwell, Parliament's great military leader and England's only dictator, who began his career as apolitical liberator but ended it as much of a despot as "that man of blood," the king he executed.

England's turbulent seventeenth century is vividly laid out before us, but so too is the cultural and social life of the period, notable for its extraordinarily rich literature, including Shakespeare's late masterpieces, Jacobean tragedy, the poetry of John Donne and Milton, and Thomas Hobbes's great philosophical treatise, Leviathan. Rebellion also gives us a very real sense of the lives of ordinary English men and women, lived out against a backdrop of constant disruption and uncertainty.

©2014 Peter Ackroyd (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Clive Chafer
Category: History, World
Length: 19 hrs
Available on Audible
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Tudors

2 ratings

Summary

From Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome to the epic rule of Elizabeth I, the age of the Tudors comes to vivid life in audio.

Peter Ackroyd, one of Britain's most acclaimed writers, brings the age of the Tudors to vivid life in this monumental audiobook in his History of England series, charting the course of English history from Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome to the epic rule of Elizabeth I.

Rich in detail and atmosphere, Tudors is the story of Henry VIII's relentless pursuit of both the perfect wife and the perfect heir; of how the brief royal reign of the teenage king, Edward VI, gave way to the violent reimposition of Catholicism and the stench of bonfires under "Bloody Mary". It tells, too, of the long reign of Elizabeth I, which, though marked by civil strife, plots against her, and even an invasion force, finally brought stability.

Above all it is the story of the English Reformation and the making of the Anglican Church. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, England was still largely feudal and looked to Rome for direction; at its end it was a country where good governance was the duty of the state, not the church, and where men and women began to look to themselves for answers rather than to those who ruled them.

©2012 Peter Ackroyd (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Clive Chafer
Category: History, Europe
Length: 19 hrs and 8 mins
Available on Audible
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London

2 ratings

Summary

Ackroyd portrays London from the time of the druids to the beginning of the twenty-first century, noting magnificence in both epochs, but this is not a simple chronological record. It is a comprehensive account, animated by Ackroyd's concern for the close relationship between the present and the past as well as by what he describes as the peculiar "echoic" quality of London whereby its texture and history actively affect the lives and personalities of its citizens. London is perhaps the most important study of the city ever written, and confirms Ackroyd's status as what one critic has called "our age's greatest London imagination". Street Life and the People vividly describes the everyday activities and concerns of Londoners. Particular areas of interest include customs, food, drink, entertainment, sex, crime, and punishment.

©2000 Peter Ackroyd (P)2004 Random House Audiobooks

Narrator: Simon Callow
Category: History
Length: 2 hrs and 59 mins
Available on Audible
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Revolution

1 rating

Summary

In Revolution, Peter Ackroyd takes listeners from William of Orange's accession following the Glorious Revolution to the Regency, when the flamboyant Prince of Wales ruled in the stead of his mad father, George III, and England was - again - at war with France, a war that would end with the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. Late Stuart and Georgian England marked the creation of the great pillars of the English state. The Bank of England was founded, as was the stock exchange; the Church of England was fully established as the guardian of the spiritual life of the nation, and Parliament became the sovereign body of the nation with responsibilities and duties far beyond those of the monarch. It was a revolutionary era in English letters, too, a time in which newspapers first flourished and the English novel was born. It was an era in which coffeehouses and playhouses boomed, gin flowed freely, and in which shops, as we know them today, began to proliferate in towns and villages. But it was also a time of extraordinary and unprecedented technological innovation, which saw England utterly and irrevocably transformed from a country of blue skies and farmland to one of soot and steel and coal.

©2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Derek Perkins
Category: History, World
Length: 15 hrs and 10 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for London

London

1 rating

Summary

Ackroyd portrays London from the time of the druids to the beginning of the twenty-first century, noting magnificence in both epochs, but this is not a simple chronological record. It is a comprehensive account, animated by Ackroyd's concern for the close relationship between the present and the past as well as by what he describes as the peculiar "echoic" quality of London whereby its texture and history actively affect the lives and personalities of its citizens. London is perhaps the most important study of the city ever written, and confirms Ackroyd's status as what one critic has called "our age's greatest London imagination". Foundations tells the story of London's formation and physical conception, it's early growth and character.

©2000 Peter Ackroyd (P)2004 Random House Audiobooks

Narrator: Simon Callow
Category: History, Europe
Length: 3 hrs
Available on Audible
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Dominion

1 rating

Summary

Dominion, the fifth volume in Peter Ackroyd's masterful History of England, begins in 1815 as national glory following the Battle of Waterloo gives way to a post-war depression and ends with the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901. Spanning the end of the Regency, Ackroyd takes listeners from the accession of the profligate George IV, whose government was steered by Lord Liverpool, whose face was set against reform, to the "Sailor King" William IV, whose reign saw the modernization of the political system and the abolition of slavery. But it was the accession of Queen Victoria, at only 18 years old, that sparked an era of enormous innovation. Technological progress - from steam railways to the first telegram - swept the nation, and the finest inventions were showcased at the first Great Exhibition in 1851.  The emergence of the middle-classes changed the shape of society, and scientific advances changed the old pieties of the Church of England and spread secular ideas among the population. Though intense industrialization brought booming times for the factory owners, the working classes were still subjected to poor housing, long work hours, and dire poverty. Yet by the end of Victoria's reign, the British Empire dominated much of the globe, and Britannia really did seem to rule the waves.

©2018 Peter Ackroyd (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Derek Perkins
Category: History, Europe
Length: 14 hrs and 27 mins
Available on Audible
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The Death of King Arthur

Summary

An immortal story of love, adventure, chivalry, treachery and death brought to new life for our times. The legend of King Arthur has retained its appeal and popularity through the ages: Mordred's treason, the knightly exploits of Tristan, Lancelot's fatally divided loyalties and his love for Guinevere, the quest for the Holy Grail. Now retold by Peter Ackroyd with his signature clarity, charm and truth to the spirit of the text, the result is not only one of the most readable accounts of the Knights of the Round Table but also one of the most moving.

©2010 Peter Ackroyd (P)2011 Isis Publishing Ltd

Narrator: Stephen Thorne
Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
Available on Audible
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The Canterbury Tales

Summary

A motley group of travellers meet at a London inn on their way to Canterbury, where they agree to take part in a storytelling competition. As they make their way on the road, they drink, laugh, flirt, argue, interrupt and try to outdo each other with their tales. Funny, moving, outrageous and life-affirming, the 24 stories here blend comedy and tragedy, heroic adventure, high romance and salacious humour. Peter Ackroyd's fresh, modern retelling infuses The Canterbury Tales with new and vigorous life. Here are the best stories ever told, reborn for a new generation.

©2009 Peter Ackroyd (P)2009 Isis Publishing Ltd

Length: 15 hrs and 26 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Thames

Thames

Summary

The Thames has been a highway, a frontier, and an attack route; it has been a playground and a sewer, a source of water, and a source of power. Every stretch has its own character, atmosphere, and stories. Thames: Sacred River explores the river from source to sea. Peter Ackroyd, best-selling author of London: The Biography, tells the story of the river and the people who have lived on and by it over the centuries. In part one, The Mirror of History, he explores the river's geology, early history, and mythology with fascinating facts and anecdotes.

© Peter Ackroyd; (P) Random House

Narrator: Simon Callow
Category: History, Europe
Length: 3 hrs and 20 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for London

London

Summary

Ackroyd portrays London from the time of the druids to the beginning of the twenty-first century, noting magnificence in both epochs, but this is not a simple chronological record. It is a comprehensive account, animated by Ackroyd's concern for the close relationship between the present and the past as well as by what he describes as the peculiar "echoic" quality of London whereby its texture and history actively affect the lives and personalities of its citizens. London is perhaps the most important study of the city ever written, and confirms Ackroyd's status as what one critic has called "our age's greatest London imagination". Fire and Pestilence explores London's age-old ability to regenerate and reinvent itself, illustrated by human and physical phenomena including: disasters and plagues, political turmoil and riots, fires, and The Blitz.

©2000 Peter Ackroyd (P)2004 Random House Audiobooks

Narrator: Simon Callow
Category: History, Europe
Length: 3 hrs
Available on Audible