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The History of the Renaissance World: from the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Conquest of Constantinople [Hardcover]

Susan Wise Bauer
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

18 Oct 2013
Beginning in the days just after the First Crusade, this volume - the third in the series - chronicles the contradictions of a world in transition. Popes continue to preach crusade but the hope of a Christian empire comes to a bloody end on the walls of Constantinople. Aristotelian logic and Greek rationality blossom while the Inquisition gathers strength. Kings and emperors continue to insist on their divine rights but ordinary people all over the world seize power. New threats appear, new currencies are forged, new weapons invented and world-changing catastrophes alter the landscape. In the chaos of these events, our own world begins to take shape.

Frequently Bought Together

The History of the Renaissance World: from the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Conquest of Constantinople + The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade + The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome
Price For All Three: £64.19

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 816 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (18 Oct 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393059766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393059762
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 396,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan was born in 1968, grew up in Virginia, and was educated at home by pioneering parents, back when home education was still unheard of. She worked as a professional musician, wore a costume at Colonial Williamsburg, toured with a travelling drama group, galloped racehorses at a Virginia racetrack, taught horseback riding, worked in radio and newspaper ad sales, learned enough Korean to teach a Korean four-year-old Sunday school, and served as librarian and reading tutor for the Rita Welsh Adult Literacy Center in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In her less haphazard adult life, she earned an M.A., M.Div., and Ph.D. She has taught at the College of William & Mary in Virginia for the last sixteen years. Susan is married and the mother of four.

Susan's most recent book for Norton, The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade (2010), is the second in a four-volume series providing a narrative world history. Look for the first volume as well--The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome.

Her previous book, The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had (2003), is a guide to reading the classic works of fiction, poetry, history, autobiography, and drama. Norton also published The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (with co-author Jessie Wise); originally published in 1999, this bestselling guide to education in the classical tradition was revised and updated in 2004 and again in 2009.

Product Description


Another expertly clarified primer by Bauer . A wide-angle, thorough world survey for students, complete with immensely useful timelines and maps. "

About the Author

Susan Wise Bauer is the best-selling author of The Well-Trained Mind (ISBN 978 0 393 06708 8), The History of the Ancient World (ISBN 978 0 393 05974 8) and The History of the Medieval World (ISBN 978 0 393 05975 5), among other titles. She teaches at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. Author website: Twitter: @SusanWiseBauer

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good worldwide history of 1100 to 1500 approx. 5 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A good, easy to read overview of world history from 1100 to 1500 with plenty of maps and diagrams. This is a narrative history with little in the way of analysis of the reasons for what happened but given the scope of the book, it would have to be much longer for that. The author looks at different parts of the world at similar times so a chapter on Edward II might be followed by a chapter on the Sultanate of Dehli. I like the authors style-clear concise and easy to read. There's very little about how ordinary people lived here but then that's not what the book is about and if you want further information there are plenty of notes and plenty of sources cited at the back. Money well spent.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "renaissance" is a bit of a misnomer; an excellent world history nonetheless 29 Jan 2014
By doc peterson - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bauer's book would be more appropriately titled "A History of the Late Middle Ages" - or, to be more Euro-centric, "The High Middle Ages," the book really ending when the Renaissance began (in 1453). For those seeking a book on the Renaissance proper, look elsewhere, but do give this marvelous history your attention as well. There is much to recommend here (the confusion of the time period not withstanding.)

First, this is truly a "world history" - not the typical Euro-centric history with the obligatory nod to civilizations in the Near East and Asia. While much attention is paid to the political goings on in Europe (about 45% of the book), attention and detail is also given to civilizations in Africa (5%), Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia (about 10%), India (10%), China and the Mongols (12%), the Near East and Byzantium (16%) and the Americas (2%). The narrative thread shows the growing interconnectedness between civilizations in terms of economics, culture, religion and politics.

Second, the depth and detail Bauer provides in relating a world history is astonishing. Each chapter is between 6 - 8 pages, but they are packed with information about political interrelationships and the aims, goals and hopes of various groups and families from popes to emperors to pretenders to the throne. This makes for a relatively fast-paced read, but it also gives a solid overview of the forces at play.

Finally, the writing is superb. Bauer's prose is fluid and geared to a general audience which makes the reading easy and entertaining. Her works cited is extensive and comprehensive with a super-abundance of really outstanding works for those interested in more detail on a given topic, time period or event.

In spite of my prickliness regarding the title, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in a well-written history with a genuinely global scope.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the Content; Improve the Kindle Version with Links 30 Sep 2013
By donkey - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've purchased and read Ms. Bauer's other two "History of the World" books, and I debated whether to purchase it in hardback or on the Kindle. I decided to go with the Kindle version because I like having an easily accessible dictionary at a mere touch of a finger. I have a Kindle Paperwhite and a Kindle Fire, HD.

I was disappointed that the e-book isn't (yet) more than a scanned in copy of sorts. The index, for instance, does not have links but lists the pages of the paper book. I'd like to be able to search using the "x-ray" feature of the Kindle. I'd like to be able to search by word as well, typing in "Constantine" and arrive at that location in the book. The Table of Contents is the easiest way to hop around the book by subject.

The timelines & maps are treated by the Kindle as illustrations. (One has to click on it & enlarge in order for the picture to be readable). The timeline text/photo isn't all that readable once enlarged; utterly un-readable in its small state.

The material of the book is wonderful. I'm acquiring a love for history as I age, and the quality of writing & research make each of The History of the World series a delight to read. This book could also be used for a high school curriculum for home school students. I was hoping for more whistles & bells with the electronic version.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read history! 12 Jun 2014
By William E. Liberatore - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was the third Susan Bauer History book I've bought and read and I've enjoyed all three. I find her writing style to be engaging and easy to read through. These books are all in the 600+ page range so they pretty much have to be engaging to finish. She tends to pick people and events and follow them through time in a way that makes it feel less like a chore and more like hearing a good story... which just happens to be a true story! If you buy, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did and thanks for taking the time to read my review.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coffee with Susan 16 Oct 2013
By Gerard A. Proudfoot - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the third volume of Prof. Wise-Bauer's work that I have read and they just keep getting better. Each volume is written in the same format with chapters varying from a few to just enough pages to give the reader the basis for further reading if they so choose. Like the volumes on ancient and medieval history the author guides the reader through the most important events, sources her narrative, hitting the high points before moving on. The style is just as relaxed, almost conversational, the pages - and years - curling back with ease, the content sitting comfortably in the forefront of the mind awaiting digestion.

I sat down on a Sunday morning to begin this read and by early afternoon had already made my way through nearly half the book. This volume is not as large as the previous but the time period is not as broad in scope as before either. As with previous works the Renaissance has something for everyone and will make an attractive addition to one's shelves. Well worth the time invested in having coffee with Susan.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to the era 3 Dec 2013
By Freyja's Books - Published on
I believe that Susan Wise Bauer's history books are the best introductory history books to the time periods that she writes about. They are very basic, and state just the most important facts. This allows the reader to gain a world view of the situation, so to speak, an understanding of the bigger picture. That way, when the reader chooses to dive into the subjects he/she found interesting in these books, the more focused subject can be placed into the proper context. For that, I very much appreciate this series of books.

This book follows up on the History of the Medieval World, and covers the time period 1095 - 1453 CE. Topics that I found personally interesting in this book and will look more into are:
The Catalan Company
Genghis Khan, his family and his people, Timur-Leng (Tamurlane)
The Inquisition
Song and Ming China, Japan under the shogunate
Dante's Divine Comedy
The Italian city-states who engaged in maritime trade (Venice, Genoa)
The Black Death
Pirates (Fang Guozhen)
Sufism (a mystic branch of Islam), the White Lotus
John Wycliffe, Wat Tyler's rebellion, Jan Hus and the Hussites
Henry the Navigator and his expeditions

There are many, many more topics covered in this book, so that's just a taste of what you'll learn about. I felt like the book's title was a bit misleading considering the Renaissance was only described in 3-4 pages in the book, but since the author already used "Medieval World" on the last book, there wasn't much choice for this one. The theme of the book is actually about the Crusades, how the idea of Crusading had changed over the era and the wide variety of wars that were considered Crusades. Maybe The History of the Crusader World would have been a more appropriate title, even though that one forgets the world outside of Europe and the Middle East as well.
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