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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Byzantium The Apogee, 3 Sep 2002
By 
Charles Peter William Stonehouse (Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Byzantium: v. 2: The Apogee.: The Apogee v. 2 (Paperback)
I found "Byzantium The Apogee" to be a wonderful book, breathing life into a fascinating yet neglected area of history. I thought that J J Norwich's witty and perceptive commentary lifted a veil on the passions, ambitions and the (sometimes bizzare) obsessions of the procession of emperors - along with their numerous consorts, mistresses, eunuchs, officials, generals, rivals and enemies. The result is an epic story - sometimes high drama, sometimes tragedy and at other times breathtaking farce.
Please take my advice and read the three separate volumes: although there is a single volume edition, it is abridged - you really don't want to miss anything from this fascinating saga.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continuing the remarkable saga..., 20 Mar 2006
By 
madradubh (The Universe) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Byzantium: v. 2: The Apogee.: The Apogee v. 2 (Paperback)
Whilst this book is not an academic text it is a blistering account of the middle years of the Eastern Roman Empire. I like the fact that Norwich does not examine everyday life in Byzantium - we have plenty of texts which do that. No, this book's sole purpose is to introuduce the reader to a remarkable forgotten empire. His narrative pace is wonderful and he nevers leaves you behind on his whirlwind tour of Byzantine history. A great history book - you'll not be dissapointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 18 Nov 2010
By 
The Emperor (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Byzantium: v. 2: The Apogee.: The Apogee v. 2 (Paperback)
Just as good as Volume 1.

A fantastic book. JJ Norwich is a great writer. The endless parade of rulers and religious disputes in Byzantium's history can get a bit tiring but he does very well in keeping it interesting. His personal views are always well measured and considered and he clearly indicates where there are areas of controversy.
This is a general history and I think that in a few areas there have been some new discoveries but this book is still considered to be accurate.
A very pleasurable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BYZANTIUM: THE APOGEE - JOHN JULIUS NORWICH, 30 Jan 2008
By 
Hillpaul (West Sussex, GB) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Byzantium: v. 2: The Apogee.: The Apogee v. 2 (Paperback)
The Dark Ages prove not as dark. Illuminated by a wealth of detail and insight, the second part of Norwich's trilogy proves as captivating as the first. Where Western Europe struggled for centuries to overcome the effects of the barbarian invasions, Byzantium struggled for centuries to avoid sinking as low. Beset on all sides it survived and acted as a beacon as well as a prize for all those around it and pace Pirenne, acted as the third leg if not the main prop of the post Roman oikumene that surrounded the Mediterranean by 800 A.D.
The desperate external and vicious internal struggles are crackingly well told with plenty of maps appendices and bibliographies to help what could be a struggle for the reader unfamiliar with such an exotic and almost alien period of history.
You can almost taste the wine and smell the incense
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 6 Dec 2011
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This review is from: Byzantium: v. 2: The Apogee.: The Apogee v. 2 (Paperback)
If you read and enjoyed the first book in this trilogy (Byzantium - The Early Centuries) then you will most definitely enjoy this one too. It continues to tell the colourful tale of the many emperors, their vices and virtues, successes and failures, and the endless invasions by the Bulgarians.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 27 Feb 2002
This review is from: Byzantium: v. 2: The Apogee.: The Apogee v. 2 (Paperback)
the apogee of the 1123 years of byzantium is masterly written by perhaps one of the best writers in this field, JJ Norwich. Like in all history books the important is to explain the political backround for each and every occasion. Norwich does this beatifully without the bordem of spoon feeding, and with fluidity that makes reading pleasent for the normal reader.
The only negative point one can highlight is that it explain very little on the behaviour and culture at the time. I rated the book 4 has it is a very good book for the amature historian but difficult to be used for advanced rescearch
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece of popular history, 24 Jun 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Byzantium: v. 2: The Apogee.: The Apogee v. 2 (Paperback)
This is an entertaining, informative, well-written, funny and captivating account of the Byzantine empire from Constantine up to the accession of Alexius Comnenus.
It is not as detailed as Professor Bury's or Ostrogorskji's, but much more lively, and if you need a spark for your interest in the history of medieval eastern mediterranean this is the book for you. Characters are described with the finest touch, and the accounts of plots and battles are memorable.
I could not put it down.
What are the lows, then? First, the maps included are simply useless: many of the places quoted in the narration are not on them and sometimes it is difficult to understand how some battles really went; second, little attention is paid to the countries outside the capital: Greece is completely neglected, for example, as it is Anatolia: but after all, the book is titled Byzantium and thus it is centered on the town itself; finally, little account is given of the ideas and the philosophies which were popular at the time, and of the arts in general. However, these are information which you can easily find in a standard book on medieval history: where you will never find, on the other hand, the sheer pleasure of reading pages such as those written by Norwich.
Buy it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I like it, 14 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Byzantium: v. 2: The Apogee.: The Apogee v. 2 (Paperback)
Illuminated by a wealth of detail and insight, the second part of Norwich's trilogy proves as captivating as the first. Where Western Europe struggled for centuries to overcome the effects of the barbarian invasions, Byzantium struggled for centuries to avoid sinking as low.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 12 Jun 2010
This review is from: Byzantium: v. 2: The Apogee.: The Apogee v. 2 (Paperback)
Another win by John Julius Norwich. A must have along with the other books for anyone interested Constantinople and Byzantine history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Tour of a Lost Empire, 20 Feb 2004
By 
D. Evans - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Byzantium: v. 2: The Apogee.: The Apogee v. 2 (Paperback)
The Apogee is the second installment in John Norwich's excellent Byzantine Trilogy. The story picks following the crowning of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor of the West. From here we are taken on a tour of the golden age of Byzantine history, but one that is nonethless, stained with blood. From the Iconoclasm and the destruction of the holy images, to the bloodthirsty campaigns of Basil the Bulgar Slayer to the massacre of Byzantine troops by the Seljuk Turks at Manzikert and everything in between, Norwich explains it all in an erudite manner.

Rarely do you come across history books that are such page turners. Norwich should be congratulated for such a brilliant and lively read.
I highly recommend this book, as well as the other two volumes in the series.
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Byzantium: v. 2: The Apogee.: The Apogee v. 2
Byzantium: v. 2: The Apogee.: The Apogee v. 2 by John Julius Norwich (Paperback - 30 Sep 1993)
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