Cover art for Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka

Summary

In the waning years of the 19th century, Europe began to feel the effects of the Industrial Revolution. With the rise of mechanical technologies that upgraded productivity in terms of raw quantity, the Romantic era was rendered dispensable, and soon to be replaced. The region known as Bohemia, later to be reorganized into the Czech Republic, was buffeted by various influences of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and the nearby sensibilities of Russian society.  The arts, particularly in the city of Prague, were shaped and reshaped by the pull of nearby Vienna and the European tastes of St. Petersburg. In the previous century, the young Mozart had once called Prague his favorite center of European music. Catherine the Great recreated the artistic splendors of Western cities within proximity to Bohemia, and in the 19th century, composer Antonin Dvorak and others came to represent the final years of the Romantic era in the new state of Czechoslovakia. With the continent’s new industrial personality, the arts shed their preoccupation with the importance of personal urges and gave way to a cooler, bare view of life. Programmatic music and realistic art lost their preeminence, and in the more abstract, surreal, and “practical” era that followed, mirroring the effects of mechanical invention, the great writers followed suit.  Among the most unique authors in the early 20th century, and as a Jewish German-language writer, he proved to be an ideal conduit for his era’s deepest anxieties. Already emotionally damaged, he was physically weak as well, unable to confront society on any level. His sense of intimidation at the hands of his family reached deeply pathological proportions, and he suffered further from a simultaneous, desperate mix of embrace and revulsion with the Jewish faith. Retreating into familiar representations of his time, Kafka created a series of nightmarish short stories and novels, in which someone much like him played the central role. Settings tended to be a mixture of landmarks, and rather than being based on real events from his life, Kafka’s stories are more linked to the habits of his own inner demons and exterior relationships.  Kafka’s work was unprecedented in its day, but terms commonly used to describe his work today include “absurdist” and “visionary fiction”. The former is at times perceived by modern readers as whimsical, but more correctly applies to locales and situations that could not possibly exist or take place. In the latter, Kafka hangs the presiding issues of the piece on fictitious human and natural riddles that exacerbate the victimhood of central characters. These artificial dilemmas stand as the unsolvable barriers that lace each narrative.  Nearly a century after his death, Kafka is considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, despite being a virtual unknown throughout his life. In fact, Kafka never intended for his unpublished work to be released posthumously, but his wishes were ignored, and it was certainly to the world’s benefit. Kafka’s work is so profound and unique that the term “Kafkaesque” is now a part of the English language, a reference to surreal distortions and amazing complexities, and his works served as the forerunners for some of the 20th century’s most influential short forms, such as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Twilight Zone.  Franz Kafka: The Life and Legacy of One of the 20th Century’s Most Influential Writers examines his short life, unique work, and enduring reputation.

©2021 Charles River Editors (P)2021 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 16 mins
Available on Audible
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Roman Emperors

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating lives of five Roman Emperors, then pay attention.... Five captivating manuscripts in one book: Augustus: A Captivating Guide to the First Emperor of Rome and How He Ruled the Roman Empire Tiberius: A Captivating Guide to the Life of Ancient Rome’s Second Emperor and How He Ruled the Roman Empire Nero: A Captivating Guide to the Last Emperor of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and How He Ruled the Roman Empire Constantine the Great: A Captivating Guide to the First Christian Roman Emperor and How He Ruled the Roman Empire Justinian I: A Captivating Guide to Justinian the Great and How This Emperor Ruled the Roman Empire The life of Augustus is historically important because his leadership marked out a new era in the story of the Roman world, an era that would see the expansion of the Roman Empire across the Mediterranean and beyond. Tiberius is remembered, if he is remembered at all, for his bad behavior. He spent much of his rule on a Greek island surrounded by every pleasure that his diseased flesh could dream of, abandoning his empire to scandal and intrigue. Nero’s extravagance has become nothing short of legendary. In its day, it was incredibly destructive to his people, particularly after the Great Fire of Rome, a fire that he may have even started. Constantine the Great is a complex figure surrounded by controversies and contradictions.  While the name Justinian may not be one that instantly strikes a chord with people, his life and his legacy continue to impact people all over the world to this day. It is very likely that as you read this, you are living your life in accordance with laws that came about as a result of Justinian’s rewriting of the old Roman codes.  If you want to learn more about the lives of these five Roman Emperors, scroll up and click the "add to cart" button!

©2020 Captivating History (P)2020 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
Available on Audible
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Tiberius

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating life of Tiberius, then pay attention.... Compared with the preceding rulers, Julius Caesar and Augustus, the name does not ring out with the same fame and pomposity. Shakespeare wrote no plays about Tiberius; his name does not echo in the history books with the same awe-inspiring prominence. Even his successors, Caligula and Nero, are more famous than he was. In fact, Tiberius can hardly be called famous at all. History knows him more for his infamy. Tiberius is remembered, if he is remembered at all, for his bad behavior. He spent much of his rule on a Greek island surrounded by every pleasure that his diseased flesh could dream of, abandoning his empire to scandal and intrigue. He is a great villain of Roman history. In Tiberius: A Captivating Guide to the Life of Ancient Rome's Second Emperor and How He Ruled the Roman Empire, you will discover topics such as: Before the Emperors Born into Turmoil The Eye of the Emperor In the Shadow of Augustus First Conquest Forced Marriage Rock Bottom Ascension A Slippery Slope to Capri The Last Javelin And Much, Much More! So if you want to learn more about Tiberius, scroll up and click the "Buy" button!

©2019 Captivating History (P)2020 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 17 mins
Available on Audible
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Constantine the Great

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating life of Constantine the Great, then pay attention... Constantine the Great is a complex figure surrounded by controversies and contradictions. The sources of history left for us to read are often biased one way or the other as he is the first Christian Roman emperor.  His own propaganda paints a bright picture of his actions and his personality, while on the other side, we have his political enemies who paint him in much darker colors. All of the sources available to us either fully support Constantine or are strictly against him.  There is no objective work that will give us any true insight on how Constantine lived, what he was thinking, and what his true motives were. In truth, contemporary historians served the purpose of writing what the people wanted to hear. They followed the latest political and cultural trends, and they did not care too much about objectivism and truth. The questions like what sort of a man was Constantine and what exactly did he achieve during his reign are still baffling historians. It is through tracking the right material and reading in between the lines that we are able to give some sort of answer. We have to use our common sense to discern the truth in the propaganda and paint a new, more accurate picture of Constantine the Great, his deeds, and his persona.  In Constantine the Great: A Captivating Guide to the First Christian Roman Emperor and How He Ruled the Roman Empire, you will discover chapters, such as:  The Early Life of Constantine the Great Early Rule Civil Wars Constantine, the Lavish Administrator The Man Behind the Emperor Constantinople Constantine and Christianity Late Rule and Death And much, much more! So, if you want to learn more about Constantine the Great, scroll up and click the "buy now" button!

©2020 Captivating History (P)2020 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 21 mins
Available on Audible
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The Pequot War

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating history of the Pequot War, then pay attention... The Pequot War (1636-1638) was a short-lived but extremely violent and bloody episode in United States history. This event represents one of the turning points in the entire history of North America, as the war changed the balance of power. The Dutch colonial authorities lost their status of being the dominant economic and political force, while the English took over this epithet. The end of the war also represented the first stage in England’s intensive expansion in that part of the world.  In The Pequot War: A Captivating Guide to the Armed Conflict in New England Between the Pequot People and English Settlers and Its Role in the History of the United States of America, you will discover topics such as The European Conception of the Native Americans Who Were the Pequots? The Massachusetts Bay Colony of New England The Events That Triggered the Pequot War Military Capacities, Organization, and Tactics of the Warring Parties Conflict Escalation Mystic River Campaign The Mother of All Crimes Analysis and Comparison of King Philip’s War and the Historiography of the Pequot War Where Are They Today? A Look at the Pequots And much, much more! So, if you want to learn more about the history of the Pequot War, scroll up and click the "buy now" button!

©2020 Captivating History (P)2021 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 3 hrs and 3 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Ancient Gaul: The History and Legacy of the Gauls and the Region in Antiquity

Ancient Gaul: The History and Legacy of the Gauls and the Region in Antiquity

Summary

The Roman Republic’s development from a city state into a world power that controlled large swathes of modern Italy, Gaul, and Spain, as well as other parts of Europe is seen by many as being the direct result of Roman fear of the “Celtic Threat.” The sacking of Rome by the Gauls in 386 BC became indelibly imprinted into the Roman psyche, and with this fear came a desire to put as much distance as possible between the city of Rome and any potential enemy. The result was the gradual acquisition of buffer zones that became provinces of an empire that grew without any particular thought out or deliberate strategy of expansion.  The Gallic Wars, the series of campaigns waged by Julius Caesar on behalf of the Roman Senate between 58-50 BC, were among the defining conflicts of the Roman era. Not only was the expansion of the Republic’s domains unprecedented (especially when considering it was undertaken under the auspices of a single general), it had a profound cultural impact on Rome itself as well. The Roman Republic, so dynamic in the wake of the destruction of their ancient enemy, Carthage, had recently suffered a series of dramatic upheavals; from the great slave rebellion of Spartacus to the brutal and bloody struggle for power of Marius and Sulla. Rome had been shaken to its very core, and a victory was essential both to replenish the dwindling national coffers and to instill in the people a sense of civic pride and a certainty in the supremacy of the Republic.  Quite simply, in terms of scale, the Gallic Wars were unmatched by anything the Roman Republic had witnessed since the Punic Wars. By the end of the campaigns, ancient historians estimated that more than a million people had died, and still more were displaced or enslaved. Even by the more conservative estimates of modern historians, a casualty count in the hundreds of thousands appears possible. Either way, the war was a cataclysm, involving tens of thousands of combatants, and it also marked the greatest displays of skill by one of the greatest battlefield generals history has ever known.  Caesar’s successful campaigns in Gaul have become the stuff of military legend on their merits, but it helped that he had the foresight to document them himself. Caesar himself wrote a famous firsthand account of the Gallic Wars, apparently from notes he had kept during the campaigns, and he wrote Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War) in the third person. Caesar’s account described the campaigning and the battles, all as part of a propaganda campaign to win the approval of the Roman people. As a result, he left out inconvenient facts, including how much of a fortune he made plundering, but the work still remains popular today, and it is still used to teach Latin.  Ancient Gaul: The History and Legacy of the Gauls and the Region in Antiquity looks at the most famous events involving Gaul and the ancient world, from the Gauls’ sack of Rome to Caesar’s famous conquest.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 2 hrs and 36 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating life of William the Conqueror, then pay attention... The tale of William the Conqueror is written down by numerous contemporaries with various perspectives. It's a tale that would inspire some, while fascinate and even terrify others. It’s a tale of a man from a seemingly small land rising to rule one of the most powerful, stable kingdoms in all of Europe at the time - a kingdom that would sow the seeds of an empire that would sprout many centuries later.  William’s story is a fascinating yarn full of twists and turns, wins and losses, political intrigue, and good, old-fashioned raw bursts of emotion. In William the Conqueror: A Captivating Guide to the First Norman King of England Who Defeated the English Army Led by the King of the Anglo-Saxons in the Battle of Hastings, you will discover topics such as: William’s Early Days: Birth, Childhood, Adolescence, and Early Reign over the Normans The Conquest: Normandy and Britain in the Late 10th Century, the Battle of Hastings, and the Aftermath From Duke to King: Ruling over England and Normandy Final Years and Death William’s Character: Personality Traits, Virtues, Flaws, and Motivations And much, much more! So if you want to learn more about William the Conqueror, scroll up and click the "buy now" button!

©2020 Captivating History (P)2021 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 3 hrs and 23 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Kingdom of Alashiya

The Kingdom of Alashiya

Summary

International trade in the ancient world was a more intricate and far-reaching system than many have been led to believe. The Silk Road and the Incense Trade Route have been heavily researched in recent decades, and the Amber Road trade network dominating northern Europe has become a more prominent area of focus for historians as well. Trade was at the forefront of the Late Bronze Age (c. 1500-1200 BCE), especially in the Near East, where great kingdoms developed a network of trade and diplomacy stretching from Persia to Egypt and from Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) down to Arabia. The system these kingdoms built is well-documented in texts from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and other places, and archaeological excavations have uncovered more. Studies of the Late Bronze Age system have revealed that although it may have lacked the technology of later eras, it was just as sophisticated as any other geopolitical system in terms of the manner in which the kingdoms interacted and conducted business with each other. Most importantly, alliances were formed and dissolved and trade was carefully negotiated and documented by its members.  Most major powers in the system are quite well-known, including Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Hatti, and Mittani, but one of the members remains fairly enigmatic: the Kingdom of Alashiya. The primary mystery concerning the Kingdom of Alashiya was its precise location, because the known Egyptian, Akkadian, and Hittite texts mentioning Alashiya fail to properly place the kingdom geographically. For years scholars were torn between its possible location, with most believing it was either in Cyprus, Cilicia, or somewhere in Syria, but today, most accept that Alashiya was in Cyprus.  Nevertheless, there are still a number of stumbling blocks preventing a true understanding of this Bronze Age culture. Although the people of Cyprus were literate in the Bronze Age, scholars have yet to decipher the Cypro-Minoan script, just as they have been unable to decode the Minoan Linear A script. This inability to read ancient Cypriot script means that scholars are left with no readable Cypriot/Alashiyan list of kings, so a true chronology cannot be constructed. For these reasons, the history of Bronze Age Cyprus and Alashiya have been largely outlined through a combination of archaeological work and mentions in Egyptian, Akkadian, and Hittite texts.  Although the record is incomplete, enough is known to suggest that Cyprus was home to thriving kingdoms that played a major role in the development of the Mediterranean and Near East. Indeed, evidence demonstrates that Alashiya became a major power through trade and commerce due to its possession of copper, an incredibly valuable commodity. But eventually, Alashiya suffered the same fate as many of its neighbors at the end of the Bronze Age when it was overwhelmed by the migrations of various warrior bands collectively known as the Sea Peoples. Fortunately, even though the invasions of the Sea Peoples marked the end of Alashiya and the Bronze Age, remnants of the Alashiyan culture persisted and were augmented by Greek and Phoenician culture during the early Iron Age.  The Kingdom of Alashiya: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Trading Kingdom on Cyprus during the Bronze Age examines the mysterious kingdom and its relationships with various other kingdoms nearby. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about ancient Cyprus like never before.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Middle East
Length: 1 hr and 27 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Qatna

Qatna

Summary

The Early Bronze Age in the Near East (c. 3300 - 2100 BCE) was an era of significant cultural, political, and scientific development. At the same time, city-states became empires, gaining hegemony over the region, and then collapsed, sending Mesopotamia and the Levant into political chaos. The Sumerians were the dominant ethnic group during the first part of the Early Bronze Age Mesopotamia, and the Semitic Akkadians followed them, with the language of the latter became the lingua franca of the Near East for more than a millennium. However, as the Early Bronze Age transitioned into the Middle Bronze Age (c. 2100-1550 BCE), new ethnic groups came to prominence that would once more change the region’s political composition. These groups ushered in a new era where the Near East’s cultural and economic focus shifted from southern Mesopotamia to central and northern Mesopotamia and the Levant. The primary ethnic group that led this transition was the Amorites, who were originally a collection of nomadic Semitic tribes from the deserts of Arabia. When the Amorites began steadily infiltrating the cities and states of Mesopotamia and Syria around 2000 BCE, they brought a new way of conducting geopolitics in the region while adopting many centuries-old Mesopotamian and Levantine traditions regarding religion literacy and other aspects of culture. The legendary Hammurabi (r. circa 1792 - 1750 BCE) descended from the Amorites and most famously established the First Dynasty of Babylon, but other rulers named Hammurabi also reigned in Mari, Assyria, Yamhad, and Qatna. The Kingdom of Qatna, named for the primary city in the kingdom, was located on the other Amorite states’ geographical periphery in the northern Levant but was still a significant participant in the Near East’s geopolitical system during the Middle Bronze Age. Although researchers know little about the chronological details of the Qatna kings, a combination of sources from Mari, Egypt, and Qatna itself provide an image of the kingdom’s place in the world at the time, and it seems Qatna was every bit as powerful as its brother states in Mesopotamia. Thanks to its location, it was able to withstand the aggression of the more powerful states of Assyria and Babylon. The textual and archaeological evidence shows that Qatna was able to grow and prosper throughout the Middle Bronze Age. As the other Amorite powers collapsed at the onset of the Late Bronze Age (c. 1550 - 1200 BCE), it was able to stay politically relevant longer by playing the new powers against one another. Eventually, though, Qatna could not stop the march of history, or the armies of Egypt, Mitanni, and Hatti, and Qatna was ultimately leveled, only to be rediscovered over 3,000 years later in the 20th century. Qatna: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Syrian City During the Bronze Age chronicles the dramatic rise and fall of the Syrian city, and what life was like there; You will learn about Qatna like never before."

©2021 Charles River Editors (P)2021 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 13 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Baldr: The Origins and History of the Famous Norse God Whose Death Leads to Ragnarok

Baldr: The Origins and History of the Famous Norse God Whose Death Leads to Ragnarok

1 rating

Summary

One of the most influential and famous of the Norse Gods, Baldr "the Bright", Odin’s second son, occupies a place in Norse mythology like no other. His fate was either that of the harbinger of doom or of salvation, depending on the interpretation of his myths. His story is one of the few that plays a pivotal role in the early days of the gods, as well as in their cataclysmic end?-?Ragnarök?-?and was even one of the very few to return to the light after the devastation. Baldr was not just a key figure in Norse mythology, however, features of his story?-?his apparent resurrection being one?-?are central to some of the most pivotal myths to emerge from Indo-European traditions and they make for fascinating learning to anybody with an interest in the movement and development of Scandinavian culture as well as that of Christianity. Featuring miracles and magic, descents into the underworld and the destruction of the gods, Baldr’s story remains one of the most beloved in all world mythology. Baldr: The Origins and History of the Famous Norse God Whose Death Leads to Ragnarok looks at the story and the legendary Norse deity. You will learn about Baldr like never before.

©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 53 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Baba Vanga

Baba Vanga

Summary

People’s timeless captivation with those supposedly endowed with supernatural powers - these gifted individuals oftentimes regarded as gods walking among everyone else - is a fascinating phenomenon in itself. Soothsayers and clairvoyants were particularly revered in past centuries, even by royals, nobles, and other influential figures, who placed oracles, mediums, and mystics in their retinues and sought counsel from them on a regular basis. Queen Elizabeth I, for example, famously appointed controversial polymath and occultist John Dee as her personal adviser. Various American presidents, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, are also known to have worked with psychics and spiritualists on at least one occasion.  Needless to say, prophetic predictions regarding large-scale, epoch-making events that reportedly came to pass have only further cemented the convictions of believers, and in some cases, these stunning revelations have even caused skeptics to review their positions. Nostradamus, a 16th century physician, astrologer, sage, and seer, is perhaps the most renowned clairvoyant in history, as he apparently forecasted numerous transformative affairs centuries ahead of his time. In one such prophesy, he referenced “a young child born of poor people from the depths of the West of Europe, who would go on to “seduce a great troop by his tongue”, which many now believe alluded to the rise of Adolf Hitler.  While Nostradamus remains the most famous, a legendary prophet grew up further east during the 20th century. Known by millions of followers as the beloved Baba Vanga, she was a blind mystic often called the “Balkan Nostradamus”. Despite her extremely humble beginnings, minimal education, and the seemingly endless string of hardships she suffered in her early life, the resilient, insightful, and peerlessly intuitive Vanga achieved global fame and recognition with her otherworldly visions and frighteningly accurate prophecies, attracting scores of domestic and international visitors from all walks of life, ranging from fellow villagers to celebrities and foreign dignitaries who clung on to her every word. The loyalty of her fan base, many of whom continue to spread forth her predictions and invaluable pearls of wisdom over 20 years after her death, is a testament to her prowess, especially in the present, when skepticism and cynicism have become the norm.  Baba Vanga: The Controversial Life and Legacy of the Influential Bulgarian Mystic examines her life, her prophecies, and arguments over her legacy.

©2021 Charles River Editors (P)2021 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 29 mins
Available on Audible
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Magna Carta

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating history of the Magna Carta, then pay attention... The Magna Carta is celebrated as one of the most important documents in human history. It is the main source of constitutional law around the world, promising people liberties and protection from the arbitrary power of the government. However, it is also a set of promises extorted in bad faith from an unwilling king, and these promises dealt with the problems of the 13th-century aristocracy. Among the ordinary problems of fees, customs, and land law, greater ideas found their way into the document, revolutionary ideas that would change the world. However, in 1215, they were sparse, mentioned here and there in the form of high ideals more than in the form of a law. Some parts of the Magna Carta are still quoted, such as clauses that deal with justice before peers, freedom from unlawful imprisonment, freedom of the church, and so on. However, in medieval times, these clauses did not have the same meaning as they do today. The Magna Carta showed itself to be a flexible document with ideas that could be bent and transformed to suit the needs of the new times. In Magna Carta: A Captivating Guide to the History of the Great Charter and its Influence on Medieval England and the Rest of the World, you will discover topics such as: King John The path to Runnymede The Magna Carta The failure of the Magna Carta The war The regent and the end of the First Barons’ War Henry III and the Magna Carta Second Barons’ War and Edward I The Late Medieval Period and the Tudors The revival of the Magna Carta The New World and the Magna Carta So, if you want to learn more about the Magna Carta, buy this book today!

©2020 Captivating History (P)2020 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 3 hrs and 1 min
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Collapse of the Soviet Union: The History of the USSR Under Mikhail Gorbachev

The Collapse of the Soviet Union: The History of the USSR Under Mikhail Gorbachev

Summary

The Cold War moved into one of its most dangerous phases after Brezhnev’s death as both sides deployed nuclear weapons within alarming proximity in Europe. A NATO exercise, “Operation Able Archer”, almost led to a Soviet miscalculation, and when the Soviets shot down a South Korean airliner in September 1983, claiming it had strayed into Soviet airspace, the Cold War became very tense indeed.  After going through three elderly leaders in three years, Mikhail Gorbachev was chosen as the new General Secretary at the relatively young age of 54 in March 1985. Gorbachev hoped to build the Soviet economy to relieve the persistent shortages of consumer goods it faced, which were caused by enormous military spending of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev tried to introduce some economic reforms, but they were blocked by communist hardliners. Gorbachev then came to the belief that the Soviet economy could not improved without political reform as well. Limited political reforms, such as broadcasting uncensored debates in which politicians openly questioned government policy, backfired when they energized eastern European opposition movements which began to overthrow their communist governments in 1989. Gorbachev was unwilling to reoccupy these eastern European nations and use the Soviet army to put down these revolts. Inspired by the revolts in Eastern Europe, the small Soviet Baltic republics, which had long chafed under Russian rule, also began to clamor for independence from the Soviet Union. In 1990, Gorbachev allowed non-Communist party politicians to run for office throughout the Soviet Union, and the Communist Party lost to independence candidates in six Soviet republics, including the three Baltic republics. The Baltic republics then declared independence from the Soviet Union. In comparison with other Soviet leaders, Gorbachev was leader of the USSR for a relatively short period, but the changes that took place under his leadership were monumental, including some that were intended and others that were unforeseen. Gorbachev oversaw the end of the Cold War and the peaceful transition away from communism in Central and Eastern Europe, and he ended the war in Afghanistan and many other proxy conflicts in the developing world. Gorbachev improved relations with the West and developed enough trust with President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush to decommission thousands of nuclear weapons. He also liberalized the political environment within the Soviet Union itself, increased accountability, and brought in a certain degree of democracy. Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for these efforts in 1990, but his regime also left a legacy of turbulence and destruction in its wake. As a result of his policies, many Soviet people rose up against the status quo, demanding national self-determination and reviving old grievances.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 2 hrs
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Norman Conquest

The Norman Conquest

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating history of the Norman Conquest, then pay attention.... The year 1066 CE is one of the largest turning points in British history, with most people today having heard of the Battle of Hastings. The year had begun with the death of Edward the Confessor, a man who would be one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings. In the end, the course of the kingdom's history would shift as William the Bastard became William the Conqueror.  In The Norman Conquest: A Captivating Guide to the Normans and the Invasion of England by William the Conqueror, Including Events Such as the Battle of Stamford Bridge and the Battle of Hastings, you will discover topics such as England before the Death of a Pious King and the Norman Invasion Edward the Confessor and the Question of Succession The Norwegian King Harald Hardrada William, Duke of Normandy Harold II of England Verification of Events and Preparations for War The Invasion of the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada William Arrives in England The Battle of Hastings and William’s Coronation Rebelling against the New King and the Consequences of Doing So The Domesday Book Effects of the Conquest Shakespeare, Lully, and the New Art Seers and Prophets Records of 1066 CE - Insight into a Time of Turmoil And Much, Much More! So if you want to learn more about the Norman Conquest, scroll up and click the "buy" button!

©2019 Captivating History (P)2020 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 3 hrs and 1 min
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Quakers

The Quakers

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating history of the Quakers, then pay attention... Many other mainline Christians viewed the Quakers as a dangerous sect, so much so that they pressured the British Parliament to pass the Quaker Act of 1662. This act set forth in law the “prescribed form” of prayer and worship as designated by the state. It was a formula that specifically left the traditions of the Quakers out.  Unable to gain acceptance in England, the Quakers would soon leave the place of their origin altogether and try their luck in a brave new world on another continent. In The Quakers: A Captivating Guide to a Historically Christian Group and How William Penn Founded the Colony of Pennsylvania in British North America, you will discover topics such as: The Quakers Arrive in America William Penn Comes to the Quaker Faith William Penn’s Holy Experiment William Penn, Pennsylvania, and Its Quaker Legacy The State of Quakerism After William Penn Quaker Life During the American Revolution A Time of Great Adjustment The Quakers the Civil War and Its Aftermath Some Modern-Day Quaking in the Making And much, much more! So, if you want to learn more about the Quakers, scroll up and click the "buy now" button!

©2020 Captivating History (P)2020 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 3 hrs and 1 min
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Normans

The Normans

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating history of the Norman Conquest and William the Conqueror, then pay attention... Two captivating manuscripts in one audiobook: The Norman Conquest: A Captivating Guide to the Normans and the Invasion of England by William the Conqueror, Including Events Such as the Battle of Stamford Bridge and the Battle of Hastings William the Conqueror: A Captivating Guide to the First Norman King of England Who Defeated the English Army Led by the King of the Anglo-Saxons in the Battle of Hastings Here are just some of the topics covered in part one of this audiobook: England Before the Death of a Pious King and the Norman Invasion Edward the Confessor and the Question of Succession The Norwegian King Harald Hardrada William, Duke of Normandy Harold II of England Verification of Events and Preparations for War The Invasion of the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada William Arrives in England The Battle of Hastings and William’s Coronation Rebelling Against the New King and the Consequences of Doing So The Domesday Book Effects of the Conquest Shakespeare, Lully, and the New Art Seers and Prophets Records of 1066 CE - Insight into a Time of Turmoil And much, much more! Here are just some of the topics covered in part two of this audiobook: The Conquest: Normandy and Britain in the Late 10th Century, the Battle of Hastings, and the Aftermath From Duke to King: Ruling over England and Normandy Final Years and Death William’s Character: Personality Traits, Virtues, Flaws, and Motivations And much, much more! So, if you want to learn more about the Norman Conquest and William the Conqueror, then listen to this audiobook now!

©2021 Captivating History (P)2021 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 6 hrs and 22 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Khmer Rouge: The Notorious History and Legacy of the Communist Regime That Ruled Cambodia in the 1970s

The Khmer Rouge: The Notorious History and Legacy of the Communist Regime That Ruled Cambodia in the 1970s

Summary

The reign of the Khmer Rouge, a Cambodian communist regime, began on April 7, 1975 as Khmer Rouge militants entered the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, ultimately gaining control and forcing out its residents. For the next four years, the regime would remain in power and commit what is now referred to as the Cambodian Genocide. Their reign would result in economic turmoil, cultural destruction, and mass death, impacting Cambodia to this day. That legacy continues to be the subject of discussion among governments and academics, who would debate not only their intentions and actions but also the appropriate course of pursuing legal action against its leaders. The Communist Party of Kampuchea, also known as the Khmer Rouge, took control of Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh on April 7, 1975. Upon seizing Phnom Penh, the Communist forces of the Khmer Rouge began to eliminate all aspects of public life that were viewed as contrary to communist ideals. Military forces began to seize all private property, outlawed religion, repealed all existing laws, eliminated markets and currency, closed public gathering spaces, and declared all anti-regime activity as treason. The existing borders of Cambodia, then known as Democratic Kampuchea, were immediately closed by the military. International citizens were not permitted to enter Cambodia, and, more importantly, Cambodians were not permitted to exit. Citizens of all large cities, such as the capital of Phnom Penh, were quickly moved to the countryside to work in forced labor camps. The ultimate goal of the Khmer Rouge regime was to return Cambodia to a nation centered around agriculture that lacked social classes and individuality. As a result, Pol Pot aimed to eliminate any groups he viewed as a barrier to achieving that vision, which mostly included ethnic, religious, and political groups within Cambodia. These groups ranged from Buddhist Monks and Muslim Cham to ethnic Thais and Vietnamese. Ethnic Khmer were also targeted, mainly for perceived political beliefs or activities. Over the course of about four years, millions of Cambodians would die at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime. In all, the rise of the Khmer Rouge to power resulted in the deaths of over a million Cambodian residents and the diaspora of about 1.5 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979. It would come to be known as the Cambodian Genocide. The Khmer Rouge: The Notorious History and Legacy of the Communist Regime That Ruled Cambodia in the 1970s chronicles the destructive history of the regime and their impact on the region.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Asia
Length: 1 hr and 32 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The French Revolution: A Captivating Guide to the Ten-Year Revolution in France and the Impact Made by Napoleon Bonaparte

The French Revolution: A Captivating Guide to the Ten-Year Revolution in France and the Impact Made by Napoleon Bonaparte

1 rating

Summary

Explore the captivating history of the French Revolution. Few historical events are as greatly revered and entirely misunderstood as the French Revolution that began in 1789. The memory of this complicated and lengthy political, violent uprising has been generally painted in broad - and oversimplified - strokes. While the French Revolution was certainly centered around two lavish monarchs and an enlightened common class, there was so much more going on behind the scenes. In The French Revolution: A Captivating Guide to the Ten-Year Revolution in France and the Impact Made by Napoleon Bonaparte, you will discover topics such as:   A brief history of the French Monarchy Philosophies of the times France in the 18th century Marie Antoinette, Madame Deficit Taxes, famine, and the Enlightenment Sieyes’ “What Is the Third Estate?” The National Assembly Death of the Dauphin Bastille Day The first mayor of Paris Declaration of the Rights of Man...and the Women’s March France at war The Flight to Varennes Storming the Tuileries The monarchy is outlawed The fate of the colonies The Louisiana Purchase The Reign of Terror The new French calendar Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte In the days and years afterward And much, much more! So, if you want to learn more about the French Revolution, then listen to this audiobook now!

©2018 Captivating History (P)2019 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 3 hrs and 3 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Santa Muerte

The Santa Muerte

Summary

This is the story of Santa Muerte, the so-called cult of crisis, a red-hot combo of a kermesse (Mexican carnival), Catholicism and New Age; a hedonist practice but involving bodily sacrifice too. It is an expression of economic, psychological and social forces, bigger than perhaps any of her acolytes suspect. This book looks at the folk saint and the manner in which her cult grew. You will learn about Santa Muerte like never before.

©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors

Available on Audible
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The Empires of Ancient Persia

Summary

Lying in the middle of a plain in modern day Iran is a forgotten ancient city: Persepolis. Built two and a half thousand years ago, it was known in its day as the richest city under the sun. Persepolis was the capital of Achaemenid Persian Empire, the largest empire the world had ever seen, but after its destruction, it was largely forgotten for nearly 2,000 years, and the lives and achievements of those who built it were almost entirely erased from history. Alexander the Great’s troops razed the city to the ground in a drunken riot to celebrate the conquest of the capital, after which time and sand buried it for centuries. It was not until the excavations of the 1930s that many of the relics, reliefs, and clay tablets that offer so much information about Persian life could be studied for the first time. Through archaeological remains, ancient texts, and work by a new generation of historians, a picture can today be built of this remarkable civilization and their capital city. Although the city had been destroyed, the legacy of the Persians survived, even as they mostly remain an enigma to the West and are not nearly as well understood as the Greeks, Romans, or Egyptians. In a sense, the Achaemenid Persian Empire holds some of the most enduring mysteries of ancient civilization. The Parthian people created an empire that lasted almost 500 years, from the mid-3rd century BCE until 224 CE, and it stretched from the Euphrates River in the west to Central Asia and the borders of Bactria in the east (Brosius 2010, 83). In fact, the expansive empire challenged the Romans on numerous occasions for supremacy in the Near East, created the first sustainable link between the peoples of Europe and East Asia, and followed a religion that many consider to be the oldest form of monotheism in the world; but despite these accomplishments the Parthians are often overlooked in favor of the Achaemenid and Sassanid Persians who came before and after them respectively, not to mention the Romans themselves. Although the Parthians may not get top billing in most popular histories of the period, they left an indelible mark on the world that cannot be overstated. During the first half of the 1st millennium CE, an empire arose in Persia that extended its power and influence to Mesopotamia in the east, Arabia in the south, the Caucasus Mountains in the north, and as far east as India. This empire, known alternatively as the Sasanian Empire or Sassanid Empire, was the last of three great dynasties in Persia—the Achaemenid and the Parthian being the first two dynasties—before the rise of Islam. In fact, many scholars consider the Sasanian Empire to be the last great empire of the ancient Near East because once it had been obliterated, Islam became the standard religion of the region, ushering in the Middle Ages.

©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 5 hrs and 44 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Fermi Paradox: The History and Legacy of the Famous Debate over the Existence of Aliens

The Fermi Paradox: The History and Legacy of the Famous Debate over the Existence of Aliens

Summary

“The size and age of the universe incline us to believe that many technologically advanced civilizations must exist. However, this belief seems logically inconsistent with our lack of observational evidence to support it. Either (1) the initial assumption is incorrect and technologically advanced intelligent life is much rarer than we believe, or (2) our current observations are incomplete and we simply have not detected them yet, or (3) our search methodologies are flawed and we are not searching for the correct indicators, or (4) it is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself.” (The Fermi Paradox) As technological advances and the creation of flying aircraft became realities, the sighting of UFOs increased, as did the interest in potential contact with aliens. While incidents like the one at Roswell led to conspiracies and a craze among those who insisted the government was hiding proof of extraterrestrials’ existence, governments across the world were actually secretly studying UFO sightings by the mid-20th century. Given all of that, it would hardly be groundbreaking for scientists in the 20th century to have a lunchtime discussion in which the search for extraterrestrial life arises, and the question of where it might reside is innocuous enough. However, a furor was created somewhat innocently when physicist Enrico Fermi voiced his “casual lunchtime remark” in the presence of colleagues in 1950. The august company included Edward Teller, a Hungarian physicist, Herbert York, am American nuclear physicist whose lineage included Mohawk heritage, and Emil Konopinski, a nuclear physicist of Polish origin. Fermi himself, an Italian-American born in Rome, was renowned for developing a statistical base for subatomic phenomena, work on nuclear alterations caused by neutrons, and for leading the first controlled chain reaction from nuclear fission. In pursuit of managing the atom, he created the first nuclear reactor. A gifted theoretician, he advanced the field of statistical mechanics, and won the Nobel Prize over a decade before he asked his important question. The four men represented a fair percentage of the research core during the Manhattan Project that developed and produced the atomic bomb. Despite the sophisticated conversation that appears to have followed, Fermi’s oft-asked question soon became elevated within the scientific community as the Fermi Paradox. The subsequent musings on our search for extraterrestrial life have grown to such proportions that extensive lists of solutions to the inquiry proliferate with each passing year. Not only is the core of the question bombarded with speculative theory, but the viability of the term paradox is itself called into question. Merriam-Webster characterizes a paradox as “a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true”. The definition adds to the same contradictory statement the caveat of appearing to be true at first. By every account of the Fermi conversation, the physicist raised a question as to where extraterrestrial life might be hiding, not a statement as to whether it existed. For a contradictory statement to be true on a first hearing would require a reversal for the case of extraterrestrial search, as it requires a first observable example. It must begin as an untrue statement, or one that is perceived so. Evidence-based science must proceed then, from the most skeptical position to a hopeful reversal. Similarly, the Merriam-Webster paradox requests a premise steeped in a reasonable model. With no external observations accomplished, our own is the only one available.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2021 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 30 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Yugoslavia: The History of the Eastern European Nation from Its Founding to Its Breakup

Yugoslavia: The History of the Eastern European Nation from Its Founding to Its Breakup

2 ratings

Summary

Yugoslavia was arguably one of the most unusual geopolitical creations of the 20th century. The Yugoslav state had never existed in any historical sense, and the ties that bound together its constituent peoples were tenuous at best. Although nominally all “Slavs,” the country was an amalgamation of languages, alphabets, cultures, religions, and traditions, which ensured its short existence was littered with splits, conflicts, and shocking violence. In a sense, it’s somewhat surprising that it lasted as long as it did.  In the wake of World War I, as the political boundaries of Europe and the Middle East were redrawn, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, initially known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, came into existence with a monarch as its head of state. Confirmed at the 1919 Versailles Conference, the “first” Yugoslavia was a particularly fragile enterprise, and there was almost constant tension between the majority Serbs and the other Yugoslav nationalities, especially the Croats. As a result, the Kingdom was a land of political assassinations, underground terrorist organizations, and ethnic animosities. In 1929, King Alexander I suspended democracy and ruled as a dictator until he himself was assassinated in 1934.  The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was particularly vulnerable to the forces that engulfed the rest of Europe at the end of the 1930s, including fascism and communism. When the Axis forces attacked in 1941, the country quickly capitulated and was dismembered by the Nazis and their allies. A separate Croatian state was formed, led by Ante Paveli, who committed some of the worst crimes and human rights abuses of the war. The Balkan region was virtually emptied of its Jewish population, victims of the Nazi Holocaust.  During his reign, Tito managed to quash the intense national feelings of the diverse groups making up the Yugoslavian population, and he did so through several methods. He managed to successfully play the two superpower rivals, the United States and Soviet Union, off against each other during the Cold War, and in doing so, he maintained a considerable amount of independence from both, even as he additionally received foreign aid to keep his regime afloat. All the while he remained defiant, once penning a legendary letter to Joseph Stalin warning the Soviet dictator, “To Joseph Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We've already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle... If you don't stop sending killers, I'll send a very fast working one to Moscow and I certainly won't have to send another.” Internal issues plagued the country in its final years and Tito had tinkered with Yugoslavia’s constitution on several occasions. His final attempt, in 1974, saw the partial separation of Kosovo - crucial in the Serb national story - from the rest of Serbia.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 3 hrs and 13 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Republic of Genoa

The Republic of Genoa

Summary

If Venice, Florence, and Rome are the top three, they are often followed by Pisa, Sienna, and Naples, not to mention the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. Indeed, Genoa would come towards the end of a much longer list, and it might be most closely associated with its famous native son, Christopher Columbus, who ultimately sailed for Spain. For avid tourists, Genoa might be the port of call for those wishing to visit the stunning Cinque Terre on the Ligurian coast nearby, and for an expert in world politics, the city of Genoa might recall the memories of the tragic events of the 27th G8 summit in July 2001, when, at the height of the anti-globalization movement, protests turned violent and resulted in the death of a 23-year-old Carlo Giuliani. In today’s news, Genoa might represent Italy’s crumbling infrastructure and the apparent powerlessness of its government to repair it - on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, one of the main bridges of the city, the Morandi Bridge, collapsed, killing 43 people and leaving 600 homeless. The bridge’s demise also destroyed Italy’s reputation as an expert in mechanical engineering. Although Genoa cannot compete in the popular imagination with some of Italy’s more famous cities, this busy port town perched above the sea once boasted a powerful empire that rivaled that of Venice. It also lasted for roughly the same time period, rising in the early Middle Ages and coming to an end at the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte near the end of the 18th century. Beyond its own success, the city’s position at the head of the Mediterranean gave it an important strategic location from which to observe Italian and European history, as well as the world beyond. Today, historians are starting to correct the imbalance that has focused on Venice, Florence, and Rome, and new histories are gradually introducing Genoa to the world, even as much remains to be uncovered. The Republic of Genoa: The History of the Italian City that Became Influential across the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages examines the highs and lows of Genoa La Superba (“The Proud”), including its humble origins in the first century CE, its felicitous rise after the fall of the Roman Empire, its golden age as a mercantile power during the “Genoese Century,” and its demise at the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 1 hr and 24 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Culper Ring

The Culper Ring

Summary

After the siege of Boston forced the British to evacuate that city in March 1776, Continental Army commander George Washington suspected that the British would move by sea to New York City, the next logical target in an attempt to end a colonial insurrection. He thus rushed his army south to defend the city. Washington guessed correctly, but it would be to no avail. Unlike Boston, New York City's terrain featured few defensible positions. The city lacked a high point from which to launch a siege, as the peninsula of Boston was fortunate to have. Moreover, Washington wasn't sure defending the city was necessary, hoping that an expedition launched toward Quebec like the one Benedict Arnold had led in late 1775 would keep the British away from New York anyway. However, Congress thought otherwise, and demanded that Washington defend New York. Washington thus did what he was told, and it nearly resulted in the army's demise.

©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Americas
Length: 1 hr and 17 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings

Summary

Africa gave rise to the first humans, and Egypt probably gave rise to the first great civilizations, which continue to fascinate modern societies across the globe nearly 5,000 years later. From the Library and Lighthouse of Alexandria to the Great Pyramid at Giza, the ancient Egyptians produced several wonders of the world, revolutionized architecture and construction, created some of the world's first systems of mathematics and medicine, and established language and art that spread across the known world. With world-famous leaders like King Tut and Cleopatra, it's no wonder that today's world has so many Egyptologists. Given the abundance of funerary artifacts that have been found within the sands of Egypt, it sometimes seems as though the ancient Egyptians were more concerned with the matters of the afterlife than they were with matters of the life they experienced from day to day. One of the most abundant sources of these funerary artifacts is the Valley of the Kings, a royal necropolis located on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes. Here, pharaohs of the New Kingdom Period were buried in elaborate, treasure-filled tombs that were cut deep into the cliffs that walled the Nile Valley. In many of the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, intricate reliefs were painted on the walls that depicted the sun god and the dead king on their nightly journey through the underworld, which was known in Egyptian as the Duat (Wilkinson 2003, 82). These scenes, which vary slightly from tomb to tomb, are known collectively by modern scholars as The Book of Gates because they depict the sun god’s journey through 12 gates or pylons, one for each hour of the night (Wilkinson 2003, 81). As the sun god and the dead king travel through the night, they have to contend with various demons and a giant snake known as Apophis (Lesko 1991, 119). The Egyptians believed this journey was cyclical, as they viewed time itself, so it took place daily (Lesko 1991, 119). Though these tombs have been extensively plundered, they still stand as gateways to the afterlife that provide a murky window into the past of a fascinating civilization. Most importantly, the relatively untouched tomb of the young King Tutankhamun offered clear insight. Many of the objects that were discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb were clearly made specifically for him and his burial, such as the coffins, funerary masks, canopic equipment and statues. Other objects, such as the furniture, clothing, and chariots, were obviously items that had been used during Tutankhamun’s lifetime. The motifs found upon many of his possessions depicted him in triumph over his enemies. For example, a painted wooden chest bears a fine example of such a scene; the king is shown in his chariot, followed by his troops, attacking a group of Nubians. Scenes depicting aggression and triumph over Egypt's enemies by Egypt's king are classical examples of Egyptian kingship.

©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Middle East
Length: 1 hr and 13 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Charles Babbage

Charles Babbage

Summary

“If unwarned by my example, any man shall undertake and shall succeed in really constructing an engine...upon difference principles or by simpler means, I have no fear of leaving my reputation in his charge, for he alone will be fully able to appreciate the nature of my efforts and the value of their results...” (Charles Babbage) In the last 50 years, life has been simplified by the awe-inspiring advancements that have been achieved in the world of computer science and technology. In 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak unveiled the Apple I, the first-ever computer that operated on a single-circuit board, just five years after a team of IBM engineers introduced the “floppy disk,” which revolutionized data-sharing. In 1981, the first personal computer - IBM's Acorn - equipped with an optional color monitor, two floppy disks, and an intel chip was rolled out to the masses, and the dynamic evolution of the world wide web soon followed. Today, the world is in the midst of the transformative and ever-developing Digital Age, otherwise referred to as the “Age of Information". It has been an unprecedented, remarkable, and explosive era marked by social media and computer-generated imagery (and with it, deep fakes), among other novel, previously unimaginable concepts. The bulky monitors and blocky towers of personal computers and laptops, which were - once upon a time - considered fashionable, futuristic contraptions, have since been replaced with a sleek and stylish array - both multi-functional and specialized - of aerodynamic, minimalistic devices, ranging from smartphones and tablets to lightweight laptops and full-fledged gaming setups packed with powerhouse processors. While many are familiar with those facts, and a recent movie revived interest in Alan Turing’s achievements with computing during World War II, it was Charles Babbage who was the first to conceive the notion of a programmable and automatic universal computer, which, on top of its ability to calculate any mathematical equation at an unmatched speed, could also be used for a seemingly infinite number of other applications. In other words, he envisioned the precursor to the modern computer. At first blush, Babbage hardly seemed the type, because in many ways, Babbage was the antithesis of the debonair, silver-tongued, and effortlessly charismatic CEOs of present-day tech giants. Babbage was a quirky individual, to say the least. He was highly observant, but was in the same breath a habitual daydreamer, often caught in a trance of deep thought. He spoke with a stutter, cared little about his appearance, often sporting stained collars and rumpled coats, and in his later years, became something of an agoraphobe, developing a disdain for crowds and music. Indeed, his unquenchable thirst for knowledge and his brilliant mind were unparalleled, but this was paired with his restless, addictive, and extreme nature, as well as his obsession with precision and factual accuracy. This was the same man who once reached out to celebrated poet Alfred Tennyson and requested the wordsmith to correct the wording of his poem “The Vision of Sin". A letter to England’s legendary poet read, “In your otherwise beautiful poem, one verse reads: 'Every moment dies a man, every moment one is born'...If this were true, the population of the world would be at a standstill. In truth, the rate of birth is slightly in excess of that of death. I would suggest that the next version...should read: 'Every moment dies a man, every moment 1 1/16 is born."

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 28 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Basque Country

Basque Country

Summary

It would not be a stretch to say that for a very tiny geographical territory (just 20,747 square kilometers), the Basque Country has inspired a plethora of intense stereotypes. Some of these stereotypes have been cast upon its people from the outside, while others have been strategically propagated by the people themselves. For such a small area of land that is home to only 3,000,000 people, the Basque Country is anything but small in terms of its history, which is why opinions about its people are so intense, so consequential, and so contradictory. The Basque people have been called “the people who sing and dance at the foot of the Pyrenees”, a description that evokes not only their geographical location but also their strong folk traditions. Those words, said by the famous French writer Victor Hugo, infuriate the Basque people to this day. They have also been described pejoratively as “Europe’s aboriginals”, a reference to the age-old status of their culture, which has led many people to fetishize them and their language as ancient. In a much loftier vein, they also have been thought to be the “original” true European natives, the people who established the most prestigious, celebrated elements of European culture.  While such small-minded stereotypes rightly tend to antagonize the Basque people, many Basque nationalists have been eager to cultivate an image of their culture as unique and separate from Spain and from France, the larger nations that engulf its territory and that threaten its autonomy.  Basque nationalists are eager to point to the rich tradition of archeologists, politicians, anthropologists, nationalists and folklorists who have grown out of their culture. They have embraced their status as the oldest surviving European people, and they have celebrated their language, Euskera, as one of the world’s oldest spoken languages, a non-Indo-European tongue that can brag about having no other related languages in existence. At the same time, even as the Basque Country seems to be commonly used as a synonym for all that is old, it is important to keep in mind the fact that the Basques have long been at the avant-garde of European history and culture, not to mention trade.  During the wars against the Islamic caliphate during the Spanish Reconquista, the Basque kings often led the charge against the enemy. It was a Basque captain Juan Sebastian de Elcano, who first made a journey around the globe. Moreover, Bilbao - a major city in the Basque Country - is not only the birthplace of Basque nationalism, but also of Spanish socialism. Beyond politics, the Basque Country is responsible for the start of the industrial revolution in Spain, thanks to their iron mines. Add to that the fact that some of the best writers of Spanish literary history - Miguel de Unamuno and Pio Baroja - come from the Basque Country, not to mention the political legacy left by Henry III of Navarre who became Henry IV of France, and brought an era of religious peace to France through the Bourbon dynasty. Basque Country: The Turbulent History and Legacy of the Basque Autonomous Community in Spain looks at the region, the most important events there, and the ongoing political tensions.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 19 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Soviet Union During the Brezhnev Era

The Soviet Union During the Brezhnev Era

Summary

For 30 years, much of the West looked on with disdain as the Bolsheviks took power in Russia and created and consolidated the Soviet Union. As bad as Vladimir Lenin seemed in the early 20th century, Joseph Stalin was so much worse that Churchill later remarked of Lenin, “Their worst misfortune was his birth... their next worst his death.” Stalin had ruled with an iron fist for nearly 30 years before his death in 1953, which may or may not have been murder, just as Stalin was preparing to conduct another purge. With his death, Soviet strongman and long-time Stalinist Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971), became the Soviet premier. A barely known figure outside of the Eastern bloc, Khrushchev was derided as a buffoon by one Western diplomat and mocked for his physical appearance by others, but any Western hopes that he would prove a more conciliatory figure than Stalin were quickly snuffed out as the hard-line Khrushchev embraced confrontational stances. Personal histrionics aside, Khrushchev meant business when dealing with the West, especially the United States and its young president, John F. Kennedy. After sensing weakness and a lack of fortitude in Kennedy, Khrushchev made his most audacious and ultimately costly decision by attempting to place nuclear warheads at advanced, offensive bases located in Cuba, right off the American mainland. As it turned out, the Cuban Missile Crisis would show the Kennedy Administration’s resolve, force Khrushchev to back down, and ultimately sow the seeds of Khrushchev’s fall from power. By the time he died in 1971, he had been declared a non-citizen of the nation he had ruled for nearly 20 years. Leonid Brezhnev became First Secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union in late 1964 after a plot to oust Khrushchev. Little is remembered in the public imagination about Brezhnev in comparison to Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Lenin, or Joseph Stalin, despite the fact Brezhnev ruled the USSR from 1964-1982, longer than any Soviet leader other than Stalin. In fact, he held power during a tumultuous era that changed the world in remarkable ways, and that era has been favorably remembered by many former Soviet citizens. It marked a period of relative calm and even prosperity after the destruction of World War II and the tensions brought about by Khrushchev. Foremost amongst Brezhnev’s achievements would be the détente period in the early 1970s, when the Soviets and Americans came to a number of agreements that reduced Cold War pressures and the alarming threat of nuclear war. On the other side of the balance sheet, Brezhnev oversaw a malaise in Soviet society that later became known as an era of stagnation during which the Communist Bloc fell far behind the West in terms of economic output and standard of living. His regime also became notorious for its human rights abuses.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Russia
Length: 1 hr and 59 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Uighurs

The Uighurs

1 rating

Summary

Most today are all too familiar with the unimaginable horrors, hardship, and heartache suffered by millions of North Koreans each passing day, as well as the unspeakable circumstances in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, and other war zones, as they very well should be. Average consumers of international news, however, are completely ignorant of the hideous plight and even the existence of the Uighurs themselves, a unique, multi-faceted people paddling strenuously in similarly dire straits.

For the most part, the Uighurs are based in East Turkestan, more commonly referred to as the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. This prodigious plot of land boasts a total land area of over 1.665 million km², or 640,000 mi², and is, as China puts it, the largest administrative division in the country. The pro-independence inhabitants of East Turkestan, on the other hand, have been fighting for decades to regain sole control of their motherland - as of now, to no avail.

The Uighurs' active pursuit for independence is not an isolated phenomenon. It is reminiscent of the ongoing friction between Taiwan and China, as well as Hong Kong and China, the independence-seekers of the former states struggling to sever its ties with the Red Dragon. That being said, unlike Taiwan, which is managed by an entirely separate constitutional democratic government, and Hong Kong, classified as a special administrative region run by a Chief Executive and Executive Council with its own judicial system, Xinjiang, though technically autonomous, is still very much under the Chinese yoke.

Xinjiang is overseen by its own Communist Party Secretary and Chairman, who are reviled as “puppets of Beijing” behind closed doors. In 2012, Uighurs discreetly disseminated a poem about a former Xinjiang Chairman entitled “Salaam, Nur Bekri”, which skewered Bekri for his ineffective leadership; among their concerns were the climbing unemployment rates within the Uighur community, and the overtly preferential treatment the Han Chinese received. “Closed doors” and “discreet” are key words here. See, while China has been known to breach its agreements with Taiwan and Hong Kong regarding non-intervention on judicial cases and their rights to self-govern, the residents of these states possess the power to exercise freedom of speech, and are granted unfettered access to the internet. This concept, regrettably, has been forgotten by the Uighurs and the country's majority Han Chinese population.

Even more alarming, insiders say its people are imperiled, and this once thriving culture itself is no longer inching, but hurtling towards extinction. An untold number of Uighurs have, and continue to vanish without a trace. The Chinese government claims that the 13,000 or so imprisoned (and executed) since 2014 were radical separatists and “murderous devils” with poisonous vendettas.

A fraction of the Uighurs have been connected to violent acts of terrorism, but the often flimsy and incomplete evidence presented to defense teams certainly warrants some pause for thought. On top of the countless others supposedly snatched off the streets for speaking their minds, fostering their customs, or simply being kin to Uighurs who fled and turned refugee, over a million have been bussed to so-called “re-education camps” or “vocational training centers”. These are no different from “boarding schools”, Xinjiang officials insist, yet survivors have likened these detention centers to inescapable concentration camps.

The Uighurs: The History and Legacy of the Turkic Muslim Minority Group in Asia examines the origins of the Uighurs, their long history, and the notorious current events involving the Uighurs in China.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Asia
Length: 1 hr and 40 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Sparta

Sparta

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating history of Sparta, then keep reading... Four captivating manuscripts in this audiobook: Spartans: A Captivating Guide to the Fierce Warriors of Ancient Greece, Including Spartan Military Tactics, the Battle of Thermopylae, How Sparta Was Ruled, and More The Greco-Persian Wars: A Captivating Guide to the Conflicts Between the Achaemenid Empire and the Greek City-States, Including the Battle of Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis, Plataea, and More The Battle of Thermopylae: A Captivating Guide to One of the Greatest Battles in Ancient History Between the Spartans and Persians The Peloponnesian War: A Captivating Guide to the Ancient Greek War Between the Two Leading City-States in Ancient Greece - Athens and Sparta Some of the topics covered in part one of this audiobook include: Who Were the Spartans Spartan Government, Military, and Society And much, much more! Some of the topics covered in part two of this audiobook include: On the Eve of War The Interwar Years: Greece and Persia Prepare to Meet Again The Invasion of Xerxes Part 1: The Battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium The Invasion of Xerxes Part 2: The Battles of Salamis and Plataea The Delian League Wars The Aftermath of the War The Greek Military The Persian Military And much, much more! Some of the topics covered in part three of this audiobook include: Leading up to the Battle of Thermopylae After the Battle of Thermopylae The Greek and Persian Armies And much, much more! Some of the topics covered in part four of this audiobook include: Understanding Peloponnese The Peloponnesian and Delian Leagues And much, much more! Get this audiobook now to learn more about Sparta!

©2020 Captivating History (P)2020 Captivating History

Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
Available on Audible
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The Anglo-Zulu War

Summary

“He is Shaka the unshakeable,  Thunderer-while-sitting, son of Menzi  He is the bird that preys on other birds,  The battle-axe that excels over other battle-axes in sharpness,  He is the long-strided pursuer, son of Ndaba,  Who pursued the sun and the moon.  He is the great hubbub like the rocks of Nkandla  Where elephants take shelter  When the heavens frown...” (A Zulu song)  The modern history of Africa was, until very recently, written on behalf of the indigenous races by the white man, who had forcefully entered the continent during a particularly hubristic and dynamic phase of European history. In 1884, Prince Otto von Bismarck, the German chancellor, brought the plenipotentiaries of all major powers of Europe together to deal with Africa's colonization in such a manner as to avoid provocation of war. This event - known as the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 - galvanized a phenomenon that came to be known as the Scramble for Africa. The conference established two fundamental rules for European seizure of Africa. The first of these was that no recognition of annexation would granted without evidence of a practical occupation, and the second, that a practical occupation would be deemed unlawful without a formal appeal for protection made on behalf of a territory by its leader, a plea that must be committed to paper in the form of a legal treaty.  Thus began a rush, spearheaded mainly by European commercial interests in the form of chartered companies, to penetrate the African interior and woo its leadership with guns, trinkets, and alcohol. Having thus obtained their marks or seals upon spurious treaties, they began establishing boundaries of future European African colonies. The ease with which this was achieved was due to the fact that, at that point, traditional African leadership was disunited, and the people had just staggered back from centuries of concussion inflicted by the slave trade. Thus, to usurp authority, intimidate an already broken society, and play one leader against the other was a diplomatic task so childishly simple, the matter was wrapped up, for the most part, in less than a decade.  There were some exceptions to this, however, and the most notable was the Zulu Kingdom - a centralized monarchy of enormous military prowess that would require a full-fledged war for the British to pacify. At the height of its power, in the southern part of Africa, the Zulu could rely on an army of 40,000 warriors, presenting a formidable obstacle to the designs of the British, who eventually engaged in a full-scale conflict with the Zulu due to their own geopolitical concerns. When the fighting started at the beginning of 1879, British military leader Lord Chelmsford assured, “'If I am called upon to conduct operations against them, I shall strive to be in a position to show them how hopelessly inferior they are to us in fighting power, altho' numerically stronger.”  Less than 10 days later, Chelmsford had lost nearly 33 percent of his fighting force at the Battle of Isandlwana. From that point forward, the British began to take the Zulu more seriously, and over the next half year, they subdued the Zulu nation.  The military conflict helped immortalize the Zulu in the minds of Westerners, but their history was far from finished in 1879. The Zulu persevered, only to suffer under the depredations of South Africa’s apartheid system, but they also outlasted that, and even today, they remain the largest ethnic group in South Africa.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 1 hr and 52 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Kosmos 954 and Operation Morning Light

Kosmos 954 and Operation Morning Light

Summary

“We are just not good enough to tell New York City, for instance, that a satellite is coming and will knock King Kong off the Empire State Building at 2 P.M.” (Lieutenant Colonel Yanchek, Space Defense Center chief, 1978) In the predawn sky of northern Canada, on the morning of January 24th, 1978, a long streak of blue fire suddenly rushed across the starry vista northeast of the remote town of Yellowknife. Those out on the bitterly cold night, with a temperature many tens of degrees below zero Fahrenheit, saw a brilliant leading object sheathed in flames, blue or bluish red, and shining with incandescent intensity. Other smaller objects or fragments shed off it, arcing or tumbling earthward on their own trajectories.  Even in this remote location, a number of individuals saw and reported the unusual phenomenon. Out under the starry dome of the distant north, where celestial objects appeared with burning clarity through the frigid, pure air, they watched the apparition until it vanished in the northeast, somewhere far over Great Slave Lake.  One such observer, a native of the Dog Rib tribe named Jimmy Doctor, recounted what he saw: “That night I saw it, I was listening to the radio at home when I heard some noise behind the house. So, I got up to see what it was. It was a dog howling into the sky beside my skidoo. I looked up into the sky to see if the moon was still shining. That was when I seen the big flame going north east. I ran outside to see what it was. I thought it was a plane on fire. I didn’t know what it was. It sounded like air coming out of a tire. That was the way I saw the satellite.” (Heaps, 1978, 54). Of the relatively few people who witnessed it, most assumed they witnessed a burning passenger jet crashing. One thought that it might have something to do with lasers after seeing a program about them on television. Others, observing its speed and unusual appearance, recognized they had not seen a crashing aircraft but had no ready explanation for it at all.  Conversely, Canadian and American officials knew precisely what the people of Yellowknife and the surrounding areas witnessed. Within a short time, teams of scientists and security experts boarded aircraft to converge on the deep wilderness where the Soviet spy satellite Kosmos 954 had just crashed into the atmosphere and burned up over Great Slave Lake, strewing radioactive debris over an area of approximately 48,000 square miles. Those efforts would kick off one of the most unique environmental operations in history.  Kosmos 954 and Operation Morning Light: The History of Efforts to Contain Radioactive Debris Spread across Canada by a Soviet Satellite examines how the satellite malfunctioned, the disastrous results, and efforts to clean up the radioactivity.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 1 hr and 27 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The First World War: A Captivating Guide to World War 1, the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of Somme

The First World War: A Captivating Guide to World War 1, the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of Somme

Summary

If you want to discover captivating stories of people and events of World War 1, then pay attention... Three captivating manuscripts in one audiobook: World War 1: A Captivating Guide to the First World War, Including Battle Stories from the Eastern and Western Front and How the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 Impacted the Rise of Nazi Germany The Battle of Verdun: A Captivating Guide to The Longest and Largest Battle of World War 1 That Took Place on The Western Front Between Germany and France The Battle of the Somme: A Captivating Guide to One of the Most Devastating Events of the First World War That Took Place on the Western Front Some of the topics covered in part one of this audiobook include: The fatal shots that set the stage for war The Western Front and the First Battle of Marne War in the Trenches The Eastern Front and the Battle of Tannenberg The Battle of Ypres and the Christmas Truce Second Battle of Ypres and the introduction of chemical warfare World leaders who played a pivotal role in the first world war And much, much more! Some of the topics covered in part 2 of this audiobook include: The Road to Verdun The Battle of Verdun Gets Bogged Down in the Trenches A Summer in Hell And much, much more! Some of the topics covered in part 3 of this audiobook include: The road to the Somme The significance of Verdun The Battle of the Somme Begins Z Day The Battles of the Somme And much, much more... So if you want to learn more about the First World War, scroll up and click the "Add to Cart" button!

©2019 Captivating History (P)2019 Captivating History

Category: History, Military
Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Nimrud: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Assyrian City

Nimrud: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Assyrian City

Summary

When scholars study the history of the ancient Near East, several wars that had extremely brutal consequences (at least by modern standards) often stand out. Forced removal of entire populations, sieges that decimated entire cities, and wanton destruction of property were all tactics used by the various peoples of the ancient Near East against each other, but the Assyrians were the first people to make war a science. When the Assyrians are mentioned, images of war and brutality are among the first that come to mind, despite the fact that their culture prospered for nearly 2,000 years.  Like a number of ancient individuals and empires in that region, the negative perception of ancient Assyrian culture was passed down through Biblical accounts, and regardless of the accuracy of the Bible’s depiction of certain events, the Assyrians clearly played the role of adversary for the Israelites. Indeed, Assyria (Biblical Shinar) and the Assyrian people played an important role in many books of the Old Testament and are first mentioned in the book of Genesis: “And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech, and Akkad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Ashur and built Nineveh and the city Rehoboth and Kallah.” (Gen. 10:10-11). Although the Biblical accounts of the Assyrians are among the most interesting and are often corroborated with other historical sources, the Assyrians were much more than just the enemies of the Israelites and brutal thugs. A historical survey of ancient Assyrian culture reveals that although they were the supreme warriors of their time, they were also excellent merchants, diplomats, and highly literate people who recorded their history and religious rituals and ideology in great detail. The Assyrians, like their other neighbors in Mesopotamia, were literate and developed their own dialect of the Akkadian language that they used to write tens of thousands of documents in the cuneiform script (Kuhrt 2010, 1:84). Furthermore, the Assyrians prospered for so long that their culture is often broken down by historians into the “Old”, “Middle”, and “Neo” Assyrian periods, even though the Assyrians themselves viewed their history as a long succession of rulers from an archaic period until the collapse of the neo-Assyrian Empire in the 7th century BCE. In fact, the current divisions have been made by modern scholars based on linguistic changes, not on political dynasties (van de Mieroop 2007, 179).  The city of Nimrud was one of the Assyrians’ most important cities, and it has been known by many different names throughout its history. In ancient Assyrian, the city was called Kal?u, a name first attested to in texts dating back to the 13th century BCE. In the Bible, it is known as Calah, and the city is now called Nimrud from an association with the Biblical figure Nimrod. Nimrud is located in northern Iraq on the east bank of the Tigris River, about 20 miles south of modern Mosul and ancient Nineveh. An ancient Assyrian capital during the Neo-Assyrian period, the city has produced many glorious artifacts and provided countless insights into this ancient civilization, but the history of the city after the fall of the Assyrians has proven just as turbulent and interesting. Nimrud: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Assyrian City chronicles the origins of the city, how it became a power center in antiquity, and its controversial fate.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Middle East
Length: 1 hr and 48 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Apartheid in South Africa: The History and Legacy of the Notorious Segregationist Policies in the 20th Century

Apartheid in South Africa: The History and Legacy of the Notorious Segregationist Policies in the 20th Century

1 rating

Summary

Although apartheid is typically dated from the late 1940s until its dismantling decades later, segregationist policies had been the norm in South Africa from nearly the moment European explorers sailed to the region and began settling there. Whether it was displacing and fighting indigenous groups like the Khoi and San, or fighting other whites like the Boer, separation between ethnicities was the norm in South Africa for centuries before the election of Malan signaled the true rise of the Afrikaner far right. The man most associated with dismantling apartheid, of course, is Nelson Mandela. With the official policy of apartheid instituted in 1948 by an all-white government, Mandela was tried for treason between the years of 1956-61 before being acquitted. He participated in the Defiance Campaign of 1952, and oversaw the 1955 Congress of the People, but when the African National Congress was banned in 1960, he proposed a military wing, despite his initial reluctance toward violent resistance, a reluctance which had its roots in original nonviolent protests through the South African Communist Party. The ANC did not openly discourage such an idea, and the Umkhonto we Sizwe was established. Mandela was again arrested in 1962 and tried for attempts to overthrow the government by violence. The sentence was five years of hard labor, but this was increased to a life sentence in 1964, a sentence handed down to seven of his closest colleagues as well. Mandela would eventually serve 27 years, but his statements made in court received enormous international coverage and acclaim, and his reputation grew during his time in Robben Island Prison of Capetown, the Pollsmoor and Victor Verster Prisons. He was ultimately released in February 1990, in large part as a result of the international campaign generated by his words and the current South African story. Shortly after that, he was elected as the first man of African descent to the presidency of South Africa, which he held from 1994–1999. Most significant was that Mandela was elected from the first multi-factional, multi-racial election ever held in the country, a result of extensive negotiations with then President F.W. Klerk. Apartheid in South Africa: The History and Legacy of the Notorious Segregationist Policies in the 20th Century looks at the controversial policies, the background behind them, and their influence on the country. Along with pictures and a bibliography, you will learn about apartheid in South Africa like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Africa
Length: 2 hrs and 13 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Republic of Venice

The Republic of Venice

Summary

“As in the Arsenal of the Venetians Boils in winter the tenacious pitch To smear their unsound vessels over again For sail they cannot; and instead thereof One makes his vessel new, and one recaulks The ribs of that which many a voyage has made One hammers at the prow, one at the stern This one makes oars and that one cordage twists Another mends the mainsail and the mizzen…” (Dante’s Inferno) To the first settlers of the unpromising, marshy islands of Venice in the 5th century BCE, it appeared as if any attempt at civilization was doomed to fail. Yet, even with the cards stacked against them, the artful inhabitants mastered the unlivable terrain and slowly pieced together a society that would put the small, unassuming city right on the map. In time, the city evolved into the most powerful maritime empire in all of Europe. Founded in the wake of the decline of the Roman Empire, the Republic of Venice lasted for more than a thousand years, from 697-1797, and in order to understand its singular position in world history, it is necessary to first note its geographical positioning and its topographical make-up: Located in northeastern Italy at the head of the Adriatic, the city is made up of 120 islands that are connected by 430 bridges that cross over 170 canals, referred to as a “rio” or plural “rii” (Italian for river). As a maritime power, the interests of Venice once reached all the way to Asia, which allowed it to form an important crossroads within the Eastern Mediterranean, in terms of trade. In Venice, a vast array of products (raw materials, spices, cloth) came all the way from North Africa, Russia, and India and were exchanged for the goods and wealth of Europe.” Venice, of course, earned its remarkable reputation on its own merit, but the reason for its current fame should be credited at least in part to its status as one of the most important tourist destinations of all time, attracting travelers interested in religion, art, culture, architecture, the seashore as well as shopping. As far back as the 16th century, pilgrims flocked there to take in its numerous holy sites, the remnants of the city’s medieval heritage, and in the 17th century, rich northern Europeans flocked to the city as part of their lengthy Grand Tour, hoping to feast their eyes on the unusual cityscape and its unique cultural heritage. Many of those famous writers penned unforgettable accounts of the city in English and in German, stories that only served to increase its fortunes over time. The Republic of Venice: The History of the Venetian Empire and Its Influence across the Mediterranean dives into the city's origin story, how it became one of the most important powers in Europe, and its inevitable undoing. Along with information about important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Venetian Republic like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 2 hrs and 7 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Clausewitz and Jomini

Clausewitz and Jomini

Summary

Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz died almost 200 years ago, yet he remains one of the most important and influential of all military thinkers. His teachings combined strategy with military knowledge to produce a dialectic approach to the philosophy of warfare, and his work is still widely taught in military academies around the world. There are few senior military leaders anywhere who are not familiar with his seminal book, On War. In fact, with the exception of Napoleon Bonaparte, no man was more influential on the military tactics and strategy of 19th century warfare than Clausewitz, a Prussian soldier and military theorist who stressed the moral and political aspects of war. On War was mandatory for all military students and officers to read during the 19th century, and it was common practice for generals during the American Civil War to carry Clausewitz’s treatise and read it to assist them in strategy and tactics. On War covered every conceivable facet of warfare, using historical battles as examples of what to do and what not to do. The treatise discusses how opposite forces interact, and how unexpected new developments unfolding under the "fog of war" called for rapid decisions by alert commanders. In opposition to Antoine-Henri Jomini, he argued war could not be quantified or graphed or reduced to mapwork and graphs. Few men were more influential on the military tactics and strategy of 19th century warfare than Antoine-Henri Jomini, and yet the introduction for a 1947 English translation of Jomini’s Art of War noted, “The military world that today burns gun-powder at the altar of Clausewitzian doctrine has all but forgotten Antoine-Henri Jomini.” The author of that introduction, Lt. Col. J.D. Little of the US Marine Corps, was right then, and he remains correct today - while Clausewitz’s aphorisms are still used to support everything from military action to business management, the work of his contemporary writer Jomini has been all but forgotten. During the Napoleonic Era and throughout the 19th century, however, the situation was very different. Jomini was regarded as the preeminent strategist and writer of his generation, while Clausewitz was virtually unknown outside the General Staff of the Prussian Army. In the intervening period, Clausewitz has come to be regarded as the most important writer and strategic analyst of the period, whereas the writings of Jomini have been discarded and largely ignored. As a result, many military historians and strategists have only recently begun to understand how important Jomini was and how relevant his writings remain today. In lamenting what had happened to Jomini’s reputation, Little asserted, “No man in the history of war has exerted a greater influence on the development of modern warfare than Napoleon Bonaparte. No man has been more responsible for Napoleon’s influence as Antoine-Henri Jomini.” Again, Little had a point, because unlike Clausewitz, the writings of Jomini had a direct influence on the conduct of wars during the 19th century. While Clausewitz was not widely read outside Prussia (and later Germany) until the final years of the 19th century, few generals in Europe and America were unfamiliar with Jomini’s works, and many used his Summary of the Art of War as their main guide to strategy and tactics. Why is it that Jomini has been forgotten while Clausewitz’s name is now far more famous than it ever was during his lifetime? One of the reasons is that Clausewitz attempted to develop a philosophy of war that went well beyond the mechanics of combat. Such a philosophy is timeless precisely because it is not linked to the tactics or weapons of a particular period. This is made evident by the fact that as recently as the First Gulf War (1990–1991), senior military leaders in the coalition against Iraq were quoting Clausewitz.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 3 hrs and 40 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Japan and World War I

Japan and World War I

Summary

World War I, also known in its time as the “Great War” or the “War to End all Wars”, was an unprecedented holocaust in terms of its sheer scale. It saw millions of soldiers do battle in brutal assaults of attrition which dragged on for months with little to no respite. It demonstrated man’s capacity to kill each other on a heretofore unprecedented scale, and as always, such a war brought about technological innovation at a rate that made the boom of the Industrial Revolution seem stagnant. The First World War came at an unfortunate time for those who would fight in it, and while the role of Japan in World War II is widely known, Japan’s important role in the First World War is mostly overlooked. The Japanese contribution to the defeat of Germany and the Central Powers was important enough for Japan to be included among the Big Five Allied delegations at the 1919 peace negotiations, along with the British, French, Italians, and Americans, but it also served as a precursor of sorts for what would transpire a generation later. In the Second World War, Japanese forces ranged over an immense portion of the globe, but during World War I, Japanese naval forces spanned an even larger portion of the globe. Japanese warships escorted troopships carrying Australian and New Zealand Army Corps troops to the Middle East, cruisers hunted German commerce raiders in the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and all over the Pacific, and destroyers plowed Mediterranean waters as they escorted British convoys from Egypt to Gibraltar and searched for German and Austrian submarines. Japanese troops besieged the German citadel of Qingdao in China, forcing that German colonial city and naval base to surrender, and through it all, Japanese naval forces stood guard off Mexico, Hawaii, and the American West Coast. All of this was accomplished with by far the fewest military losses of any of the major Allies. Indeed, the Japanese losses in World War I represented a small fraction of the losses incurred in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. Yet Japanese strategic gains were far greater that what was obtained in the previous war, as they took the German North Pacific islands, they had a relatively free hand to exploit China, and they gained an uneasy peace with the young Soviet Union. In short, World War 1 brought Japan recognition as one of the world’s primary military and economic powers. Japan and World War I: The History of the Japanese Empire’s Participation in the Great War analyzes the actions of the forgotten ally, and how Japan’s participation helped set the stage for its expansion across the Pacific. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Japan and World War I like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 1 hr and 55 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Battle of Vienna (1683)

The Battle of Vienna (1683)

Summary

“Ours are treasures unheard of...tents, sheep, cattle and no small number of camels...it is victory as nobody ever knew before, the enemy now completely ruined, everything lost for them. They must run for their sheer lives....General Starhemberg hugged and kissed me and called me his saviour.” (Polish King John III Sobieski)  There are certain events that are famous not so much in themselves, noteworthy as they might be, but on account of their role in the context of history. Seismic shifts pivot upon the outcome of such events, and many of them come from battles, for it is an unfortunate but irrefutable fact of history that humanity is shaped by the force of arms. Salamis, Hastings, Agincourt, Waterloo, Sedan, and Stalingrad all fit into this category, and the 1683 Battle of Vienna or Kahlenberg (named after a hill near the city) can also, with eminent justification, be placed in the list of era-changing conflicts. For nearly 1,000 years, there had been a clash for the souls, hearts, and bodies of societies across Europe, Africa, and Asia. The conflict between Christianity and Islam has been one of the defining factors in Europe and the Middle East, and while this dichotomy might be an excessively simple and incomplete explanation, there is no doubt that it has generated the world today. From Arabia, Islam surged forth onto the world stage in the 7th century as a religion carried by the force of arms. By the middle of the 8th century, the Islamic Caliphate had conquered the Levant, parts of North Africa, and even parts of Spain, all regions which had converted to Christianity in the previous three centuries. An Islamic invasion of France was turned away at the Battle of Poitiers in 732, and a Western counter-offensive known as the Reconquista lasted about 700 more years. Away from Europe, Christian and Muslim forces fought the Crusades around the Holy Land. Toward the end of the 17th century, the preeminent Islamic power in the world was the Ottoman Empire. From lowly beginnings as a vassal of the Anatolian Sultanate of Rum Osman I, from whom the empire was named, it expanded into the lands of the Christian Byzantine Empire, and by 1683, the year of the Battle of Vienna, the Ottomans ruled Asia Minor, the Middle East (with the exception of Iran), northern Africa to the borders of Morocco, the Balkan Peninsula up to the lands of modern Poland, as well as portions of Poland, Ukraine, Crimea, and Georgia. The sultan was styled “His Imperial Majesty the Padishah (Emperor), Commander of the Faithful and Successor to the Prophet of the Lord of the Universe.” The Battle of Vienna (1683): The History and Legacy of the Decisive Conflict Between the Ottoman Turkish Empire and Holy Roman Empire chronicles the dramatic siege, and how the Christian forces turned back the Ottomans. You will learn about the battle like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 1 hr and 58 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Augustus

Augustus

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating life of Augustus, then pay attention... The life of Augustus is historically important because his leadership marked out a new era in the story of the Roman world - an era that would see the expansion of the Roman Empire across the Mediterranean and beyond. However, the influence of the Roman Empire extended much farther than its territory and had a profound effect on the development of Western culture.  Moreover, the stories and legends that emanate from the Roman world have become part of the cultural consciousness of the Western world today. Our fascination with the Roman world is boundless. There are thousands of movies, books, plays, and video games that are inspired by ancient Rome. The stories of the lives of great Romans have, in turn, become stories and ideas that have been taken up by everyone, from Shakespeare to the Star Wars franchise. What is absolutely fascinating about the story of Augustus is the way that he masterminded his ascent to power: by leading people to believe that power was the last thing he wanted, so that, as a leader, he was willingly accepted - and often demanded - by the people. At the same time, he also proved indispensable to the Senate, whose job it was to check his power. In Augustus: A Captivating Guide to the First Emperor of Rome and How He Ruled the Roman Empire, you will discover chapters such as: Rome The Early Years Early Career Caesar’s Son The Road to Actium Augustus The Birth of an Empire Imperator Death and Legacy And much, much more! So, if you want to learn more about Augustus, scroll up and click the "buy now" button!

©2019 Captivating History (P)2020 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 18 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Anglo-Saxon England Before the Norman Conquest

Anglo-Saxon England Before the Norman Conquest

Summary

The famous conqueror from the European continent came ashore with thousands of men, ready to set up a new kingdom in England. The Britons had resisted the amphibious invasion from the moment his forces landed, but he was able to push forward. In a large winter battle, the Britons’ large army attacked the invaders, but was eventually routed, and the conqueror was able to set up a new kingdom. Over 1,100 years before William the Conqueror became the king of England after the Battle of Hastings, Julius Caesar came, saw, and conquered part of “Britannia”, setting up a Roman province with a puppet king in 54 BCE. In the new province, the Romans eventually constructed a military outpost overlooking a bridge across the River Thames. The new outpost was named Londinium, and it covered just over two dozen acres. Shortly after Emperor Hadrian came to power in the early second century CE, he decided to seal off Scotland from Roman Britain with an ambitious wall stretching from sea to sea. To accomplish this, the wall had to be built from the mouth of the River Tyne - where Newcastle stands today - 80 Roman miles (76 miles or 122 kilometers) west to Bowness-on-Solway. The sheer scale of Hadrian’s Wall still impresses people today, but as the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late fifth century, Hadrian’s Wall was abandoned and Roman control of the area broke down.  Little is known of this period of British history, but soon the Anglo-Saxons - who had been harassing the Saxon Shore as pirates - showed up and began to settle the land, creating a patchwork of little kingdoms and starting a new era of British history. Several early medieval historians, writing well after the events, said the Anglo-Saxons were invited to Britain to defend the region from the northern tribes and ended up taking over. The Venerable Bede (AD 672 or AD 673-735) said in his Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People) that in the year AD 449, “The British consulted what was to be done and where they should seek assistance to prevent or repel the cruel and frequent incursions of the northern nations. They all agreed with their King Vortigern to call over to their aid, from the parts beyond the sea, the Saxon nation. [T]he two first commanders are said to have been Hengist and Horsa.” However, they came to control most of England, the Anglo-Saxons became the dominant power in the region for nearly 500 years, and the strength of their cultural influence could be felt even after William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings and became the first Norman ruler on the island. In the generations leading up to William’s historic campaign, kingdoms fall, others rose, and the kingdom of England took shape under the guiding hand of kings like Alfred the Great and Æthelstan. This period of history was undoubtedly the most famous in Anglo-Saxon England, with countless video games, novels, and shows depicting the Great Heathen Army’s invasion of England in the 860s and King Alfred’s reign in the face of their incursion. At the same time, the Anglo-Saxons forged enough of a national culture that when William did conquer the island, the efforts to consolidate his rule in England were complicated from the start, both due to external enemies and those jockeying for his position while he was still alive. The Normans would manage just barely to cling to power over England, and William remains the last foreign conqueror of the island.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 2 hrs and 22 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Byzantine Army

The Byzantine Army

Summary

It would be hard if not outright impossible to overstate the impact Roman Emperor Constantine I had on the history of Christianity, Ancient Rome, and Europe as a whole. Best known as Constantine the Great, the kind of moniker only earned by rulers who have distinguished themselves in battle and conquest, Constantine remains an influential and controversial figure to this day. He achieved enduring fame by being the first Roman emperor to personally convert to Christianity, and for his notorious Edict of Milan, the imperial decree which legalized the worship of Christ and promoted religious freedom throughout the Empire. More than 1500 years after Constantine’s death, Abdu'l-Bahá, the head of the Bahá'í Faith, wrote, “His blessed name shines out across the dawn of history like the morning star, and his rank and fame among the world's noblest and most highly civilized is still on the tongues of Christians of all denominations” The Byzantine Army: The History and Legacy of the Byzantine Empire’s Military during the Middle Ages examines the history of the Byzantine military machine, why it was so successful, and why, in the end, it failed to preserve a civilization that had lasted a thousand years.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 3 hrs and 13 mins
Available on Audible
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Argentina

Summary

By the time Christopher Columbus started setting east from the New World, he had explored San Salvador in the Bahamas (which he thought was Japan), Cuba (which he thought was China), and Hispaniola, the source of gold. As the common story goes, Columbus, en route back to Spain from his first journey, called in at Lisbon as a courtesy to brief the Portuguese King John II of his discovery of the New World. King John subsequently protested that according to the 1479 Treaty of Alcáçovas, which divided the Atlantic Ocean between Spanish and Portuguese spheres of influence, the newly discovered lands rightly belonged to Portugal. To make clear the point, a Portuguese fleet was authorized and dispatched west from the Tagus to lay claim to the “Indies,” which prompted a flurry of diplomatic activity in the court of Ferdinand and Isabella. At the time, Spain lacked the naval power to prevent Portugal from acting on this threat, and the result was the hugely influential 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas. Perhaps inevitably, a regional rivalry had developed as the Portuguese began to establish a colony in Brazil and push its boundaries southwards. After the conquest of the Incas in the 1530s, the Portuguese threat prompted the authorization of a second expedition, commanded this time by Pedro de Mendoza with a force of some 1,500 men. The party arrived at the mouth of the Río de la Plata in 1536, and there Mendoza founded the settlement of Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre. This was the basis of the future city of Buenos Aires, but its establishment was not without resistance from surrounding tribes, marking the kind of conflicts that would shape the history and independence movements of Argentina over the next 300 years.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Americas
Length: 3 hrs and 16 mins
Available on Audible
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The Indian Wars

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating history of the Indian Wars, then pay attention.... Three captivating manuscripts in one audiobook: American Indian Wars: A Captivating Guide to a Series of Conflicts That Occurred in North America and How They Impacted Native American Tribes, Including Events Such as the Sand Creek Massacre The Battle of the Little Bighorn: A Captivating Guide to One of the Most Significant Actions of the Great Sioux War and How Custer's Last Stand Impacted the Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes The Wounded Knee Massacre: A Captivating Guide to the Battle of Wounded Knee and Its Impact on the Native Americans after the Final Clash Between Federal Troops and the Sioux Some of the topics covered this audiobook include: The foreign colonization of America The American-Indian Wars during the Colonial Period (1609-1774) Beginning of the American Indian Wars in the east of the Mississippi: the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) American-Indian Wars east of the Mississippi after the American Revolutionary War part 1: the Northwest Indian War American-Indian Wars east of the Mississippi after the American Revolutionary War part 2: the Cherokee-American Wars Underlying factors of Custer’s loss in the Battle of the Little Bighorn A short introduction of the Lakota tribe and the Ghost Dance Movement The military investigation of the Wounded Knee Massacre and the Medal of Honor Debacle And much, much more! So if you want to learn more about the Indian Wars, listen to this audiobook!

©2019 Captivating History (P)2019 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Americas
Length: 7 hrs and 11 mins
Available on Audible
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The First Sino-Japanese War

1 rating

Summary

Completing the Meiji Restoration that heralded the dawn of a new era for both Japan and Asia, the island nation found itself thrust into the modern world, a world of industry and conquest. Flexing its new muscles, the burgeoning power soon came to blows with the regional power that for centuries dominated the area politically and culturally: China. Also seeking to modernize in the wake of Western exploitation, China struggled to adapt to the changing times, doing everything it could to maintain a balance between modernity and tradition. Japan found that balance, and, with its new industry desperate for raw materials, looked to the peninsula of Korea for new markets and resources. China, in contrast, refused to strike such a balance, adopting a veneer of modernity while maintaining the status quo, both domestically and with regards to Korea.   For decades Korea existed as a protectorate of China, paying homage to the mighty Chinese dynasties while minding its own business as best it could. However, sensing weakness in the former regional power after being defeated by the Europeans during the Second Opium War, escalating tensions over Korea between the old power of China and the new power of Japan led to the First Sino-Japanese War. In its first modern war, the modernized Japanese empire went to war against the dominant power in the region, and though interested Western powers favored China, Japan won the day, claiming Korea as their conquest and permanently upsetting the balance of power in the region. The conflict paved the way for the future Empire of Japan and the collapse of the Qing Dynasty.   Though both nations modernized, and China far outweighed Japan in terms of men and materiel potential, the island nation handily won its first modern war. 

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Asia
Length: 1 hr and 15 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Haile Selassie: The Life and Legacy of the Ethiopian Emperor Revered as the Messiah by Rastafarians

Haile Selassie: The Life and Legacy of the Ethiopian Emperor Revered as the Messiah by Rastafarians

Summary

“By virtue of His Imperial Blood, as well as by anointing He has received, the person of the Emperor is sacred. His dignity is inviolable and His power indisputable.” - Article 4 of the revised Constitution of Ethiopia (1955)

The modern history of Africa was, until very recently, written on behalf of the indigenous races by the white man, who had forcefully entered the continent during a particularly hubristic and dynamic phase of European history. In 1884, Prince Otto von Bismarck, the German chancellor, brought the plenipotentiaries of all major powers of Europe together, to deal with Africa's colonization in such a manner as to avoid provocation of war. This event - known as the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 - galvanized a phenomenon that came to be known as the Scramble for Africa. The conference established two fundamental rules for European seizure of Africa. The first of these was that no recognition of annexation would granted without evidence of a practical occupation, and the second, that a practical occupation would be deemed unlawful without a formal appeal for protection made on behalf of a territory by its leader, a plea that must be committed to paper in the form of a legal treaty.

Before World War II, few in the West had ever heard of Abyssinia, and fewer still could point to a map and tell precisely where it was. On the eve of that war, in the autumn of 1935, as the forces of imperial Italy prepared to invade the sovereign territory of Ethiopia, the leaders of the Allies brimmed with sympathy for the imperiled African kingdom but offered nothing in the way of practical assistance. Rallying his subjects against the invaders was Negus Negusti, the “King of Kings”, Emperor Haile Selassie, the last ruler of the great Solomonic Dynasty of Ethiopia. The Italians, led by Benito Mussolini, were practically unassailable at that point, and while a bold resistance was mounted to hold back their invasion, the effort was ultimately futile. On May 2, 1936, as the Italian army bore down on the capital at Addis Ababa, Emperor Haile Selassie boarded a train and fled east to the French territory of Djibouti. From there, he was granted asylum in Britain.

The Allies’ conquest of Ethiopia formed a cornerstone of the early phases of the North Africa Campaign during World War II, and the dramatic advance of Allied forces on Addis Ababa in the spring of 1941 placed Ethiopia very much at the forefront of Western affairs. In May of that year, Emperor Haile Selassie returned in triumph to the capital of his kingdom, the fanfare and hubris of which tended to project his personality to the forefront of the global political stage. 

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 49 mins
Available on Audible
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American Indian Wars

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating history of the American Indian Wars, then pay attention.... Today, the United States of America is one of the largest countries in the world. Comprised of 50 states, this huge nation is filled with diverse topography, as well as a variety of flora and fauna. Not only that, but the USA is also home to a huge population with diverse ethnic backgrounds, including Hispanic, African American, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Polish, and many more. A vast number of the white population are the descendants of the European colonists and settlers who ultimately conquered the land, dominating the Native Americans who were the original inhabitants of the land. This was very similar to the way the British conquered the Indian subcontinent, except for the fact the British conquerors didn’t make the Indian subcontinent their permanent home while the early American colonists shed sweat and blood to make the untamed American wilderness their new homeland. But, in order to do so, the Americans waged wars against the Native Americans who had roamed the lands for thousands of years, driving them away from their homes in a brutal and horrific manner. Part of the blame lay on the Native Americans as well since their retaliation on the newcomers trespassing their lands were often brutal and horrific. If you want to learn more about the American Indian Wars, listen to this audiobook!

©2019 Captivating History (P)2019 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Americas
Length: 4 hrs and 23 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Siege of Masada

The Siege of Masada

Summary

Many westerners have never even heard of the Siege of Masada, and those who have may simply know it as an obscure reference to a minor battle fought in a remote location of the Roman world. By contrast, virtually all Israeli school children know the story of Masada as a premier example of nationalistic pride. The heroic story of a small band of fighters facing incalculable odds has many elements that are reminiscent of both the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of the Alamo. The refrain "Masada shall not fall again", coined in a poem on the subject by Yitzak Lamdan, became a cry of resolve in battle for Israeli soldiers in the 20th century, just as the cry of "Remember the Alamo" had galvanized Americans. For decades the Israelite military used the site of Masada as the location for swearing in their new recruits; the choice of the site was designed to evoke within the new soldiers a deep sense of connection with their national history. The Siege of Masada was the final battle in a long series of fights that constituted the First Jewish-Roman War. The Roman Empire had established control over the region in the first century BCE, when the Roman proconsul Pompey the Great took control of Jerusalem and ceremonially defiled their temple by entering it. This mix of political control and religious desecration was a contentious issue for the Judeans throughout the Roman period, and militant activists opposed to Roman rule, often espousing strongly held religious beliefs, frequently developed large followings to challenge the Roman authorities. This led to multiple violent clashes between the Judeans and the Romans, and the First Jewish-Roman War (66-73 CE) was one such clash (albeit on a larger scale than most). The Roman troops marched through and made their military might felt, first in the northern region of Galilee, then down the coast where they finally laid siege to the capital city of Jerusalem. This left three Roman fortress outposts, including Masada, that had been built by Herod the Great but had been taken over by various Judean factions. Masada was the last of these fortresses that the Romans attacked and proved the most difficult for them to seize, but seize it they did. However, what made this battle qualitatively different from most was not just the difficulty Rome had in retaking control of it with incredibly disproportional military equipment and numbers, but also the actions of the Judean defenders. In the final hours of the battle, just as the Romans were about to breach the walls of the city, the defenders gathered together and committed mass suicide, rather than being killed or taken captive by the Romans. Josephus, a contemporary historian of the era, vividly described the mass suicide.

©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 49 mins
Available on Audible
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King Philip's War

Summary

What was the bloodiest war in American history? Most people with at least a little knowledge of history would quickly say that it was the Civil War (1861-65), and they would certainly be correct overall. In recently-updated numbers, it is thought that over 750,000 Americans died in the Civil War from battle wounds, diseases, and other causes. In a single day at the battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, almost 27,000 soldiers were killed, wounded and missing. However, when historians go farther back in time and include colonial wars and look at casualties per capita, the correct answer would be the much-lesser known conflict known as "King Philip's War" (1675-76). While a significant 2.5% of the US population perished in the Civil War, 5% of New England's white settler population died during King Philip's War, during which 13 towns were destroyed and 600 dwellings were burned by the natives.

©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Americas
Length: 1 hr and 15 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Life Cycles of Stars

The Life Cycles of Stars

Summary

When people look up into the night sky, the stars seem fixed and immutable, as unchanging as the darkness of space itself, but the truth is that stars are born, live, and die in a never-ending cycle of creation and annihilation. These cycles stretch over such vast spans of time that to short-lived humans, they seem to last forever.  No one knows just how many stars there are, but their number is almost beyond comprehension. When people look up into the night sky, they can see further than they might guess: Up to 19 quadrillion miles, the distance to Deneb in Cygnus, a star that is visible from most inhabited parts of Earth. In total, around 5,000 stars are visible to the naked eye, though only around 2,000 are visible at any one time from a particular place on Earth. All the visible stars are bigger and brighter than the Sun. Of course, there are many more known stars than those that can be seen with the naked eye. Astronomers estimate that in the Milky Way alone, there may be more than 300 billion stars, and every other galaxy may have a similar number of stars. How many galaxies are there in the Universe? Again, no one is certain, but most astronomers agree that there must be many billions.  Stars begin as vast clouds of dust and gas within galaxies and are known as nebulae. Due to Newton’s Law of Global Attraction, the densest areas in these nebulae pull in matter from the surrounding space. The more mass they gain, the more mass they attract. Over time, this accumulation can lead to the creation of a star. From that moment on, an eternal battle begins. Gravity tends to contract the star while its growing inner pressure tends to expand it. Nebulae are stellar nurseries, the places where stars are created and an essential part of the life cycle of the Universe.  Stars do not last forever. Over time they gradually lose energy and finally die. This process of the creation of new stars and the gradual death of existing stars is part of a vast, cosmic process of recycling that continues all the time. However, that raises the question of how the very first stars were formed and that in turn leads to questions about the origin of the Universe itself.  However, the life cycle of stars also has a direct relationship to life here on Earth. Singer Joni Mitchell famously included the line “We are stardust” in her hit song “Woodstock". Surprisingly, it seems that she was absolutely right. In the beginning, the Universe comprised hydrogen, small quantities of helium, minuscule amounts of lithium, and almost nothing else. Stars are the engines that provide the raw material from which life itself as well as stellar bodies are created. Each star is like a factory that uses nuclear fusion to convert hydrogen into helium, and that in turn is used to create carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and many other elements.  When a star dies, it ejects its outer layers, throwing these elements off as cosmic dust. The gravity of planets attracts and captures this dust which settles on the surface, introducing new elements. It is estimated that more than 40,000 tons of cosmic dust arrives on Earth every year, and this process has continued as long as there has been a planet Earth.  Some of the tiny pieces of dust (most are smaller than 1/100th the width of a human hair) are very old indeed. Scientists have found what they call “original stardust” on meteorites and asteroids. Many of these have been drifting in space since before the Sun was created. The elements in this dust are the fundamental building blocks of life, and every living organism on Earth is created from elements that were originally produced in long-dead stars.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2021 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 21 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Italy

Italy

Summary

Journey to the center of Italy! "In Italy, they add work and life on to food and wine." (Robin Leach) Italy is one of the most magical countries in the world - so what are you waiting for? Passport to European Travel Guides offers this comprehensive, yet quick and concise, top 10 guide to Italy - one of the most romanticized countries in the world! Top 10 best places to visit for unforgettable Italian travel Have no idea where to start? Or maybe you have some idea but could use a treasure trove of great insider tips? Well, read on! You see, we know your trip begins long before you even book the flight, so this guide is chock full of dynamite tips on everything you need to know BEFORE you go - and much, much more we know you'll thank us for! Passport to European Travel Guides features: Dynamite insider tips - for tourists! we give you the scoop on everything from local etiquette to saving money! Top 10 best places in italy - covers the 10 best places the country has to offer! Luxury sleeps, luxury eats - our best recommendations for ultimate Italian luxury Budget sleeps, budget eats - best spots for travelers on a budget Country snapshot - language, currency, airports, country code, and more! Before you go - there are some things you need to know! Getting in the mood - with a few great films and books to enjoy before you go! Local tourist information - where to find it once you're on the ground in italy Overview of Italy Italian phrases for emergencies - least you'll know how to holler "help!"

©2017 Passport to European Travel Guides (P)2017 Passport to European Travel Guides

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 40 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Battle of Thermopylae

The Battle of Thermopylae

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating history of the Battle of Thermopylae, then pay attention....   The Battle of Thermopylae is one of the most famous battles in human history. It featured two of the ancient world’s most prominent cultures, the Achaemenid-led Persian Empire and the fragmented yet culturally advanced Greeks. It also included some of history’s most famous leaders, such as the Persian king Xerxes and the Spartan king and military general Leonidas.   This glorification is apt only because the battle was indeed an important moment in the much larger conflict known as the Greco-Persian Wars. However, the Greeks lost this battle. In fact, it was a slaughter. Had it not been for some good fortune as well as an advantage in terms of equipment and fighting techniques, the Battle of Thermopylae could have gone down in history as the beginning of the end for one of the world’s great civilizations.   That these soldiers were more willing to die than to surrender to the evil Persians is part of the reason why this battle has become so famous. It serves as a symbol of what people will do to protect their freedom and their homeland. Sure, much of our memory of the Battle of Thermopylae is glorified untruth, but no one can deny that the Greeks and the Persians, in late August or early September of 480 BCE, fought one of the most important battles in one of the most important wars of the ancient era.   In this audiobook, you will discover topics such as Leading up to the Battle of Thermopylae The main characters of the Battle of Thermopylae Greece and Persia prepare for battle The Battle of Thermopylae: Seven days to last the test of time After the Battle of Thermopylae The Greek and Persian armies And much, much more! So if you want to learn more about the Battle of Thermopylae, buy this book now!

©2019 Captivating History (P)2019 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 18 mins
Available on Audible
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The Colonization of South Africa

Summary

“The Boers were hostile toward indigenous African peoples, with whom they fought frequent range wars, and toward the government of the Cape, which was attempting to control Boer movements and commerce. They overtly compared their way of life to that of the Israel patriarchs of the Bible, developing independent patriarchal communities based upon a mobile pastoralist economy. Staunch Calvinists, they saw themselves as the children of God in the wilderness, a Christian elect divinely ordained to rule the land and the backward natives therein. By the end of the 18th century the cultural links between the Boers and their urban counterparts were diminishing, although both groups continued to speak a type of Flemish.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica) The Boer War was the defining conflict of South African history and one of the most important conflicts in the history of the British Empire. In fact, the European history of South Africa began with the 1652 arrival of a small Dutch flotilla in Table Bay, which made landfall with a view to establishing a victualing station to service passing Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) ships. The Dutch at that point largely dominated the East Indian Trade, and it was their establishment of the settlement of Kaapstad, or Cape Town, that set in motion the lengthy and often turbulent history of South Africa. For over a century, the Cape remained a Dutch East India Company settlement, and in the interests of limiting expenses, strict parameters were established to avoid the development of a colony. As religious intolerance in Europe drove a steady trickle of outward emigration, however, Dutch settlers began to informally expand beyond the Cape, settling the sparsely inhabited hinterland to the north and east of Cape Town. In their wake, towards the end of the 17th century, followed a wave of French Huguenot immigrants, fleeing a renewal of anti-Protestantism in Europe. They were integrated over the succeeding generations, creating a hybridized language and culture that emerged in due course as the Cape Dutch, The Afrikaner or the Boer. The Napoleonic Wars radically altered the old, established European power dynamics, and in 1795, the British, now emerging as the globe’s naval superpower, assumed control of the Cape as part of the spoils of war. The British established their presence at the Cape, which they held until the unification of South Africa in 1910. However, it would only come after several rounds of conflicts.  The Colonization of South Africa: The History and Legacy of the European Subjugation of South Africa looks at the controversial expeditions, fighting, and results...you will learn about the colonization of South Africa like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Africa
Length: 2 hrs and 42 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for British Legends: The Life and Legacy of Margaret Thatcher

British Legends: The Life and Legacy of Margaret Thatcher

1 rating

Summary

A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' British Legends series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the lives of Great Britain's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known. Sir Winston Churchill is often cited as Britain's greatest prime minister for leading the United Kingdom against Hitler's Nazi war machine during World War II, and indeed he was the idol of the one person who many think might have surpassed him: Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher not only became Britain's first female prime minister; she also became its longest serving prime minister. The political precedents Thatcher set as a woman would be enough of a legacy in their own right, but Thatcher effectively wielded her power in a way that made a lasting contribution to both geopolitics and the perception of female politicians in general. Thatcher is widely credited, along with Ronald Reagan, as one of the principal Cold Warriors who brought about the demise of the Soviet Union, whose leaders gave her the famous nickname "Iron Lady". And, of course, Thatcher was recently in the spotlight again with the release of the critically acclaimed movie The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep. With the success of that movie, Thatcher has undergone a cultural revival and reiconization in many quarters for her political stances and political achievements. At the same time, however, the role she played as a woman is now often overlooked out of the expedience of political correctness, and it is considered uncivil to analyze Thatcher's political rise through the prism of sex. In fact at times the former prime minister claimed to understand an issue better due to her sex and sometimes used her sex more subliminally. British Legends: The Life and Legacy of Margaret Thatcher details the Iron Lady's life and career, but it also humanizes her and explores the role gender played in her rise to power and ultimately her legacy.

©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 53 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Antoine-Henri Jomini

Antoine-Henri Jomini

Summary

“War in its ensemble is not a science, but an art. Strategy, particularly, may indeed be regulated by fixed laws resembling those of the positive sciences, but this is not true of war viewed as a whole. Among other things, combats may be mentioned as often being quite independent of scientific combinations..." (Jomini) With the exception of Napoleon Bonaparte, few men were more influential on the military tactics and strategy of 19th century warfare than Antoine-Henri Jomini, yet the introduction for a 1947 English translation of Jomini’s Art of War noted, “The military world that today burns gun-powder at the altar of Clausewitzian doctrine has all but forgotten Antoine-Henri Jomini.” The author of that introduction, Lt. Col. J.D. Little of the US Marine Corps, was right then, and he remains correct today. While Carl von Clausewitz’s aphorisms are still used to support everything from military action to business management, the work of his contemporary writer Jomini has been all but forgotten.     During the Napoleonic Era and throughout the 19th century, however, the situation was very different. Jomini was regarded as the preeminent strategist and writer of his generation, while Clausewitz was virtually unknown outside the General Staff of the Prussian Army. In the intervening period, Clausewitz has come to be regarded as the most important writer and strategic analyst of the period, whereas the writings of Jomini have been discarded and largely ignored. As a result, many military historians and strategists have only recently begun to understand how important Jomini was and how relevant his writings remain today. In lamenting what had happened to Jomini’s reputation, Little asserted, “No man in the history of war has exerted a greater influence on the development of modern warfare than Napoleon Bonaparte. No man has been more responsible for Napoleon’s influence as Antoine-Henri Jomini.” Again, Little had a point, because unlike Clausewitz, the writings of Jomini had a direct influence on the conduct of wars during the 19th century. While Clausewitz was not widely read outside Prussia (and later Germany) until the final years of the 19th century, few generals in Europe and America were unfamiliar with Jomini’s works, and many used his summary of the Art of War as their main guide to strategy and tactics. Why is it that Jomini has been forgotten while Clausewitz’s name is now far more famous than it ever was during his lifetime? One of the reasons is that Clausewitz attempted to develop a philosophy of war that went well beyond the mechanics of combat. Such a philosophy is timeless, precisely because it is not linked to the tactics or weapons of a particular period. This is made evident by the fact that as recently as the First Gulf War (1990-1991), senior military leaders in the coalition against Iraq were quoting Clausewitz in support of their strategy.  Jomini, however, viewed warfare not as a philosophical excursive but as a science, with principles that could be derived from a study of the past masters of war and applied to any situation. This lacked the grand overview presented by Clausewitz, but it provided military men with a set of easily comprehensible rules of warfare. If Clausewitz was the master of strategy, Jomini was an early exponent of a tactical view of warfare, and as many military leaders came to understand in the chaos of battle, a simple set of rules is more easily applied than a grand philosophy. Antoine-Henri Jomini: The Life and Legacy of the Swiss General and His Famous Military Treatises About the Napoleonic Wars looks at the life and career of the military officer and highlights the most important parts of his timeless works.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 2 hrs
Available on Audible
Cover art for Apollonius of Tyana

Apollonius of Tyana

Summary

Even after Greek power waned, the Romans borrowed Greek culture, so it should come as little surprise that various Greeks continued to be influential in antiquity. In fact, if people in the third century CE were asked which religious or philosophical figure from the first century CE was most likely to found or inspire a global religion that would attract millions of followers and last for centuries, they would not have answered Jesus of Nazareth. Instead, a Pythagorean philosopher, orator, and teacher known as Apollonius of Tyana would have been the likeliest name brought forward. Today, very few have heard of him, but he became a major philosophical and religious figure through the publication of his thoughts, travels, and miracles by Philostratus the Elder (c. 170-247 CE), written about a century after Apollonius of Tyana’s death. Philostratus the Elder’s works were based on the works of other writers (Maximus of Aegae, Damis, and Moeragenes), and miracles attributed to Apollonius were often compared to those of Jesus, who lived around the same time.  Apollonius’s cult was important throughout the whole of the Pagan era and even carried on into the Middle Ages, during which he continued to be a figure of some significance. During the Enlightenment (AD 1715 - 1789), he again attracted attention and admiration as a spiritual teacher, to the extent that 18th-century writer Francis Barrett claimed that Apollonius was "one of the most extraordinary persons that ever appeared in the world". Why such an important philosopher has been so forgotten by modern historians is in itself an interesting issue, and it is just as crucial to understand what Apollonius preached and the information he provided about his contemporary world. He spent most of his life within the boundaries of the Roman Empire, but he also traveled farther afield, and the accounts of these journeys provide a wealth of information about the outside world in which the Roman Empire had to operate and survive.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 14 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Medieval Ireland: The History and Legacy of the Irish During the Middle Ages

Medieval Ireland: The History and Legacy of the Irish During the Middle Ages

Summary

“What have you done for Ireland? How have you answered the Call? Are you pleased with the part you’re playing in the job that demands us all? Have you changed the tweed for the khaki to serve with rank and file, as your comrades are gladly serving, or isn’t it worth your while?” – An extract from a World War I recruitment poster   There are very few national relationships quite as complicated and enigmatic as the one that exists between the English and the Irish. For two peoples so interconnected by geography and history, the depth of animosity that is often expressed is difficult at times to understand. At the same time, historic links of family and clan, and common Gaelic roots, have at times fostered a degree of mutual regard, interdependence, and cooperation that is also occasionally hard to fathom.   During World War I, for example, Ireland fought for the British Empire as part of that empire, and the Irish response to the call to arms was at times just as enthusiastic as that of other British dominions such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. And yet, at the same time, plots were unearthed to cooperate with the Germans in toppling British rule in Ireland, which would have virtually ensured an Allied defeat. In World War II, despite Irish neutrality, 12,000 Irish soldiers volunteered to join the Khaki line, returning after the war to the scorn and vitriol of a great many of their more radical countrymen.   One of the most bitter and divisive struggles in the history of the British Isles, and in the history of the British Empire, played out over the question of Home Rule and Irish independence, and then later still as the British province of Northern Ireland grappled within itself for the right to secede from the United Kingdom or the right to remain.  

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 1 hr and 34 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Unification of Italy: The History of the Risorgimento and the Conflicts that Unified the Italian Nation

The Unification of Italy: The History of the Risorgimento and the Conflicts that Unified the Italian Nation

Summary

In the 18th century, Italy was still divided into smaller states, but differently than during medieval times when the political entities were independent and were flourishing economic and cultural centers almost unrivaled in Europe. During the 18th century, all of them were submitted, in one way or another, to one of the greater hegemonic powers. This process of conquest and submission began during the early 16th century, when France was called on by the Duke Milan to intervene in his favor and from there never stopped. Starting from the northwest, the kingdom of Sardinia was controlling the Alpine western area and the island from which it took its name and ruled by the Savoy family. The kingdom of Sardinia was the youngest political entity in Italy and, possibly because of that, the strongest and most independent. Milan was found dominating part of the central plane, Venice was in control of the east, and Genova was dominating the coastal area south of the kingdom of Sardinia. Central Italy was ruled by the Duchy of Tuscany and the Papal States, while the south was united under the kingdom of Sicily. In 1847, the Austrian Chancellor Klement von Metternich referred to Italy as merely a “geographical expression,” and to some extent, he was not far off the mark. The inhabitants did not speak Italian; only a literate few wrote in the Italian of Dante and of Machiavelli, and a mere estimated two and a half percent spoke the language. The rest spoke their own regional dialects, which were so distinct from one another as to be incomprehensible from town to town. Similarly, most future Italian citizens knew nothing of the history of the peninsula, but instead learned of their own local traditions and histories. The events of 1848-1849 began to pull the peninsula together, however. In January 1848, Sicily had a major revolution, which provoked widespread uprisings and riots, after which the kingdoms of Sardinia, the Two Sicilies, the Papal States and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany all were granted constitutions. In February, the Pope fled Rome and a three-month long Republic was declared, headed by Giuseppe Mazzini. In March, a revolution in Venice led to the declaration of a republic. In April, Milan also rebelled and became a republic. Soon, the Austrian government clamped down again on the peninsula with such intensity that not even the most optimistic would have been able to fathom the nationalist Risorgimento movement would unify Italy a little more than a decade later. The Unification of Italy: The History of the Risorgimento and the Conflicts that Unified the Italian Nation chronicles the turbulent events and wars that unified Italy, and the struggle to maintain the new nation. You will learn about Italian unification like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 2 hrs and 40 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Golden Horde

The Golden Horde

Summary

Though history is usually written by the victors, the lack of a particularly strong writing tradition from the Mongols ensured that history was largely written by those who they vanquished. Because of this, their portrayal in the West and the Middle East has been extraordinarily (and in many ways unfairly) negative for centuries, at least until recent revisions to the historical record. The Mongols have long been depicted as wild horse-archers galloping out of the dawn to rape, pillage, murder, and enslave, but the Mongol army was a highly sophisticated, minutely organized, and an incredibly adaptive and innovative institution, as witnessed by the fact that it was successful in conquering enemies who employed completely different weaponry and different styles of fighting, from Chinese armored infantry to Middle Eastern camel cavalry and Western knights and men-at-arms. Likewise, the infrastructure and administrative corps which governed the empire, though largely borrowed from the Chinese, was inventive, practical, and extraordinarily modern and efficient. This was no fly-by-night enterprise but a sophisticated, complex, and extremely well-oiled machine. While the Golden Horde technically refers to part of the Mongol Empire, today the Golden Horde is often used interchangeably with the Mongol forces as a whole. As such, the Golden Horde conjures vivid images of savage, barbarian horsemen riding across the steppes, an unstoppable force mindlessly slaughtering and burning. It is often imagined that they conquered by sheer brutality and terror and that they epitomized everything that came from the East: uncivilized, brutal, and undisciplined.  This sensationalized image - impressed upon the West by Hollywood and by the perception of the “Yellow Peril” that has colored Western views toward Asia for a long time - began almost from the beginning. The Mongols treasured art and literature and protected religion, that of their subjects as well as their own, and trade, commerce, and cultural exchanges flourished under the Golden Horde and the other Mongol khanates, but that escaped the notice of their contemporaries. Giovanni de Plano Carpini, a papal envoy journeying through Russia on his way to the Khan of the Golden Horde, noted, “They [the Mongols] attacked Rus', where they made great havoc, destroying cities and fortresses and slaughtering men; and they laid siege to Kiev, the capital of Rus'; after they had besieged the city for a long time, they took it and put the inhabitants to death. When we were journeying through that land, we came across countless skulls and bones of dead men lying about on the ground. Kiev had been a very large and thickly populated town, but now, it has been reduced almost to nothing, for there are at the present time scarce two hundred houses there and the inhabitants are kept in complete slavery.”  What can’t be disputed is that the Golden Horde directly affected Eastern Europe for nearly 250 years, and even after its rapid rise brought about a long, tortuous decline, it has continued to shape the destiny of that region. The Golden Horde: The History and Legacy of the Mongol Khanate examines the events that led to the rise of the Khanate, what life was like there, and how the Mongols fought.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Asia
Length: 1 hr and 52 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for History of Russia

History of Russia

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating history of Russia, then pay attention... Four captivating manuscripts in one audiobook: Russian History: A Captivating Guide to the History of Russia, Including Events Such as the Mongol Invasion, the Napoleonic Invasion, Reforms of Peter the Great, the Fall of the Soviet Union, and more Ivan the Terrible: A Captivating Guide to the First Tsar of Russia and His Impact on Russian History The Russian Revolution: A Captivating Guide to the February and October Revolutions and the Rise of the Soviet Union Led by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks The Cambridge Five: A Captivating Guide to the Russian Spies in Britain Who Passed Information to the Soviet Union During World War II Some of the topics covered in part one of this audiobook include: The Foundation of Rusia The Christianization of Rusia The Fragmentation and Subjugation of Rusia The Rise of Muscovy Overthrowing the Tatar Yoke Gathering the Russian Lands The Birth of a Dynasty The Road to Reform Imperial Majesty And much, much more! Some of the topics covered in part two of this audiobook include: Russia Before the First Tsar A Lineage of Heroes The Birth of an Emperor Assassination Becoming Terrible The Legacy of Ivan “The Terrible” And much, much more! Some of the topics covered in part three of this audiobook include: Twilight of the Tsars Peace, Land, and Bread Defending the Revolution Some of the topics covered in part four of this audiobook include: The Undeniable Attraction of Marxism World War II: Espionage Between Allies And much, much more! So if you want to learn more about the history of Russia, get this audiobook now!

©2019 Captivating History (P)2019 Captivating History

Category: History, Russia
Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Cumans

The Cumans

1 rating

Summary

Let us begin this narration, brethren, from the old times of Vladimir to this present time of Igor, who, strengthened his mind with courage, who quickened his heart with valor and, thus imbued with martial spirit, led his valiant regiments against the Kuman land in defense of the Russian land.” (The Tale of Igor’s Campaign) Before the Mongols rode across the steppes of Asia and Eastern Europe, the Cumans were a major military and cultural force that monarchs from China to Hungary and from Russia to the Byzantine Empire faced, often losing armies and cities in the process. The Cumans were a tribe of Turkic nomads who rode the steppes looking for plunder and riches, but they rarely stayed long after they got what they wanted. From the late 9th century until the arrival of the Mongols in 1223, there was virtually nothing that could be done to stop the Cumans. Old Russian chronicles, Byzantine texts, Western European chronicles, and travel diaries of Islamic scholars all reveal that the Cumans were a threat to any kingdom in their path. Some kingdoms chose to fight the Cumans and often suffered heavy destruction, while others believed buying them off was the more reasonable course of action. The latter course often brought them into intimate contact with the most powerful kingdoms of medieval Eastern Europe before the Cumans were eventually replaced by the Mongols, with the remaining Cumans dispersing and integrating into various European and central Asian kingdoms in the 13th century. Many Cumans joined the Mongol Golden Horde and later became Muslims, while some helped found dynasties in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania. The Cumans came from somewhat mysterious origins before they became the western vanguard of a massive nomadic horde that grew in ferocity and effectiveness as the centuries passed, but they were far more than mindless barbarians interested in violence alone. Although violence did play a major role in early Cuman culture, sources reveal they were also interested in diplomacy and eventually integrated with their sedentary neighbors. Archaeological discoveries further indicate that their culture was unique, complete with mythology and some art, but in the end, the Cumans disappeared as quickly as they appeared on the historical scene, much like other nomadic peoples before and after them. The Cumans: The History of the Medieval Turkic Nomads Who Fought the Mongols and Rus’ in Eastern Europe examines how the Cumans became a major fighting force in the region, and the influence they had. You will learn about the Cumans.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 1 hr and 15 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Provence & the French Riviera

Provence & the French Riviera

Summary

Journey to the center of the south of France - Provence and the French Riviera! "Is it any better in heaven, my friend Ford, than you found it in Provence?" (William Carlos Williams) Some say it is, but you should find out for yourself! Passport to European Travel Guides offers this comprehensive, yet quick and concise five-day guide to Provence and the French Riviera - including Marseille, Nice, Monaco, Antibes, Avignon, Cannes, and more - some of the world's most exclusive travel destinations! Five-day travel guide to unforgettable French travel. Have no idea where to start? Or maybe you have an idea but could use some great insider tips? Well, read on! You see, we know your trip begins before you even book your flight, and this guide is chock full of dynamite tips on everything you need to know before you go and much, much more! Passport to European Travel Guides features: Dynamite insider tips - for tourists! We give you the scoop on everything from local etiquette to saving money! Five-day suggested itinerary - cover the best spots the city has to offer in five magical days! Luxury Sleeps, luxury eats - our best recommendations for ultimate provençal luxury Budget sleeps, budget eats - best places for travelers on a budget Map to Provence and the French Riviera City snapshot - language, currency, airports, country code, plus more! Before you go - there are some things you need to know! Getting in the mood - with a few great films and books to enjoy before you go! Local tourist information - where to find it once you're on the ground in france Overview of Provence & the French Riviera

©2017 Passport to European Travel Guides (P)2017 Passport to European Travel Guides

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 15 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Internment of Japanese Americans During World War II

The Internment of Japanese Americans During World War II

Summary

"The truth is - as this deplorable experience proves - that constitutions and laws are not sufficient of themselves…. Despite the unequivocal language of the Constitution of the United States that the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, and despite the Fifth Amendment's command that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, both of these constitutional safeguards were denied by military action under Executive Order 9066." - Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark "I don't want any of them here. They are a dangerous element. There is no way to determine their loyalty.... It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen, he is still a Japanese. American citizenship does not necessarily determine loyalty.... But we must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped off the map." - General John L. DeWitt, head of the Western Command Even before Congress declared war on Japan the day after Pearl Harbor, the implications for people of Japanese ancestry living in the United States had begun. On December 7, several hundred Issei, or first-generation Japanese immigrants, were arrested in Hawaii and on the mainland, having been earlier identified by the FBI as potentially disloyal to the United States. In the months that followed, the scope of suspicion would expand to include all of the 125,000 Japanese living on the mainland, and, though a smaller percentage, many in Hawaii as well. By the time the war ended, the period of internment of Japanese immigrants and citizens, lasting from 1941-1945, was considered one of the most unfortunate episodes of American history. Many government officials in the immediate aftermath of the war era continued to defend internment, citing the possibility of attack and the need to protect Americans at all costs. There were many Americans, however, whose rights as citizens went unprotected, and political arguments aside, no American can fail to acknowledge the costs of internment to Nikkei families, physically, financially, socially, and psychologically. It was not until the first week of September in 1945, just a few weeks after the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan and the surrender of the Japanese that followed, that Japanese internees knew for sure they would be allowed to leave the camps. The Internment of Japanese Americans During World War II: The History of the Controversial Decision to Relocate Citizens Across the West Coast examines one of the darkest chapters in American history.

©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 1 hr and 52 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Boudica: The Life and Legacy of the Celtic Queen Who Rebelled Against the Romans in Britain

Boudica: The Life and Legacy of the Celtic Queen Who Rebelled Against the Romans in Britain

1 rating

Summary

The famous conqueror from the European continent came ashore with thousands of men, ready to set up a new kingdom in England. The Britons had resisted the amphibious invasion from the moment his forces landed, but he was able to push forward. In a large winter battle, the Britons’ large army attacked the invaders but was eventually routed, and the conqueror was able to set up a new kingdom. Over 1,100 years before William the Conqueror became the king of England after the Battle of Hastings, Julius Caesar came, saw, and conquered part of “Britannia”, setting up a Roman province with a puppet king in 54 BCE. In the new province, the Romans eventually constructed a military outpost overlooking a bridge across the River Thames. The new outpost was named Londinium, and it covered just over two dozen acres. Londinium had become the largest city in Britannia shortly before being burned down in a native revolt led by an infamous Celtic Iceni queen named Boudica. With a name meaning “Victory”, Boudica was a charismatic woman who commanded nearly 100,000 Celts and led them on a campaign to expel the Roman overlords from Britain around the year 61 CE. Often called the “Celtic Queen”, she wore a warrior’s necklace around her delicate neck and rode upon a sturdy steed. According to the ancient historian Cassius Dio, “In stature, she was very tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh.” It is said she had a piercing glare that could shrink her people’s enemies, which in this case were the Roman legionnaires under the vengeful general Suetonius. Boudica was not only a woman of high intelligence but also a Druid priestess of great repute, which caused the Romans a unique kind of concern. The Celts have fascinated people for centuries, and the biggest fascination of all has been over the Druids, a religious class at the heart of Celtic society that wielded great power. Naturally, people have been interested in Druids for centuries mostly because they don’t understand much about the Druids or their practices. The word comes from the Romans, who labeled them "Druidae" in reference to the white robed order of Celtic priests living in Gaul, Britain, and Ireland. They were a well-organized, secretive group who kept no written records and performed their rituals - allegedly including human sacrifice - in oaken groves, all of which interested and horrified Roman writers.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 3 hrs
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Anglo-Saxon Settlement of England

The Anglo-Saxon Settlement of England

Summary

Shortly after Emperor Hadrian came to power in the early second century CE, he decided to seal off Scotland from Roman Britain with an ambitious wall stretching from sea to sea. To accomplish this, the wall had to be built from the mouth of the River Tyne - where Newcastle stands today - 80 Roman miles (76 miles or 122 kilometers) west to Bowness-on-Solway. The sheer scale of Hadrian’s Wall still impresses people today, but as the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late fifth century, Hadrian’s Wall was abandoned and Roman control of the area broke down.  Little is known of this period of British history, but soon the Anglo-Saxons - who had been harassing the Saxon Shore as pirates - showed up and began to settle the land, creating a patchwork of little kingdoms and starting a new era of British history. Several early medieval historians, writing well after the events, said the Anglo-Saxons were invited to Britain to defend the region from the northern tribes and ended up taking over. The Venerable Bede (672 or 673-735) said in his historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People) that in the year 449, “The British consulted what was to be done and where they should seek assistance to prevent or repel the cruel and frequent incursions of the northern nations. They all agreed with their king Vortigern to call over to their aid, from the parts beyond the sea, the Saxon nation.... The two first commanders are said to have been Hengist and Horsa.” However they came to control most of England, the Anglo-Saxons became the dominant power in the region for nearly 500 years, and the strength of their cultural influence could be felt even after William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings and became the first Norman ruler on the island.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, World
Length: 1 hr and 33 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Crypto-Jews

The Crypto-Jews

Summary

The road to the modern age of cultural harmony and acceptance is one of the finest feats of human progress, but having said that, there was once a time when the mere doubt of a religious figure's existence was not only punishable by law, it could very well cost a man his life. This was the crime of heresy. This kind of religious persecution has been around for thousands of years, and Christians were often the victims, but when the Catholic Church began its rapid expansion throughout Europe during the Middle Ages, the tables were turned. In 1184, Pope Lucius III issued a papal bull that would kick off a long-standing tradition of heretic-hunting, and as a result, the Age of the Inquisitions commenced.   By the end of the 14th century, the distrust and prejudice against Jewish communities quickly spread to Spain. In 1391, James II of Aragon boarded the bandwagon; backed into a corner by the Roman Catholic Church, he established a law that banned Jews from Spain altogether. Jews were shunned in droves, and the remaining were given an ultimatum to either convert/revert to Catholicism or face immediate death. Yet another wave of gory pogroms ensued across the country, especially in Barcelona. For nearly 400 years, the city of Barcelona had served as the central hub of the European Jewish communities, but in just 3 years, all 23 Jewish synagogues in Barcelona had been forcibly demolished. Nothing but charred remnants and ashes lay in its place.  Converso was the term given to any individual of Jewish or Muslim faith who had been converted to Catholicism. While some conversos were coerced into the conversion, others, like ha-Levi, willingly converted. This was a label given not only to the generation of the converted, it was also inherited by their children and descendants as well. Conversos prided themselves on being a new generation of Christians. Although they were of Jewish descent, they embraced the “true” Catholic religion. There were even those who claimed that the conversos had a deeper connection with God and were simply better than the “Old Christians.” According to the conversos, as Jews, they were related by blood to Christ.  When the Spanish Inquisition was in full swing, the inquisitors' handbooks included tips and guidelines on how to identify a rogue Jewish converso, or as others mocked them, the “crypto-Jews.” Inquisitors were on the lookout for individuals who did their cooking and cleaning on Friday nights, which was a Jewish habit. These relapsos frequented local Jewish stores to stock up on kosher meals. The latter individuals were fairly easy to spot, as most Spaniards at the time consumed hearty amounts of pork, a staple prohibited in Jewish and Muslim law. The absence of chimney smoke on Saturday nights was another clue that those inside could be honoring the Sabbath.  Nonetheless, the “crypto-Jews” would continue to secretly practice their religion and run the risk of incurring the Inquisition’s wrath, all the way up until the notorious expulsion of the Jews in Spain at the end of the 15th century. The Crypto-Jews: The History of the Forcibly Converted Jews Who Secretly Practiced Judaism During the Inquisition examines the origins of the group, the laws that discriminated against them, and the efforts to maintain Jewish identity in Spain. You will learn about the crypto-Jews like never before.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 43 mins
Available on Audible
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The Ancient Nubians

Summary

During the several centuries that ancient Egypt stood as one of the greatest civilizations of the ancient world, conflicts with its neighbors often played a central role in hieroglyphic texts and art from temples and tombs. The three primary enemies of the Egyptians were the Libyans who occupied the Western Desert and its oases, the so-called Asiatics who lived in the Levant, and finally the Nubians to Egypt’s south. Among the three peoples, the Nubians were the most "Egyptianized" and at times were integral to the development of Egyptian history. Truly, the Nubians were the greatest of all sub-Saharan peoples in pre-modern times and deserve to be studied in their own right, apart from ancient Egyptian history. Unfortunately, it is often difficult for scholars to separate aspects of ancient Nubian culture that were truly unique and "Nubian" from those elements that were Egyptian, as the Nubians borrowed heavily in terms of culture from their northern neighbor. One historian noted, "As expected, strong Nubian features and dark coloring are seen in their sculpture and relief work. This dynasty ranks as among the greatest, whose fame far outlived its actual tenure on the throne. Especially interesting, it was a member of this dynasty that decreed that no Nehsy (riverine Nubian of the principality of Kush), except such as came for trade or diplomatic reasons, should pass by the Egyptian fortress and cops at the southern end of the Second Nile Cataract. Why would this royal family of Nubian ancestry ban other Nubians from coming into Egyptian territory? Because the Egyptian rulers of Nubian ancestry had become Egyptians culturally; as pharaohs, they exhibited typical Egyptian attitudes and adopted typical Egyptian policies." Robert S. Bianchi went even further: "It is an extremely difficult task to attempt to describe the Nubians during the course of Egypt's New Kingdom, because their presence appears to have virtually evaporated from the archaeological record. The result has been described as a wholesale Nubian assimilation into Egyptian society. This assimilation was so complete that it masked all Nubian ethnic identities insofar as archaeological remains are concerned beneath the impenetrable veneer of Egypt's material culture." An in-depth examination of the ancient Nubians reveals that although the Nubians were closely related culturally in many ways to the Egyptians, they produced a culture that had many of its own unique attributes and was far more advanced than any other culture in sub-Saharan Africa. Although the ancient Nubians get second billing to the Egyptians and are therefore not known as well to the general public, they were truly a remarkable people who left a cultural legacy that has stood the test of time.

©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Middle East
Length: 1 hr and 16 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Cambridge Five

The Cambridge Five

Summary

If you want to discover the captivating history of the Cambridge Five, then pay attention.... During the poverty-stricken years of the Great Depression, when Britain’s financial markets plummeted and the poor and wealthy alike doubted the economic systems in which they participated, the potential of one political ideal shone like no other: Communism. Young intellectuals from the country’s very best schools discussed the premise of labor-value versus wealth-value, and a great many of them became card-carrying members of the Communist Party in Britain. It was exactly the kind of hunting ground the Soviet Union needed to recruit high-level agents to their cause. Over the course of the early 1930s, five students of Cambridge University were handpicked by Soviet agents and instructed to use their status as educated members of the British elite to serve the U.S.S.R. Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, Kim Philby, and John Cairncross accepted the offer and in doing so changed the course of WWII and the Cold War. Their actions were not discovered until the 1950s, long after the war was finished and the damage - or achievements, depending which side you were on - had already been done. In this audiobook, you will discover topics such as: The undeniable attraction of Marxism Students of prestige Anthony blunt: teacher, lover, recruiter Burgess: a mole within the BBC Maclean and the Spanish Civil War World War II: espionage between Allies Enigma, Bombe, and Colossus Espionage and the battle of Kursk Project Venona Allied insurgents in Albania The downfall of the Cambridge Five And much, much more!

©2019 Captivating History (P)2019 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 1 hr and 24 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Republic of Venice and Republic of Genoa: The History of the Italian Rivals and Their Mediterranean Empires

The Republic of Venice and Republic of Genoa: The History of the Italian Rivals and Their Mediterranean Empires

Summary

Founded in the wake of the decline of the Roman Empire, the Republic of Venice lasted for more than a thousand years, from 697-1797, and in order to understand its singular position in world history, it is necessary to first note its geographical positioning and its topographical makeup: Located in northeastern Italy at the head of the Adriatic, the city is made up of 120 islands that are connected by 430 bridges that cross over 170 canals, referred to as a “rio” or plural “rii” (Italian for river). As a maritime power, the interests of Venice once reached all the way to Asia, which allowed it to form an important crossroads within the Eastern Mediterranean, in terms of trade. In Venice, a vast array of products (raw materials, spices, cloth) came all the way from North Africa, Russia, and India and were exchanged for the goods and wealth of Europe. In a country that is as crowded with famous cities as Italy, Genoa is usually not one that first leaps to mind, at least for an English-speaking audience. If Venice, Florence, and Rome are the top three, they are often followed by Pisa, Sienna, and Naples, not to mention the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. Indeed, Genoa would come toward the end of a much longer list, and it might be most closely associated with its famous native son, Christopher Columbus, who ultimately sailed for Spain. For avid tourists, Genoa might be the port of call for those wishing to visit the stunning Cinque Terre on the Ligurian coast nearby, and for an expert in world politics, the city of Genoa might recall the memories of the tragic events of the 27th G8 summit in July 2001, when, at the height of the anti-globalization movement, protests turned violent and resulted in the death of a 23-year-old Carlo Giuliani. In today’s news, Genoa might represent Italy’s crumbling infrastructure and the apparent powerlessness of its government to repair it - on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, one of the main bridges of the city, the Morandi Bridge, collapsed, killing 43 people and leaving 600 homeless. The bridge’s demise also destroyed Italy’s reputation as an expert in mechanical engineering. Although Genoa cannot compete in the popular imagination with some of Italy’s more famous cities, this busy port town perched above the sea once boasted a powerful empire that rivaled that of Venice. It also lasted for roughly the same time period, rising in the early Middle Ages and coming to an end at the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte near the end of the 18th century. Today, historians are starting to correct the imbalance that has focused on Venice, Florence, and Rome, and new histories are gradually introducing Genoa to the world, even as much remains to be uncovered.  The Republic of Venice and Republic of Genoa: The History of the Italian Rivals and Their Mediterranean Empires looks at the origins of the cities, their rise to power across the Mediterranean, and their inevitable demises.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Middle East
Length: 3 hrs and 19 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for American Legends: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

American Legends: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Summary

A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' American Legends series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the lives of America's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known. In many ways, the Kennedy First Family was the perfect embodiment of a new young decade. The 1960s began with a sense of idealism, personified by the youthful and handsome new president. In 1961, John F. Kennedy made it seem like anything was possible, and Americans were eager to believe him. The next three years would be fondly and famously labeled "Camelot," suggesting an almost mythical quality about the young president and his family. The famous label came from John's fashionable and beautiful wife, Jackie, whose elegance and grace made her the most popular woman in the world. Her popularity threatened to eclipse even her husband's, who famously quipped on one presidential trip to France that he was "the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris." Americans were fascinated by the young first lady's style, and the manner in which she glamorously positioned both the First Family and the White House in those years, and Jackie remains one of the country's most popular First Ladies. But it was in the face of adversity that she truly made her lasting mark, with the country taking its cue from her in the aftermath of the president's assassination. Having devised and lit the eternal flame at JFK's tombstone, Jackie also set about securing her husband's legacy, a time still fondly and mythically remembered as Camelot today, despite his legendary transgressions and infidelities. Jackie continued to fascinate Americans over the next several decades, acting as a living symbol of the Kennedy years and a popular unofficial representative for her country abroad. She famously went on to marry Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, earning her the nickname Jackie O, and she took up a career in publishing beginning in the mid-70s. Until her death in 1994, even in her 60s she continued to be the subject of popular interest and intense tabloid and paparazzi coverage. American Legends: The Life and Legacy of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis details the fame and fashion of the famous first lady, while also examining her legacy during and after her years in the White House. You will learn about Jackie O like you never have before, in no time at all.

©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 3 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Operation Paperclip

Operation Paperclip

Summary

After the last shots of World War II were fired and the process of rebuilding Germany and Europe began, the Western Allies and the Soviet Union each tried to obtain the services of the Third Reich's leading scientists, especially those involved in rocketry, missile technology, and aerospace research. Naturally, this was a delicate affair due to the fact many of the German scientists were not only active Nazis but had helped the Nazi war machine terrorize the world. At the same time, by the late war period, the Anglo-American Allies formed a clear picture of the Soviet state. Though forced to ally with the USSR's dictator, Josef Stalin, the West came to understand Communist Russia represented yet another hungry totalitarian power, and thus a very real threat to an independent Europe. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill realized the menacing character of the Soviets from the Katyn Forest Massacre of Polish army officers, if not before, while the Americans only gradually shed a naïve assumption of continued Russian friendliness after the war.  For their part, the Soviets retained ruthless imperial ambitions which manifested in various ways. They allied with Hitler for a time in 1939 to 1941, planning to divide Eastern Europe between their two expansionist states. They devastated the Ukrainian population with the Holomodor, an engineered, genocidal famine which claimed perhaps 3 million victims. The Soviet refusal to evacuate Eastern Europe following the war, instead retaining many formerly democratic countries as vassal states, spoke volumes about their intentions. 

©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 1 hr and 54 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Cambridge Five: The History and Legacy of the Notorious Soviet Spy Ring in Britain during World War II and the Cold War

The Cambridge Five: The History and Legacy of the Notorious Soviet Spy Ring in Britain during World War II and the Cold War

Summary

The spy novel emerged from the intrigues of the mid-20th century for good reason. The war with the Third Reich involved an unseen cloak-and-dagger struggle between the participants, but beyond that, an even larger and longer contest took place in the shadows. Communism gained its first major foothold in statehood with the success of the Russian Revolution at the end of World War I, a success bizarrely assisted by the massive funding provided to the revolutionaries by some Western businessmen. Armand Hammer’s father, Julius, for instance, gave the new Soviet Union $50,000 in gold to back their new currency. In exchange, he received asbestos mining and oil concessions, plus a pencil manufacturing monopoly in the USSR lasting until the Stalin era. Soviet Russia followed a philosophy demanding international, global revolution - which, in practice, often resembled conquest by any means available, direct or indirect. While the Soviets never hesitated to use naked force when it seemed advisable, or when compelled to it by outside attack, they made intensive use of covert operations - spying, assassination, bribery, infiltration of governments and educational systems, the deployment of agents provocateur, and "agitprop" - in an effort to weaken other nations from within or possibly cause takeover by a friendly revolutionary regime. Soviet agents operated in all European countries and others, but their main efforts naturally focused on the strongest potential rivals - Germany, the United States, and Great Britain. Intelligent, persistent, and ruthless, the Soviets succeeded in recruiting a considerable number of agents, including men from the British ruling class. Their activities enabled the Soviets to capture and execute hundreds, if not thousands, of the opponents of their regime along with numbers of British agents. The men responsible for this unprecedented leaking of life-or-death information would enter history as the Cambridge Five - though in fact, they may have been only the core of a much larger group. The Cambridge Five: The History and Legacy of the Notorious Soviet Spy Ring in Britain During World War II and the Cold War chronicles the war’s most infamous spy ring and its activities. You will learn about the Cambridge Five like never before.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Russia
Length: 1 hr and 57 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Cola di Rienzo

Cola di Rienzo

Summary

“Hail then our Camillus, our Brutus, our Romulus! Or if you prefer to be addressed by some other name hail author of Roman liberty, of Roman peace, of Roman tranquility. The present age owes you the fact that it will die in liberty; posterity will owe you the fact that it is conceived in liberty.” (Petrarch in a letter to Cola di Rienzo) In the wake of the Roman Empire’s collapse, Italy found itself fractured, and nearly 1,000 years after Rome lost its grip in the late 5th century, there were several sovereign regional powers on the peninsula, such as Milan, Venice, Florence, the Papal States, and Naples. Centuries of conflict ensued, precipitating great anxiety among Western thinkers, and Italians responded to the fragmentation of the area in many ways. While local leaders often maintained rivalries or alliances in an attempt to increase their power, some always held on to the idea of reestablishing the Roman Empire, a concept that had compelled rulers as far back as Byzantine Emperor Justinian the Great to attempt to conquer the entire peninsula. Among the Italians of the Middle Ages, the most famous - and controversial - man who sought to unify Italy was, somewhat fittingly, a Roman. Cola di Rienzo was a man whose life and actions have reverberated down the centuries, as his charismatic, yet unsuccessful dictatorship has spawned legends and comparisons with movements of later ages. His attempt to bring the greatness of Roman antiquity into the reality of the 14th century, the city’s lowest point, is inspiring on its face. In 1938, Iris Origo saw how Cola was being used by her present era and noted that "within the last century Emperor, Communist and Fascist in turn have paid tribute to Cola di Rienzo as a kindred spirit or precursor. But historical parallels are deceptive. To measure a man of one century against a man of another is to see neither of them in the light of his own time..." This type of appropriation was explored in a documentary produced in 2000 for National Geographic, entitled Treasure Seekers in the Shadow of Ancient Rome, which explicitly used the lives of Cola di Rienzo and Benito Mussolini to discuss how individuals became enraptured by the greatness of Rome’s past. By seeking to capture the essence of the “Idea of Rome”, both leaders used those historical notions to bring about political movements in their own day. In part, this is why some historians today consider di Rienzo a proto-fascist figure, despite the fact he lived 600 years before fascism spread in earnest across Europe. Cola di Rienzo: The Controversial Life and Legacy of the Medieval Roman Who Attempted to Unify Italy looks at how the “tribune of Rome” rose in influence and power, his attempts to restore Rome’s greatness and unify the peninsula in the process, and the lasting legacy he left behind; you will learn about Naples like never before.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 14 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Chechnya

Chechnya

Summary

"There is no people under the sun more vile and deceitful than this one." - Soviet inscription on a statue of 19th century Russian general Aleksey Yermolov in Grozny. “Troops assembled villagers and townspeople, loaded them onto trucks - many deportees remembered that they were Studebakers, fresh from Lend-Lease deliveries over the Iranian border - and delivered them at previously designated railheads...Those who could not be moved were shot...[A] few fighters aside, the entire Chechen and Ingush nations, 496,460 people, were deported from their homeland.” (Norman Naimark) Today, Chechnya is a republic with some degree of autonomy in the contemporary Russian Federation. Its population is just over a million people, and it stretches over an area of 17,000 square kilometers. The majority of Chechnya’s population is comprised of Sunni Muslims, meaning religion has played a key role in the territory’s development. In southwestern Russia, landlocked within 100 kilometers of the Caspian Sea, Chechnya is north of the Caucasian mountains, bordering other North Caucasus provinces such as North Ossetia, and Dagestan, and Georgia. Russia itself is a well-established Slavic, Orthodox Christian country, though its majority Muslim provinces were not obvious to outsiders until the post-Soviet conflicts of the 1990's. The history of the Chechen people in the region is, nevertheless, long-established, and Chechnya has become synonymous with conflict, civil war, and discontent. While many people are aware of that, few understand how things reached that point. The area is complex and fascinating, representing one of the world’s true fault lines in terms of religion, empire, and geography. To understand Chechen history, it is necessary to understand the region’s development, including invasion, settlement, emigration, and the various confrontations and conflicts that have transpired there. Chechnya: The History of the Chechen Republic and the Ongoing Conflict with Russia examines the history of one of the most controversial regions in the world. You will learn about Chechnya like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Russia
Length: 1 hr and 27 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Nero

Nero

Summary

If you want to discover more about the captivating life of Nero, then pay attention... Nero’s extravagance has become nothing short of legendary. In its day, it was incredibly destructive to his people, particularly after the Great Fire of Rome - a fire that he may have even started. Instead of assisting the ten districts that had been damaged by the fire, Nero took advantage of the extra space to build himself a golden palace. He murdered, among others, his own mother, his ex-wife, and his stepbrother. He was additionally a rapist, a child molester, and a brutal abuser. But he was also an artist. At least, he believed himself to be one, and he had wanted to be one ever since he was a child. But an unlucky roll of the dice of fate ripped him from his aunt’s comfortable home and dumped him in the Roman palace, and eventually, he was thrown onto the Roman throne in 54 CE. The next fourteen 14 would be some of the worst in Roman history, showcasing the very worst of humanity. Because, the truth is that Nero thought he was an artist. But history reveals that he was little more than a monster.  In Nero: A Captivating Guide to the Last Emperor of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and How He Ruled the Roman Empire, you will discover chapters, such as: The First Emperors Exile Agrippina Pulls the Strings Matricide Right off the Rails Rome Ablaze Regret The Last Killing And much, much more! So, if you want to learn more about Nero, scroll up and click the "buy now" button!

©2020 Captivating History (P)2020 Captivating History

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 17 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Ur

Ur

Summary

When American archaeologists discovered a collection of cuneiform tablets in Iraq in the late 19th century, they were confronted with a language and a people who were at the time only scarcely known to even the most knowledgeable scholars of ancient Mesopotamia: the Sumerians. The exploits and achievements of other Mesopotamian peoples, such as the Assyrians and Babylonians, were already known to a large segment of the population through the Old Testament. The nascent field of Near Eastern studies had unraveled the enigma of the Akkadian language that was widely used throughout the region in ancient times, but the discovery of the Sumerian tablets brought to light the existence of the Sumerian culture, which was the oldest of all the Mesopotamian cultures. Long before Alexandria was a city and even before Memphis and Babylon had attained greatness, the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur stood foremost among ancient Near Eastern cities. Today, the greatness and cultural influence of Ur has been largely forgotten by most people, partially because its monuments have not stood the test of time the way other ancient cultures' monuments have. For instance, the monuments of Egypt were made of stone while those of Ur and most other Mesopotamian cities were made of mud brick and as will be discussed in this report, mud brick may be an easier material to work with than stone but it also decays much quicker. The same is true to a certain extent for the written documents that were produced at Ur. The people of Mesopotamia, which Ur was part of, employed the cuneiform system of writing; since cuneiform was almost always written on clay tablets, modern scholars have been faced with the unfortunate problem that many of those tablets have been broken and made unreadable by the passage of time. Despite the ephemeral nature of its monuments and to some extent its written texts, Ur proved to be an inspiration to the Sumerians who built the city and also to later cultures and dynasties that inhabited Mesopotamia. An examination of primary sources relating to Ur, as well as archaeological excavations done in the ancient city reveal that it was a cultural beacon for thousands of years. Ur began as a Sumerian city of secondary importance but quickly grew to importance in the region. At its height Ur was the center of a great dynasty that controlled most of Mesopotamia directly through a well maintained army and bureaucracy, and the areas that were not under its direct control were influenced by Ur's diplomats and religious ideas. This study will also reveal that Ur was a truly resilient city because it survived the downfall of the Sumerians, outright destruction at the hands of the Elamites, and later occupations by numerous other peoples, which included Saddam Hussein most recently. Ur inspired the imaginations of ancient peoples, but it has also enraptured the minds of modern people, who have worked for over 150 years to unlock the city's mysteries. Truly, when it comes to important ancient cities, Ur should be counted among the greatest.

©2015 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Middle East
Length: 1 hr and 31 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Ancient Egyptian Language and Writing: The History and Legacy of Hieroglyphs and Scripts in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian Language and Writing: The History and Legacy of Hieroglyphs and Scripts in Ancient Egypt

Summary

Perhaps not surprisingly given how advanced they were in comparison to contemporaries, the Egyptians invented one of the first writing systems ever, and for centuries, people thought these ancient texts held some sort of secret, be it aliens, advanced technology lost to the world, or mystical cures for all of the world’s ills. Even the ancient Egyptians saw their writing systems as full of mystery and hidden knowledge - according to Egyptian mythology, writing was invented by the ibis-headed god Thoth, the most intellectual of the gods. He was a scribe, also associated with mathematics, medicine, and astronomy, and could appear as either an ibis or a baboon. Thoth was originally a lunar god, strongly associated with recording events and time. He is more commonly known as the scribe who records judgment in the famous weighing of the heart scene in which a person’s fate in the afterlife is decided. To the Egyptians, writing was a gift of the gods and should be used accordingly. It was powerful and had the ability to create. For example, written formula offerings could provide sustenance in multiple ways, including being written, depicting the offerings, and read aloud. Each of these methods brought offerings to the recipient for all of eternity. Speaking words was especially powerful as shown in myths where the gods create in this fashion. One such myth is the “Memphite Theology”, where the creator god Ptah creates other beings through the “thoughts of his heart and the words of his mouth”. Furthermore, writing a person or a god’s name gave them power, and erasing their names took the power away. By placing his name on it, a person or king could usurp a statue from someone else.   Since writing was hieroglyphic, it was also art, and the images held power. This is evidenced by signs or images being disfigured in tombs or funerary settings, so as not to hurt the owners. These so-called “mutilated signs” were often of serpents or other animals that were able to harm the deceased. The signs might also be left incomplete for the same purpose.   That being said, real people wrote these texts. Some of the scribes might have considered themselves magicians, but they weren’t time travelers, aliens, or gods. Ancient Egyptian writing is often extremely complex and filled with puns, vague statements about religious mysteries, and general witty banter. In addition to those extremely well-written and thought-out texts, there is also a range of personal letters, administrative texts, and even graffiti. When reading some of these texts, it is remarkable how similar the people of ancient Egypt were to people today when it came to their daily concerns and even the jokes they told. The ancient Egyptian language was Afro-Asiatic, distantly related to Semitic and African ones, and the writing system only used consonants and not vowels, due to the root system. This is similar to how Arabic or Hebrew is written today. Most words had a root of two or three consonants, and the vowels changed based on the form of the word. Ancient Egyptian Language and Writing: The History and Legacy of Hieroglyphs and Scripts in Ancient Egypt examines the history of writing in Egypt, and how it evolved over thousands of years. You will learn about Egyptian language and writing like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Middle East
Length: 1 hr and 12 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Varangian Guard

The Varangian Guard

Summary

The Byzantine Empire was the heir to two great cultures that cradled and nurtured European civilization: Greece and Rome. Constantinople, now called Istanbul, became a center of power, culture, trade, and technology poised on the edges of Europe and Asia, and its influence was felt not only throughout Europe but the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and the Far East. Coins dating from the reign of Emperor Justinian I (r.527-565) have been found in southern India, and Chinese records show that the “Fulin”, as the Chinese named the Byzantines, were received at court as early as 643 CE. For a thousand years, the Byzantine Empire protected Europe from the Islamic Arab Empire, allowing it to pursue its own destiny. Finally, Byzantium was a polyglot society in which a multitude of ethnic groups lived under the emperor prizing peace above war, an inspiration surely for the modern age when divisive nationalism threatens to dominate society once more. Despite all this, the Byzantine Empire is often treated as a medieval oddity, an absolute state stunted by a myopic religion, a corrupt, labyrinthine bureaucracy, and an inability to adapt to change. In truth, none of these judgments bear any serious scrutiny - Byzantium was a strong, organized, highly effective, and adaptable civilization for most of its long history. It owed its success in no small part to its military, which, in contrast to the feudal armies of Western Europe and the tribally based forces of the Middle East, operated with a high level of discipline, strategic prowess, efficiency, and organization. At the same time, the Byzantines relied heavily on mercenaries, and the Hetairoi or foreign soldiers formed an important and often vital component of the army. The ability to call upon warriors from many nations demonstrated the power and wealth of the emperor, so they were recruited as much for prestige as for military utility. The most famous of the foreign units was without question the Varangian Guard. The Varangians came from the land in Eastern Europe known in the Middle Ages as Rus, which is now part of modern Russia and Ukraine. They were descendants of Viking warriors from Sweden who came to rule the waterways and population of Russia. Varangian mercenaries were fighting for the Byzantines by the 10th century, and in 988 they formed a permanent elite guard for the emperor. They took an oath of allegiance to him and served directly under the Acolyte or Akolouthos, who was usually of Byzantine origin. They also assumed responsibilities for the security of Constantinople. They served in battles outside the capital, but usually only when necessity called for it. The Varangian Guard’s primary duty was always to protect the emperor, and inevitably, the Varangians became a political force, taking part in the numerous palace coups. They displayed a fierce devotion not necessarily to the emperor but to the throne itself - for example, when Emperor Nicephorus II was murdered by John I Tzimiskes in 969, the Varangian Guard immediately pledged its allegiance to the usurper. The Varangian Guard consisted of heavily armored infantry bearing shields, heavy swords, and Norse battle axes, either single-bladed or double-bladed. They were amongst the fiercest and most feared military units in Christendom, which made the unit an attractive station for many soldiers of fortune came to Constantinople hoping to pursue lucrative military careers in the service of the Byzantine emperors. Those from the West were called at various times Frankoi, (Franks), Latinoi (Latins, i.e. Latin Rite Christians), or Normans. Frankish knights were often hired to combat the Turks in the 11th century.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 1 hr and 31 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Naples: The History and Legacy of the Prominent Italian City-State from Antiquity to Today

Naples: The History and Legacy of the Prominent Italian City-State from Antiquity to Today

Summary

The history of Naples is long and tortured, or at least for centuries that was how its history has been told. Inhabited almost continuously from the Neolithic era to the present, Naples was founded by the Greeks and conquered by the Romans. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Naples passed between various foreign rulers for its entire history prior to Italian unification. Starting in 1040, when the Norman French invaders conquered Campania, Naples was ruled in a dizzying succession by Germans, then French, then Spanish, then Austrians, then Spanish, then French, and then Spanish.  Although it is in many ways a microcosm of European history with a revolving door of conquerors, historians like to stress the unique status of Naples thanks to these diverse influences and unique geography. Set on a bay that provided a natural harbor, Naples is home to Mount Vesuvius, the only active volcano on the European mainland. When Vesuvius erupts, the Neapolitans pay the price, and it has earned its reputation as the most dangerous volcano in the world. However, the threat posed by Vesuvius is tempered by a great benefit: Naples is blessed with extremely fertile soil. The natural harbor of Naples and its position on the southwest coast of Italy helps explain its history of multiple rulers, insofar as it made Naples a central locus of trade between Italy, Greece, Byzantium, North Africa, Spain, Holland, Flanders, and Germany. Due to its strategic importance, Naples reached high levels of prosperity, and for the same reason, it also suffered as various foreign powers vied for control of the city and the surrounding area.  All the while, the sheer beauty of the bay of Naples, with Vesuvius looming in the distance, has made Naples a place of endless fascination. It boasts imposing castles and fortresses, as well as twisty, turning medieval streets that are home to some of Italy’s poorest and most maligned residents. Across the bay are the islands of Capri and Ischia, which only add to the allure of the city. Furthermore, its cuisine - particularly its pizza (which was invented in Naples) and its richly sweet desserts - rates amongst the most appreciated in all of Italy, no doubt thanks to the fertility of the soil that favors agricultural production.  Nonetheless, Naples does not enjoy an excellent reputation, within the context of Italy or of Europe. High rates of petty crime, a decaying urban fabric and the infamous presence of the mafia (known in Naples as the Camorra) all combine to ensure fewer tourists venture to explore Naples, and many Italians (civilians and politicians alike) consider it the ultimate “problem city.”  Naples: The History and Legacy of the Prominent Italian City-State from Antiquity to Today dives into the city's origin story, how it became one of the most important places in Europe, and its winding history. You will learn about Naples like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 18 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Ghosts of Scotland: A Collection of Ghost Stories Across the Scottish Nation

The Ghosts of Scotland: A Collection of Ghost Stories Across the Scottish Nation

Summary

"In Scotland, beautiful as it is, it was always raining. Even when it wasn't raining, it was about to rain, or had just rained. It's a very angry sky." (Colin Hay) Scotland is a fascinating and ancient land filled with history. It has produced explorers, warriors, inventors, writers, and more than a few murderers. For many centuries, it fought bitter wars against England to maintain its independence, and even when those wars were finally lost, Scotland retained its distinct culture and identity. Though a part of the United Kingdom, it would be a mistake to lump it in with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as Scotland has its own tales to tell and traditions to maintain. Not everything in Scotland is as it appears, however. Some Scots say this is a land haunted by spirits, a place of strange disappearances and unexplained phenomena. There is no shortage when it comes to the strange stories Scotland has to offer, and the legends and lore have compelled many to dig a little deeper and even explore this wonderful land for themselves. Some of those tales are downright grisly. Scotland has always been a rival to its southern neighbor, and the rivalry extends to the number of hauntings in its medieval castles, stately homes, and old cobblestone streets. While many Englishmen claim that their country is the most haunted, the Scots can point to their own stories of ghosts as evidence they may beat the English in this dubious distinction. The Ghosts of Scotland: A Collection of Ghost Stories Across the Scottish Nation is a collection of such tales, just a few among the thousands of local legends and modern sightings that make Scotland one of the most haunted countries in the world. It is part of a collection of other books written by Sean McLachlan, including The Ghosts of England: A Collection of Ghost Stories Across the English Nation and The Ghosts of Ireland: A Collection of Ghost Stories Across the Emerald Isle. For other strange occurrences in Scotland, ranging from Nessie to jelly falling from the sky, check out another title in the series, Weird Scotland: Monsters, Mysteries, and Magic Across the Scottish Nation. You will learn about the ghosts of Scotland like never before.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 31 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Gulf War: The History and Legacy of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm

The Gulf War: The History and Legacy of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm

Summary

It was one of the 20th century’s most decisive wars, but also one of its most influential. In the wake of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, America led a coalition of dozens of nations that repelled the Iraqi attack and smashed Iraqi forces, much of which was captured on live television as global networks broadcast the images back home.  On the now ironic date of September 11, 1990, President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress to explain why he was assembling a coalition of nations to intervene against Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Bush stated, “Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective -- a new world order -- can emerge…A new era, freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice and more secure in the quest for peace.” As his son would later attempt over a decade later in another war against Iraq, President Bush sought to present the coalition of nearly 40 nations as indicative of multilateralism, even though it was dominated by American forces. At the time, the Soviet Union was less than a year away from collapsing, leaving the United States as the sole superpower. In fact, the “new world order” that Bill Clinton and future presidents stepped into was one that allowed for American unilateralism.  Since World War II, the United States had protected the West during the Cold War, and President Kennedy had coined the term “Pax Americana” to describe his hope of peace for the world. 30 years later, American presidents now seemingly had the opportunity to use America’s unchecked power to instill and preserve peace across the world. As events have proved, the attempt to forge Pax Americana would be much easier said than done, and American involvement in the Middle East has been directly tied to the First Gulf War.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 1 hr and 22 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for King Mithridates the Great of Pontus

King Mithridates the Great of Pontus

Summary

Rome faced many formidable enemies over the course of nearly 1,000 years, but perhaps none are as enigmatic and forgotten as King Mithridates the Great of Pontus. Despite numerous ancient sources detailing the life of the foreign monarch and his wars with Rome, and despite being an interesting character who endured years as a fugitive in his youth, enjoyed a fascination with poisons, and held mercy and pragmatic ruthlessness in a delicate balance, very few scholarly books and works have been produced about him. It may be that his largely unsuccessful military campaigns have contributed to his disappearance from active historical examination, but despite his poor record in engagements against the Romans, he dominated much of Asia Minor in the first century BCE, and the Romans themselves considered him one of their most dangerous enemies. In fact, upon his death, the Roman soldiers felt that "in the person of Mithridates 10,000 enemies had died." Mithridates was not a significant threat for his great skills on the battlefield, but rather for his shrewd, calculating nature, his relentless persistence, and his indomitable will. For those qualities and the wars that he fought against Rome over the course of more than 40 years, he was certainly an important character in the first century BCE, one of the most important eras in history. It took three of Rome’s most famous generals - Sulla, Lucullus, and Pompey (all of whom earned a biography in Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans) - to finally subdue him. In the end, he was not defeated by any external enemy, but by himself. King Mithridates the Great of Pontus: The Life and Legacy of the Leader Who Challenged Rome During the Mithridatic Wars looks at how Mithridates and his kingdom rose in power and became one of the Roman Republic’s most legendary enemies. You will learn about Mithridates like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 22 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Kingdom of Italy: The History and Legacy of the Italian State from Unification to the End of World War II

The Kingdom of Italy: The History and Legacy of the Italian State from Unification to the End of World War II

Summary

“Few people in 1830 believed that an Italian nation might exist. There were eight states in the peninsula, each with distinct laws and traditions. No one had had the desire or the resources to revive Napoleon's partial experiment in unification." (Denis Mack Smith)

In the 18th century, Italy was still divided into smaller states, but differently than during medieval times when the political entities were independent and were flourishing economic and cultural centers almost unrivaled in Europe. During the 18th century, all of them were submitted to one of the greater hegemonic powers. This process of conquest and submission began during the early 16th century, when France was called on by the Duke Milan to intervene in his favor and from there never stopped. 

This was the geopolitical picture in Italy when the tumult of the French Revolution crossed the Alps, and the military campaigns of the legendary Napoleon Bonaparte would initiate a chain of events that would have massive reverberations across Italy throughout the 19th century. The different Italian states on the peninsula experienced Napoleonic rule in the early 1800s, followed by a brief restoration that led to widespread political upheavals in the 1820s. As the 1840s came to a close, the Italian peninsula was in major disarray. In 1847, the Austrian Chancellor Klement von Metternich referred to Italy as merely a “geographical expression,” and to some extent, he was not far off the mark. The inhabitants did not speak Italian; only a literate few wrote in the Italian of Dante and of Machiavelli, and a mere estimated two and a half percent spoke the language. The rest spoke their own regional dialects, which were so distinct from one another as to be incomprehensible from town to town. Similarly, most future Italian citizens knew nothing of the history of the peninsula, but instead learned of their own local traditions and histories.

The events of 1848-1849 began to pull the peninsula together, however. In January 1848, Sicily had a major revolution, which provoked widespread uprisings and riots, after which the kingdoms of Sardinia, the Two Sicilies, the Papal States and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany all were granted constitutions. In February, the Pope fled Rome and a three-month long Republic was declared, headed by Giuseppe Mazzini. In March, a revolution in Venice led to the declaration of a republic. In April, Milan also rebelled and became a republic. Soon, the Austrian government clamped down again. No one would have fathomed the nationalist Risorgimento movement would unify Italy a little over a decade later.

The Kingdom of Italy: The History and Legacy of the Italian State from Unification to the End of World War II chronicles the turbulent events and wars that unified Italy into one kingdom, and the struggle to maintain it over the next 75 years. You'll learn about the Kingdom of Italy like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 4 hrs and 26 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Ancient Greek Cavalry

Ancient Greek Cavalry

Summary

In virtually all fields of human endeavors, Athens in the fifth century BCE was so much at the forefront of dynamism and innovation that the products of its most brilliant minds remain not only influential but entirely relevant to this day. In the field of medicine, the great physician Hippocrates not only advanced the practical knowledge of human anatomy and caregiving, but changed the entire face of the medical profession. The great philosophers of Athens - men like Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato - interrogated themselves with startling complexity about the nature of good and evil and questioned the existence of divinity, advocated intelligent design, and went so far as to argue that all life was composed of infinitesimal particles. Great architects and sculptors such as Phidias produced works of art of such breathtaking realism and startling dynamism that they later formed the driving force behind the resurgence of sculpture during the Renaissance and served as masters to artists such as Michelangelo, Bernini, and Donatello. The plays of dramatists such as Aristophanes not only displayed an acerbic wit and a genius for political satire so pronounced that their works continue to be performed - and topical - to this day, but also served as the inspiration for virtually all playwrights from Shakespeare to the present day. And this does not take into account the host of equally brilliant mathematicians, natural philosophers, historians, astronomers and politicians that the city’s great schools nurtured and produced. Modern perceptions of ancient Greece are almost always based on Athens and Sparta, which is why other city-states and other military units besides the hoplites have been overlooked for thousands of years. For this reason, Greek cavalry forces - including their composition, purpose, techniques, equipment, and developments - are still not very well understood when compared with their naval or infantry counterparts. In fact, one of the most important epochs in the history of Greek warfare was the transition from the use of chariot warfare to mounted fighting and infantry-based action. The heroes of Homer’s epics, the Iliad and Odyssey, used chariots both on and off the battlefield as a means of transportation, but by the time Greece emerged from the Dark Ages, the chariot had almost entirely disappeared from Greek life. The main exception to this rule was in the world of athletics, where chariots continued to be used in competitive horse racing events, but the amount of public and private funds and the sheer effort which went into maintaining these expensive, highly trained knights demonstrated how important the ancient Greeks themselves felt it was to have an effective cavalry. Indeed, even though they don’t often find themselves in the historical spotlight, Greek cavalry actually played a crucial role in many famous battles, from the fall of Troy to the conquests of Alexander the Great. Ancient Greek Cavalry: The History and Legacy of Classical Greece’s Forgotten Soldiers traces the development of Greek cavalry from the Bronze Age chariots to the classical cavalry, examining how and why these transitions took place.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 1 hr and 18 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Homo Erectus: The History of the Archaic Humans Who Left Africa and Formed the First Hunter-Gatherer Societies

Homo Erectus: The History of the Archaic Humans Who Left Africa and Formed the First Hunter-Gatherer Societies

1 rating

Summary

Most scientists believe the evolution of humans has a history as long as life itself. Anatomically modern humans and all other life that has existed on the planet first came about from the single-celled microorganisms that emerged approximately 4 billion years ago. Through the processes of mutation and natural selection, all forms of life developed, and this continuous lineage of life makes it difficult to say precisely when one species completely separates from another. In other words, scientists still debate when a human became a human rather than the ancestor species that came before. Around 1.8 million years ago, a third species of Homo appeared in the fossil record. H. erectus would have shared the landscape for a time with H. habilis and H. rudolfensis, but the fossils of H. erectus are not limited to eastern and southern Africa. Instead, they are found across Africa and parts of mainland and insular Asia. This is the first species of Homo to be found outside Africa (Rightmire 1993). Features of H. erectus suggest an evolution toward modern humans, and the features that separate H. erectus from the other Homo species are found in the skull. The size of the brain was approximately 900 cc, making it larger than the brain size of H. habilis. H. erectus would not have the largest brain capacity of the Homo genus during its existence, with the emergence of H. heidelbergensis approximately 800,000 years ago. The larger brain size may not matter much when the size of the brain is considered with the size of the body, which also increased.  While the facial features of H. erectus would have made them noticeably different if they were alive today, their postcranial morphology may have been similar to modern humans. A key difference is the density or thickness of the bones; in H. erectus the limb bones are more robust, but otherwise they appear very similar to modern humans. The length of the hindlimbs in relation to the arms is similar to modern humans, which means that H. erectus may have been able to walk in a similar way. (Richtmire 1993: 57–84). This may or may not be linked with the widespread distribution of H. erectus.  Perhaps more important for H. erectus than simply being able to walk out of Africa would have been the ability to adapt to changing climates and essentially modify the environment around them. Most notably, the major advantage that H. erectus would have had is the ability to control fire. This skill, which no other animal has mastered, helped H. erectus travel across the world, and it may date as far back as 1.7 million years ago to as recently as 200,000 years ago. Most scientists agree that H. erectus was able to control fire by at least 600,000 years ago. Homo Erectus: The History of the Archaic Humans Who Left Africa and Formed the First Hunter-Gatherer Societies examines how H. erectus evolved, and what their lives were like. 

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 49 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Jan Hus and Ulrich Zwingli

Jan Hus and Ulrich Zwingli

Summary

“Therefore, faithful Christian, seek the truth, listen to the truth, learn the truth, love the truth, tell the truth, defend the truth even to death.” (Jan Hus) “The Christian life, then, is a battle so sharp and full of danger that effort can nowhere be relaxed without loss. I beseech Christ for this one thing only, that he will enable me to endure all things courageously, and that he break me as a potter's vessel or make me strong, as it pleases him.” (Ulrich Zwingli) Theologian and reformer John Wycliffe never had the opportunity to take his doctrines outside of his native England, but he could never have imagined that his teachings would one day travel as far as 920 miles east to Bohemia. One curious mind, however, was supposedly so inspired by Wycliffe that he was at once galvanized into action. Instead of simply parroting Wycliffe's seditious ideas, he launched an entire movement and remained fervidly true to his cause, even when his own life was at stake. This fearless firebrand was none other than Jan Hus, the father of the Bohemian Reformation and one of the most infamous heretics in all of Europe. If Wycliffe was the morning star of the reformation, Hus was the guiding star of the movement. Hus started as a Czech priest, but he quickly became notorious for debating several church doctrines such as the Eucharist, church ecclesiology, and many more topics. Today, he is viewed as a predecessor of the Lutherans, but the church viewed him as a threat, and the Catholics eventually engaged the followers of Hus (known as Hussites) in several battles in the early 15th century. Hus himself was burned at the stake in 1415, but his followers fought on in a series of battles known as the Hussite Wars, and Czechoslovakia’s inhabitants, by and large, remained Hussite afterward. About 100 years later, reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli would help spark the Reformation across the continent. On March 9, 1522, the first Sunday of Lent, Catholics across Europe ushered in a 40-day period of solemn penitence, self-imposed moderation, and spiritual discipline by marking crosses on their foreheads with ash-coated fingers. They dutifully adhered to the Lenten laws, immersing themselves in prayer, modulating their consumption of alcohol, and avoiding meat in preparation for the death and resurrection of Christ. Zwingli and the Swiss reformers embarked on a campaign to rid Zurich of all objects and new-age creeds spawned by humanity. Zwingli’s life was packed with portentous events, alarming twists and turns, and an unexpected ending, and through it all, he would have a profound impact on Christianity. Jan Hus and Ulrich Zwingli: The Lives and Deaths of the Reformation’s Most Famous Martyrs chronicles the reformers’ ideas and the influence they had during and after their lives.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 2 hrs and 55 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Cambrian Period

The Cambrian Period

Summary

Includes a bibliography for further listening  Includes a table of contents   The early history of Earth covers such vast stretches of time that years, centuries, and even millennia become virtually meaningless. Instead, paleontologists and scientists who study geochronology divide time into periods and eras. The current view of science is that Earth is around 4.6 billion years old, and the first four billion years of its development are known as the Precambrian period. For the first billion years or so, there was no life in Earth. Then the first single-celled life-forms, early bacteria and algae, began to emerge. It’s unclear where they came from or even if they originated on this planet at all, but this gradual development continued until around four billion years ago when suddenly (in geological terms) more complex forms of life began to emerge.  Scientists call this time of an explosion of new forms of life the Paleozoic Era, and it stretched from around 541-250 million years ago (Mya). In the oceans and then on land, new creatures and plants began to appear in bewildering variety, and by the end of this period, life on Earth had diversified into a myriad of complex forms that filled virtually every habitat and niche available in the seas and on the planet’s only continent, Pangea.  Despite all of the scientific advances made in the past few centuries, including an enhanced understanding of Earth’s geological past, very little is known about the planet’s early history. It is generally accepted that the planet formed somewhere in the region of 4.5 billion years ago, and at some point, the first life appeared in the form of tiny, single-celled creatures, but scientists are unsure of what this life looked like. One of the problems for those seeking to trace the history of life on Earth is that modern scholars are almost entirely dependent on fossil records, but the earliest types of life left few fossils. The best fossils are formed from the bones and hard body parts of dead creatures, but the earliest types of life were so small that they had no bones or cartilage and thus left no fossils. Thus, even though the Precambrian Period (4,600–541 millions of years ago (Mya)) covers over 80 percent of the entire history of the planet, scientists have very little idea of what forms of life existed then.  Then, as Earth entered the Cambrian Period, there was a relatively sudden increase in life form diversity throughout the oceans. Completely new forms of life, more complex and more diverse than anything that had been seen before, began to spread. This acceleration in the evolution of new forms of life was so dramatic that this has come to be known as the “Cambrian explosion”.  Although new species in the Cambrian explosion developed almost entirely in the oceans, the land was not entirely devoid of life. Though there were no plants or animals, mats of cyanobacteria and other types of microbes covered large terrestrial areas. Scientists have discovered the tracks of a creature that were left in mud that existed 551 Mya, and those tracks were left by leg-like appendages. Was this a fish-like creature that temporarily invaded the land, or was it something completely different than anything that exists today? There is no general consensus, but the Cambrian Period left a rich fossil record that provides a clear idea of the development of life during this time. At the same time, new discoveries are continually being made, and the more scientists discover about this mysterious period, the more their understanding of ancient Earth changes.  The Cambrian Period: The History and Legacy of the Start of Complex Life on Earth looks at the development of the era, the extinction event that preceded it, and how life began to evolve during it.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 31 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Partition of Ireland and the Troubles: The History of Northern Ireland from the Irish Civil War to the Good Friday Agreement

The Partition of Ireland and the Troubles: The History of Northern Ireland from the Irish Civil War to the Good Friday Agreement

2 ratings

Summary

“The Honorable Member must remember that in the South they boasted of a Catholic State. They still boast of Southern Ireland being a Catholic State. All I boast of is that we are a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant State. It would be rather interesting for historians of the future to compare a Catholic State launched in the South with a Protestant State launched in the North and to see which gets on the better and prospers the more.” (Sir James Craig) One of the most bitter and divisive struggles in the history of the British Isles, and in the history of the British Empire, played out over the question of Home Rule and Irish independence, and then later still as the British province of Northern Ireland grappled within itself for the right to secede from the United Kingdom or the right to remain. What is it within this complicated relationship that has kept this strange duality of mutual love and hate at play? A rendition of “Danny Boy” has the power to reduce both Irishmen and Englishmen to tears, and yet they have torn at one another in a violent conflict that can be traced to the very dawn of their contact. This history of the British Isles themselves is in part responsible. The fraternal difficulties of two neighbors so closely aligned, but so unequally endowed, can be blamed for much of the trouble. The imperialist tendencies of the English themselves, tendencies that created an empire that embodied the best and worst of humanity, alienated them from not only the Irish, but the Scots and Welsh too. However, the British also extended that colonial duality to other great societies of the world, India not least among them, without the same enduring suspicion and hostility. There is certainly something much more than the sum of its parts in this curious combination of love and loathing that characterizes the Anglo-Irish relationship. The Partition of Ireland and the Troubles: The History of Northern Ireland from the Irish Civil War to the Good Friday Agreement analyzes the tumultuous events that marked the creation of Northern Ireland, and the conflicts fueled by the partition. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Northern Ireland like never before.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 1 hr and 50 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The British Subjugation of Australia: The History of British Colonization and the Conquest of the Aboriginal Australians

The British Subjugation of Australia: The History of British Colonization and the Conquest of the Aboriginal Australians

Summary

“It is quite time that our children were taught a little more about their country, for shame’s sake.” - Henry Lawson, Australian poet A land of almost 3 million square miles has lain since time immemorial on the southern flank of the planet, so isolated that it remained almost entirely outside of European knowledge until 1770. From there, however, the subjugation of Australia would take place rapidly. Within 20 years of the first British settlements being established, the British presence in Terra Australis was secure, and no other major power was likely to mount a challenge. In 1815, Napoleon would be defeated at Waterloo, and soon afterwards would be standing on the barren cliffs of Saint Helena, staring across the limitless Atlantic. The French, without a fleet, were out of the picture, the Germans were yet to establish a unified state, let alone an overseas empire of any significance, and the Dutch were no longer counted among the top tier of European powers.  Australia lay at an enormous distance from London, and its administration was barely supervised. Thus, its development was slow in the beginning, and its function remained narrowly defined, but as the 19th century progressed and peace took hold over Europe, things began to change. Immigration was steady, and the small spores of European habitation on the continent steadily grew. At the same time, the Royal Navy found itself with enormous resources of men and ships at a time when there was no war to fight. British sailors were thus employed for survey and exploration work, and the great expanses of Australia attracted particular interest. It was an exciting time, and an exciting age - the world was slowly coming under European sway, and Britain was rapidly emerging as its leader.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 38 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Famine and Rebellion: The History of Ireland Under the British Empire in the 19th Century

Famine and Rebellion: The History of Ireland Under the British Empire in the 19th Century

Summary

“If you strike us down now we shall rise again and renew the fight. You cannot conquer Ireland; you cannot extinguish the Irish passion for freedom. If our deed has not been sufficient to win freedom then our children will win it by a better deed.” -Padraig Pearse  There are very few national relationships quite as complicated and enigmatic as the one that exists between the English and the Irish. For two peoples so interconnected by geography and history, the depth of animosity that is often expressed is difficult at times to understand. At the same time, historic links of family and clan, and common Gaelic roots, have at times fostered a degree of mutual regard, interdependence, and cooperation that is also occasionally hard to fathom. During World War I, for example, Ireland fought for the British Empire as part of that empire, and the Irish response to the call to arms was at times just as enthusiastic as that of other British dominions such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. And yet, at the same time, plots were unearthed to cooperate with the Germans in toppling British rule in Ireland, which would have virtually ensured an Allied defeat. In World War II, despite Irish neutrality, 12,000 Irish soldiers volunteered to join the Khaki line, returning after the war to the scorn and vitriol of a great many of their more radical countrymen.  One of the most bitter and divisive struggles in the history of the British Isles, and in the history of the British Empire, played out over the question of Home Rule and Irish independence, and then later still as the British province of Northern Ireland grappled within itself for the right to secede from the United Kingdom or the right to remain.  What is it within this complicated relationship that has kept this strange duality of mutual love and hate at play? A rendition of “Danny Boy” has the power to reduce both Irishmen and Englishmen to tears, and yet they have torn at one another in a violent conflict that can be traced to the very dawn of their contact. This history of the British Isles themselves is in part responsible. The fraternal difficulties of two neighbors so closely aligned, but so unequally endowed, can be blamed for much of the trouble. The imperialist tendencies of the English themselves, tendencies that created an empire that embodied the best and worst of humanity, alienated them from not only the Irish, but the Scots and Welsh too. However, the British also extended that colonial duality to other great societies of the world, India not least among them, without the same enduring suspicion and hostility.  Famine and Rebellion: The History of Ireland Under the British Empire in the 19th Century analyzes the tumultuous events that marked Irish history during British rule in the 19th century. From this audiobook, you will learn about Ireland in the 19th century like never before.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 2 hrs and 38 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Ancient Canaanites

The Ancient Canaanites

Summary

Individuals who decide to take up learning about the Old Testament of the Bible are immediately faced with the difficult proposition of identifying the various peoples that the Hebrews met and sometimes came into conflict with when they entered the territory that eventually became Israel. The Moabites and Edomites were just two of the many Canaanite groups that the Hebrews dealt with, often violently, but there were dozens of other Canaanite groups, which were all for the most part identified through the names of their respective cities. In fact, before the Hebrews established a kingdom and before the Phoenicians colonized much of the Mediterranean, the Canaanites were the most important group in the Levant for much of the Bronze Age and into the early Iron Age. Although the Canaanites never created a unified nation-state or kingdom, their importance in the ancient Near East cannot be overstated. It was at least partially because of that fact that the Canaanites were unable to resist their larger and more powerful neighbors that the average person today knows so little about their history.

©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Middle East
Length: 1 hr and 30 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Cumans and Magyars

The Cumans and Magyars

1 rating

Summary

Of all the steppe peoples in the medieval period, perhaps none were more important to European history than the Magyars. Like the Huns and Avars before them and the Cumans and Mongols after them, the Magyars burst into Europe as a destructive, unstoppable horde, taking whatever they wanted and leaving a steady stream of misery in their wake. They used much of the same tactics as the other steppe peoples and lived a similar, nomadic lifestyle. The Magyars also had many early cultural affinities with other steppe peoples, following a similar religion and ideas of kingship and nobility, among other things. That said, as similar as the Magyars may have been to other steppe nomads before and after them, they were noticeably different in one way: The Magyars settled down and became a part of Europe and Western Civilization in the Middle Ages. The Magyars exploded onto the European cultural scene in the late ninth century as foreign marauders, but they made alliances with many important kingdoms in less than a century and established their own dynasty in the area, roughly equivalent to the modern nation-state of Hungary. After establishing themselves as a legitimate dynasty among their European peers, the Magyars formed a sort of cultural bridge between the Roman Catholic kingdoms of Western Europe and the Orthodox Christian kingdoms of Eastern Europe. Ultimately, the Magyars chose the Roman Catholic Church, thereby becoming a part of the West and tying their fate to it for the remainder of the Middle Ages.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 2 hrs and 23 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The California Trail

The California Trail

Summary

The Lewis and Clark expedition, notwithstanding its merits as a feat of exploration, was also the first tentative claim on the vast interior and the western seaboard of North America by the United States. It set in motion the great movement west that began almost immediately with the first commercial overland expedition funded by John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company and would continue with the establishment of the Oregon Trail and California Trail.  The westward movement of Americans in the 19th century was one of the largest and most consequential migrations in history, and among the paths that blazed west, the California Trail was one of the most well-known. The trail was not a single road but a network of paths that began at several “jumping off” points.  As it so happened, the paths were being formalized and coming into use right around the time gold was discovered in the lands that became California in January 1848. Located thousands of miles away from the country’s power centers on the East Coast at the time, the announcement came a month before the Mexican-American War had ended, and among the very few Americans that were near the region at the time, many of them were army soldiers who were participating in the war and garrisoned there. San Francisco was still best known for being a Spanish military and missionary outpost during the colonial era, and only a few hundred called it home. Mexico’s independence, and its possession of those lands, had come only a generation earlier. At the same time, the journey itself was fraught with risk. It’s easy for people with modern transportation to comfortably reminisce about the West, but many pioneers discovered that the traveling came with various kinds of obstacles and danger, including bitter weather, potentially deadly illnesses, and hostile Native Americans, not to mention an unforgiving landscape that famous American explorer Stephen Long deemed “unfit for human habitation”. Nineteenth-century Americans were all too happy and eager for the transcontinental railroad to help speed their passage west and render overland paths obsolete. One of the main reasons people yearned for new forms of transportation was because of the most notorious and tragic disaster in the history of westward travel. While people still romanticize the Wild West, many Americans are also familiar with the fate of the Donner Party, a group of 87 to 90 people heading for California who met with disaster in the Sierra Nevada mountain range during the winter of 1846-1847. The party knew the journey would take months, but early snowfalls in the mountains left dozens of people trapped in snow drifts that measured several feet, stranding them in a manner that made it virtually impossible for them to go any further for several weeks. The plight of the Donner Party made news across the nation, even before the surviving members were rescued and brought to safety, and by the time the doomed expedition was over, less than 50 of them made it to California. As writer Ethan Rarick summed it up, “More than the gleaming heroism or sullied villainy, the Donner Party is a story of hard decisions that were neither heroic nor villainous." The California Trail: The History and Legacy of the 19th Century Routes That Led Americans to the Golden State examines how the various paths were forged, the people most responsible for them, and the most famous events associated with the trail’s history. You will learn about the California Trail like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Military
Length: 1 hr and 47 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Armenian Myths and Legends

Armenian Myths and Legends

1 rating

Summary

Armenia is considered to be one of the oldest cradles of civilization, with the area of historical Armenia roughly extending to the area stretching from the Euphrates River in the west, the region of Artsakh, parts of Caucasian Albania to the east, parts of the modern state of Georgia to the north, and its southern boundary abutting the northern tip of Mesopotamia. Armenia is a landlocked mountainous plateau that rises to an average of over 6,000 feet above sea level, and for this reason, the territory was commonly referred to as the Armenian Highlands. In these highlands, Armenian culture, as well as its language, started to develop.  Rich cultural material, mythological and legendary tales, toponyms and names, as well as historical sources serve as evidence the Armenian Highlands have been inhabited by Armenians since the dawn of time. Like many other people all over the world, Armenian people also created their own mythology and heroes. The first pantheon of the Armenian pagan gods had gone through its formation parallel to the development of the Armenian people as a consequence of the religious beliefs the people bore. Before being the first kingdom to convert to and accept Christianity as its religion in the year of AD 301, Armenians were pagan and believed in a multitude of gods and goddesses. These were attributed with many natural elements. The main sources that have conveyed the Armenian pagan myths and legends to the following generations are the Armenian historians of the fourth to seventh centuries, such as Agathangelos, Faustus the Byzantine, Movses Khorenatsi, and Sebeos. Another prime source containing many clues that helps us grasp and comprehend these myths and legends is the Armenian national heroic epic Daredevils of Sassoun. Armenian Myths and Legends: The History of the Mythology and Folk Tales from Armenia looks at the stories that came from Armenia in ancient times, including their influences from other cultures. You will learn about Armenian mythology like never before. 

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 9 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for South Africa and the British Empire

South Africa and the British Empire

Summary

The Boer War was the defining conflict of South African history and one of the most important conflicts in the history of the British Empire. Naturally, complicated geopolitics underscored it, going back centuries. In fact, the European history of South Africa began with the 1652 arrival of a small Dutch flotilla in Table Bay, at the southern extremity of the African continent, which made landfall with a view to establishing a victualing station to service passing Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) ships. The Dutch at that point largely dominated the East Indian Trade, and it was their establishment of the settlement of Kaapstad, or Cape Town, that set in motion the lengthy and often turbulent history of South Africa. For over a century, the Cape remained a Dutch East India Company settlement, and in the interests of limiting expenses, strict parameters were established to avoid the development of a colony. As religious intolerance in Europe drove a steady trickle of outward emigration, however, Dutch settlers began to informally expand beyond the Cape, settling the sparsely inhabited hinterland to the north and east of Cape Town. In doing so, they fell increasingly outside the administrative scope of the company, and they developed an individualistic worldview, characterized by self-dependence and self-reliance. They were also bonded as a society by a rigorous and literal interpretation of the Old Testament. In their wake, toward the end of the 17th century, followed a wave of French Huguenot immigrants, fleeing a renewal of anti-Protestantism in Europe. They were integrated over the succeeding generations, creating a hybridized language and culture that emerged in due course as the Cape Dutch, the Afrikaner, or the Boer. The Napoleonic Wars radically altered the old, established European power dynamics, and in 1795 the British, now emerging as the globe’s naval superpower, assumed control of the Cape as part of the spoils of war. In doing so, they recognized the enormous strategic value of the Cape as global shipping routes were developing and expanding. Possession passed back and forth once or twice, but more or less from that point onward, the British established their presence at the Cape, which they held until the unification of South Africa in 1910. However, it would come only after several rounds of conflicts, and South Africa would remain a dominion through history’s deadliest wars in the first half of the 20th century.  South Africa and the British Empire: The History and Legacy of the Region Under Great Britain’s Control looks at the controversial British colonization, fighting, and results. You will learn about the British control of South Africa like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, World
Length: 3 hrs and 32 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Battle of Chaldiran

The Battle of Chaldiran

Summary

The town of Caldiran (Chaldiran) in Turkey is home to about 60,000 people. On a plain close to the Iranian border, it it backdropped by the Armenian Ranges and very close to a Faultline, which has ensured it’s suffered from seismic activity many times in the past. But in the early 16th century, it was the site of different kinds of faultlines, serving as a battleground between the region’s two greatest powers as they clashed over politics and religion. In the wake of taking Constantinople, the Ottoman Empire would spend the next few centuries expanding its size, power, and influence on the way to becoming one of the world’s most important geopolitical players. It was a rise that would not truly start to wane until the 19th century, and while its most memorable conflicts were fought against the Europeans, the course of Ottoman history was greatly impacted by events against the other major Muslim power in its region: the Safavid Empire. Naturally, the two powers quickly took up the geopolitical positions of the old Byzantine and Persian Empires in the time before Islam and fought over much of the same territory, including Mesopotamia, the Caucuses, today's eastern Turkey and the Persian Gulf. Their first battle was fought in 1514, their first real war was fought from 1532-1555, and they continued to spar regularly until the early 19th century, when European colonialism forced them both onto the defensive. Echoes of these conflicts can be seen in the recent sparring between Iran and Turkey through proxies in Iraq and Syria. On August 23, 1514 the two sides clashed at Chaldiran in a contest for hegemony over the Middle East, and the results have affected the Middle East ever since. Regrettably, few concrete details of the actual battle survive, a not uncommon obstacle when studying battles from the Middle Ages. However, the course of the conflict can be reconstructed from the politics of the time, knowledge of the characters involved, the contemporary records are available, and what followed the battle. There is no lasting monument to the battle in Chaldiran on site, but there is on the Iranian side of the border, nearly 20 miles to the east near the village of Gala Ashaki. It consists of a domed tomb for a Persian general, Sayyed Sharif-al-Din Ali Shirazi, who fell in the battle. He was the chief religious cleric of Shah Ismail I, the first of the Safavid rulers of Persia and a leader who brought a monumental religious shift to the Middle East. Believing himself the “Shadow of God” and his chosen vessel, he set about transforming Persia and the globe through his fanatical religious militia, the Qizilbash. He meant to lead not only Persia but the entire Islamic world, but this vision was vehemently opposed by Sultan Selim I of the Ottoman Empire. Selim the Grim had fought tenaciously for possession of his throne, and he too believed himself chosen by God to rule all Muslims. The battle is depicted in a magnificent painting in Sayyed Sharif-al-Din Ali Shirazi’s tomb. In the foreground of the representation, Shah Ismail I of Persia leads his Qizilbash in a charge against the Ottoman cavalry, riding over the corpses of the slain. In the middle, Sultan Selim (who did not actually participate in the battle, though he was present) leads an almost leisurely advance toward the Persian cavalry, preceded by two Janissaries armed with axes. In the background, the Ottoman artillery delivers a barrage into the Qizilbash, who are falling or fleeing. It seems to be a chronological depiction of the conflict, and though the figure Ismail is clearly the centerpiece, there is no attempt to mask the fact that the battle was a catastrophic defeat for the Persians.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Middle East
Length: 2 hrs and 9 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Republic of Zimbabwe

The Republic of Zimbabwe

Summary

“The only white man you can trust is a dead white man.” (Robert Mugabe) The modern history of Africa was, until very recently, written on behalf of the indigenous races by the white man, who had forcefully entered the continent during a particularly hubristic and dynamic phase of European history. In 1884, Prince Otto von Bismark, the German chancellor, brought the plenipotentiaries of all major powers of Europe together to deal with Africa's colonization in such a manner as to avoid provocation of war. This event - known as the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 - galvanized a phenomenon that came to be known as the Scramble for Africa. The conference established two fundamental rules for European seizure of Africa. The first of these was that no recognition of annexation would be granted without evidence of a practical occupation, and the second, that a practical occupation would be deemed unlawful without a formal appeal for protection made on behalf of a territory by its leader - a plea that must be committed to paper in the form of a legal treaty. Thus began a rush, spearheaded mainly by European commercial interests in the form of chartered companies, to penetrate the African interior and woo its leadership with guns, trinkets, and alcohol, and having thus obtained their marks or seals upon spurious treaties, begin establishing boundaries of future European African colonies.  The ease with which this was achieved was due to the fact that, at that point, traditional African leadership was disunited, and the people had just staggered back from centuries of concussion inflicted by the slave trade. Thus, to usurp authority, to intimidate an already broken society, and to play one leader against the other was a diplomatic task so childishly simple, the matter was wrapped up, for the most part, in less than a decade. There were some exceptions to this, however. The most notable of which was perhaps the Zulu Nation, a centralized monarchy of enormous military prowess that required a British colonial war - the storied Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 - to affect pacification. Another was the amaNdebele, an offshoot of the Zulu, established as early as the 1830s in the southeastern quarter of what would become Rhodesia, and later still Zimbabwe, in the future. Both were powerful, centralized monarchies, fortified by an organized and aggressive professional army, subdivided into regiments and owing fanatical loyalty to the crown. The Zulu were not dealt with by treaty, and their history is, perhaps, the subject of another episode of this series, but the amaNdebele were, and early European treaty and concession gatherers were required to tread with great caution as they entered their lands. It would be a long time before the inevitable course of history forced the amaNdebele to submit to European domination. Although treaties and British gunboat diplomacy played a role, it was ultimately war, conquest, and defeat in battle that brought the amaNdebele to heel. Rumors of gold in the land helped lead Cecil John Rhodes to obtaining a royal charter in October 1889 for a private company to exploit the resources. After tricking the amaNdebele with a dubious agreement, members of Rhodes’ company began to establish a fledgling colony, and after the British defeated the amaNdebele and began driving them away from the land during the First Matabele War, the seeds were sown for two colonies to take root. But little did the British know just how politically turbulent those efforts would be and how much more fighting would have to take place to consolidate their position.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Africa
Length: 2 hrs and 15 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Loki: The Origins and History of the Famous Norse Trickster God

Loki: The Origins and History of the Famous Norse Trickster God

1 rating

Summary

Much of what is known of the Norse myths comes from the 10th century onwards. Until this time and, indeed, for centuries afterwards, Norse culture (particularly that of Iceland, where the myths were eventually transcribed) was an oral culture. In fact, in all Scandinavian countries well into the 13th century laws were memorized by officials known as "Lawspeakers" who recited them at the "Thing." The Thing was the legislative assembly in Scandinavia "held for judicial purposes". One of the most famous of these Lawspeakers was the Icelander Snorri Sturluson, a masterful writer who wrote the Prose Edda in the 13th century. There are other sources for the Norse myths, namely the later "Poetic Edda", a collection of poems and prose work, and other sagas but the Snorri's Prose Edda is the most complete work whose attribution is known to modern scholars. It is believed that Snorri, a Christian, recorded these pagan beliefs so as to preserve and explain the stylistic poetry of Iceland, particularly the popular descriptive devices known as kennings. A kenning is made up of a base word and a modifying word that is used to describe a separate object. For example, "Gold" had a great many kennings, one of which was "Sif's Hair". If, however, the memory of Loki cutting off Sif's hair and replacing it with gold were lost, then this kenning would make no sense to later generations. There are many of these allusions to the myths and it is thanks to them that the myths have survived.

©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 31 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for South Africa

South Africa

Summary

The Boer War was the defining conflict of South African history and one of the most important conflicts in the history of the British Empire. Naturally, complicated geopolitics underscored it, going back centuries. In fact, the European history of South Africa began with the 1652 arrival of a small Dutch flotilla in Table Bay, at the southern extremity of the African continent, which made landfall with a view to establishing a victualing station to service passing Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) ships. The Dutch at that point largely dominated the East Indian Trade, and it was their establishment of the settlement of Kaapstad, or Cape Town, that set in motion the lengthy and often turbulent history of South Africa. For over a century, the Cape remained a Dutch East India Company settlement, and in the interests of limiting expenses, strict parameters were established to avoid the development of a colony. As religious intolerance in Europe drove a steady trickle of outward emigration, however, Dutch settlers began to informally expand beyond the Cape, settling the sparsely inhabited hinterland to the north and east of Cape Town. In doing so, they fell increasingly outside the administrative scope of the Company, and they developed an individualistic worldview, characterized by self-dependence and self-reliance. They were also bonded as a society by a rigorous and literal interpretation of the Old Testament. In their wake, towards the end of the 17th century, followed a wave of French Huguenot immigrants, fleeing a renewal of anti-Protestantism in Europe. They were integrated over the succeeding generations, creating a hybridized language and culture that emerged in due course as the Cape Dutch, the Afrikaner or the Boer. South Africa: The History and Legacy of the Nation from European Colonization to the End of the Apartheid Era looks at the controversial history of the country, from the initial European explorers to the successful struggle to dismantle apartheid.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Africa
Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Maurya Empire

The Maurya Empire

2 ratings

Summary

During the last centuries of the first millennium BCE, most of the Mediterranean basin and the Near East were either directly or indirectly under the influence of Hellenism. The Greeks spread their ideas to Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Persia and attempted to unify all of the peoples of those regions under one government. Although some of the Hellenistic kingdoms proved to be powerful in their own rights -- especially Ptolemaic Egypt and the Seleucid Empire, which encompassed all of Mesopotamia, most of the Levant, and much of Persia during its height -- no single kingdom ever proved to be dominant. The Hellenic kingdoms battled each other for supremacy and even attempted to claim new lands, especially to the east, past the Indus River in lands that the Greeks referred to generally as India. But as the Hellenistic Greeks turned their eyes to the riches of India, a dynasty came to power that put most of the Indian subcontinent under the rule of one king.

©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Asia
Length: 1 hr and 13 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Hyksos

The Hyksos

Summary

From approximately 3100 BCE until around 1075 BCE, ancient Egypt was ruled by 20 different dynasties. The length of the dynasties varied: some, such as those during the First and Second Intermediate periods could be quite short, while the 13th and 18th Dynasties each contained more a one dozen kings and ruled over the Nile Valley for around 200 years each. Although the first 20 Egyptian dynasties varied in number of rulers and length, most shared one important attribute: they were all native Egyptian dynasties. The one important exception came during Egypt's Second Intermediate Period when a mysterious foreign group of people, known as the Hyksos, conquered Egypt and established the 15th and 16th Dynasties some time shortly after 1700 BCE. For centuries, the Hyksos rule over Egypt was an enigma shrouded in half-truths and myth. The Hyksos were sometimes mistakenly associated with the biblical Israelites, but were for the most part forgotten in modern times due to the dearth of written texts that can be dated to their rule. It was only in the mid-20th century that Egyptologists, using newly discovered and translated texts, shed fresh light on the Hyksos to reveal details about their origins and rule in Egypt.

©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Middle East
Length: 1 hr and 14 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Clara Barton

Clara Barton

Summary

"I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them." (Clara Barton) The Civil War was the deadliest conflict in American history, and had the two sides realized it would take four years and inflict over a million casualties, it might not have been fought. Since it did, however, Americans have long been fascinated by the Civil War, marveling at the size of the battles, the leadership of the generals, and the courage of the soldiers. For over 150 years, the war has been subjected to endless debate among civilians, historians, and the generals themselves. The Civil War is often considered one of the first modern wars, and while technology affected what happened on the battlefield, technology and new methods also improved the way soldiers were cared for away from the front lines. Civil War medicine is understandably (and rightly) considered primitive by 21st-century standards, but the ways in which injured and sick soldiers were removed behind the lines and nursed were considered state-of-the-art in the 1860s, and nobody was more responsible for that than Clara Barton, the "Florence Nightingale of America". Barton had been an educator and clerk before the Civil War broke out in 1861, but almost immediately, she went to work attempting to nurse injured Union soldiers and ensure army hospitals were properly supplied. By 1862, she was shadowing Union armies near Washington to bring supplies, clean field hospitals, and directly nurse wounded soldiers herself. In short order, she was recognized as the "Angel of the Battlefield". In the wake of the war, she gave speeches about her experiences and even went abroad to serve in a similar capacity during the Franco-Prussian War, and eventually she brought back the tenets of the International Red Cross to found the American Red Cross. Under her leadership, the organization would assist not just during wars, but also during natural disasters and other humanitarian crises, roles that the American Red Cross continues to fulfill today. Clara Barton: The Life and Legacy of the Civil War Nurse Who Founded the American Red Cross chronicles her remarkable life, and the manner in which she changed nursing in America forever. You will learn about Clara Barton like never before.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 31 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Greek Dark Ages

The Greek Dark Ages

2 ratings

Summary

When people think of ancient Greece, images of philosophers such as Plato or Socrates often come to mind, as do great warriors like Pericles and Alexander the Great. But hundreds of years before Athens became a city, a Greek culture flourished and spread its tentacles throughout the Western Mediterranean region via trade and warfare. Scholars have termed this pre-Classical Greek culture the Mycenaean culture, which existed from about 2000 to 1200 BCE, when Greece, along with much of the Eastern Mediterranean, was thrust into a centuries-long Dark Ages. Before the Mycenaean culture collapsed, it was a vital part of the late Bronze Age Mediterranean system and stood on equal footing with some of the great powers of the region, such as the Egyptians and Hittites. Despite being ethnic Greeks and speaking a language that was the direct predecessor of classical Greek, the Mycenaeans had more in common with their neighbors from the island of Crete, who are known today as the Minoans. Due to their cultural affinities with the Minoans and the fact that they conquered Crete yet still carried on many Minoan traditions, the Mycenaeans are viewed by some scholars as the later torchbearers of a greater Aegean civilization, much the way the Romans carried on Hellenic civilization after the Greeks.  Given that the Mycenaeans played such a vital role on the history in the late Bronze Age, it would be natural to assume there are countless studies and accurate chronologies on the subject, but the opposite is true. Although the Mycenaeans were literate, the corpus of written texts from the period is minimal, so modern scholars are left to use a variety of methods in order to reconstruct a proper history of Mycenaean culture, and what came after.  The Greek Dark Ages, sometimes referred to as the Homeric Age or the Geometric Period, spans the era of Greek history from the end of the Mycenaean civilization around 1100 BCE and the emergence of the Greek poleis in the ninth century BCE. It is an era that has provided little in terms of extant archaeological evidence, which in part explains the name “Dark Ages”, but this lack of evidence has led some archaeologists and historians to make the very great assumption that little of any real significance occurred during these 200 years. Instead, they view it as a sort of hiatus between the collapse of the Mycenaean culture and the emergence of Archaic Greece. As with other so-called “Dark Ages”, this assessment is simplified, and an absence of evidence should never be assumed as evidence of absence. While these two centuries were, indeed, a period of transition, they included events and developments that were specific to the time, most notably the development of iron for weaponry, and many of these developments were highly significant in the subsequent evolution of Archaic Greece. After all, it’s crucial to keep in mind that places like Athens and Sparta were inhabited throughout this time, and the impact of the Minoans, Mycenaeans, and others shaped their futures. The Greek Dark Ages: The History and Legacy of the Era Between the Fall of the Mycenaeans and the Rise of the City-States examines the overlooked time period, what life was like during it, and how it facilitated the rise of the famous poleis.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 48 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia

Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia

Summary

The modern history of Africa was until very recently written on behalf of the indigenous races by the white man, who had forcefully entered the continent during a particularly hubristic and dynamic phase of European history. In 1884, Prince Otto von Bismark, the German chancellor, brought the plenipotentiaries of all major powers of Europe together to deal with Africa's colonization in such a manner as to avoid provocation of war. This event - known as the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 - galvanized a phenomenon that came to be known as the Scramble for Africa. The conference established two fundamental rules for European seizure of Africa. The first of these was that no recognition of annexation would be granted without evidence of a practical occupation; and second, that a practical occupation would be deemed unlawful without a formal appeal for protection made on behalf of a territory by its leader, a plea that must be committed to paper in the form of a legal treaty.  This began a rush, spearheaded mainly by European commercial interests in the form of chartered companies, to penetrate the African interior and woo its leadership with guns, trinkets, and alcohol, and having thus obtained their marks or seals upon spurious treaties, begin establishing boundaries of future European African colonies. The ease with which this was achieved was due to the fact that, at that point, traditional African leadership was disunited, and the people had just staggered back from centuries of concussion inflicted by the slave trade. Thus, to usurp authority, to intimidate an already broken society, and to play one leader against the other was a diplomatic task so childishly simple, the matter was wrapped up, for the most part, in less than a decade.  There were some exceptions to this, however, the most notable of which was perhaps the Zulu Nation, a centralized monarchy of enormous military prowess that required a British colonial war, the storied Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, to affect pacification. Another was the amaNdebele, an offshoot of the Zulu, established as early as the 1830s in the southeastern quarter of what would become Rhodesia, and later still Zimbabwe, in the future. Both were powerful, centralized monarchies, fortified by an organized and aggressive professional army, subdivided into regiments, and owing fanatical loyalty to the crown. The Zulu were not dealt with by treaty, and their history is perhaps the subject of another episode of this series, but the amaNdebele were, and early European treaty and concession gatherers were required to tread with great caution as they entered their lands. It would be a long time before the inevitable course of history forced the amaNdebele to submit to European domination. Although treaties and British gunboat diplomacy played a role, it was ultimately war, conquest, and defeat in battle that brought the amaNdebele to heel. 

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Africa
Length: 2 hrs and 20 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Magyars

The Magyars

1 rating

Summary

"Having crossed the Danube, they encamped beside the Danube as far as Budafelhévíz. Hearing this, all the Romans living throughout the land of Pannonia, saved their lives by flight. Next day, Prince Árpád and all his leading men with all the warriors of Hungary entered the city of King Attila and they saw all the royal palaces, some ruined to the foundations, others not, and they admired beyond measure the stone buildings and were happier than can be told that they had deserved to take without fighting the city of King Attila, of whose line Prince Árpád descended. They feasted every day with great joy in the palace of King Attila, sitting alongside one another, and all the melodies and sweet sounds of zithers and pipes along with all the songs of minstrels were presented to them.... Prince Árpád gave great lands and properties to the guests staying with them, and, when they heard this, many guests thronged to him and gladly stayed with him.” (An excerpt from Gesta Hungarorum) Of all the steppe peoples in the medieval period, perhaps none were more important to European history than the Magyars. Like the Huns and Avars before them and the Cumans and Mongols after them, the Magyars burst into Europe as a destructive, unstoppable horde, taking whatever they wanted and leaving a steady stream of misery in their wake. They used much of the same tactics as the other steppe peoples and lived a similar, nomadic lifestyle. The Magyars also had many early cultural affinities with other steppe peoples, following a similar religion and ideas of kingship and nobility, among other things. That said, as similar as the Magyars may have been to other steppe nomads before and after them, they were noticeably different in one way: The Magyars settled down and became a part of Europe and Western civilization in the Middle Ages.  The Magyars exploded onto the European cultural scene in the late ninth century as foreign marauders, but they made alliances with many important kingdoms in less than a century and established their own dynasty in the area, roughly equivalent to the modern nation-state of Hungary. After establishing themselves as a legitimate dynasty among their European peers, the Magyars formed a sort of cultural bridge between the Roman Catholic kingdoms of Western Europe and the Orthodox Christian kingdoms of Eastern Europe. Ultimately, the Magyars chose the Roman Catholic Church, thereby becoming a part of the West and tying their fate to it for the remainder of the Middle Ages.  The Magyars: The History and Legacy of the Medieval Tribes That Established the Kingdom of Hungary examines the Magyars and their culture, from their origins through the Arpad Dynasty to their raids on Europe, the establishment of a royal dynasty, and their integration into Western civilization, marking the transition from the Magyars to Hungarians. You will learn about the Magyars like never before. Please note: The audio references supplemental material that is not included with the purchase of this audiobook.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 1 hr and 14 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Lagash

Lagash

Summary

In southern Iraq, a crushing silence hangs over the dunes. For nearly 5,000 years, the sands of the Iraqi desert have held the remains of the oldest known civilization: the Sumerians. When American archaeologists discovered a collection of cuneiform tablets in Iraq in the late 19th century, they were confronted with a language and a people who were at the time only scarcely known to even the most knowledgeable scholars of ancient Mesopotamia. The exploits and achievements of other Mesopotamian peoples, such as the Assyrians and Babylonians, were already known to a large segment of the population through the Old Testament and the nascent field of Near Eastern studies had unraveled the enigma of the Akkadian language that was widely used throughout the region in ancient times, but the discovery of the Sumerian tablets brought to light the existence of the Sumerian culture, which was the oldest of all the Mesopotamian cultures. For a people so great it is unfortunate that their accomplishments and contributions, not only to Mesopotamian civilization but to civilization in general, largely go unnoticed by the majority of the public. Perhaps the Sumerians were victims of their own success; they gradually entered the historical record, established a fine civilization, and then slowly submerged into the cultural patchwork of their surroundings. They also never suffered a great and sudden collapse like other peoples of the ancient Near East, such as the Hittites, Assyrians and Neo-Babylonians did. A close examination of Sumerian culture and chronology reveals that the Sumerians set the cultural tone in Mesopotamia for several centuries in the realms of politics/governments, arts, literature, and religion. The Sumerians were truly a great people whose legacy continued long after they were gone.

©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Middle East
Length: 1 hr and 23 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The First Italian War

The First Italian War

Summary

In 1494, there were five sovereign regional powers in Italy: Milan, Venice, Florence, the Papal States, and Naples. In 1536, only one remained - Venice. These decades of conflict precipitated great anxiety among Western thinkers. Italians responded to the fragmentation, forevermore, of Latin Christendom, the end of self-governance for Italians, and the beginning of the early modern era in a myriad of ways. They were always heavily influenced by the lived experience of warfare between large Christian armies on the peninsula.  Most historians credit the city-state of Florence as the place that started and developed the Italian Renaissance, a process carried out through the patronage and commission of artists during the late 12th century. If Florence is receiving its due credit, much of it belongs to the Medicis, the family dynasty of Florence that ruled at the height of the Renaissance. The dynasty held such influence that some of its family members were even ordained as pope.   Among all of the Medicis, its most famous member ruled during the Golden Age of Florence, at the apex of the Renaissance’s artistic achievements. Lorenzo de Medici, commonly referred to as Lorenzo the Magnificent, was groomed both intellectually and politically to rule, and he took the reins of power at the age of 20. Lorenzo de Medici may have not been a king, prince, or duke, but he nevertheless held significant influence over all of the noble houses of the region, from Milan and Naples to the King of France. Between 1482 and 1484, Lorenzo’s influence prevented a close alliance between King Louis IX of France and the city of Venice, which was at war with Ferrara. Lorenzo’s personal influence helped reduce Venice’s power in the region. During the Baron’s War of 1485 and 1486, while Florence sided with the pope, Lorenzo favored Ferdinando of Aragon, who had close ties with Naples, giving Lorenzo the chance to attempt to negotiate an improvement in relations between the pope and Naples. While the two had once been allied against Florence, their alliance had ended with the war. Lorenzo proposed a new agreement between the two, largely centered around financial obligations, in 1489. It was accepted in 1492, creating an enduring peace for some time. Perhaps fittingly, once Lorenzo the Magnificent died, the tenuous peace would go with him, touching off the Italian Wars. The First Italian War: The History and Legacy of the Italian Wars’ Initial Conflict at the Height of the Renaissance chronicles the various nations and city-states that jousted for power throughout the peninsula during the late 15th century. The audiobook presents places and events that'll help you learn about the First Italian War like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman
Category: History, Europe
Length: 1 hr and 7 mins
Available on Audible