Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages Audiobook, by Frances Gies Play Audiobook Sample

Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages Audiobook

Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages Audiobook, by Frances Gies Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Anne Flosnik Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 0 hours and 00 min. at 1.5x Speed 0 hours and 00 min. at 2.0x Speed Release Date: August 2022 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9798212021883

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

38:11 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

01:21 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

12:01 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Frances Gies: > View All...

Publisher Description

In this account of Europe’s rise to world leadership in technology, Frances and Joseph Gies make use of recent scholarship to destroy two time-honored myths.

Myth One: that Europe’s leap forward occurred suddenly in the “Renaissance,” following centuries of medieval stagnation. Not so, say the Gieses: Early modern technology and experimental science were direct outgrowths of the decisive innovations of medieval Europe, in the tools and techniques of agriculture, craft industry, metallurgy, building construction, navigation, and war.

Myth Two: that Europe achieved its primacy through “Western” superiority. On the contrary, the authors report, many of Europe’s most important inventions—the horse harness, the stirrup, the magnetic compass, cotton and silk cultivation and manufacture, papermaking, firearms, “Arabic” numerals—had their origins outside Europe, in China, India, and Islam. The Gieses show how Europe synthesized its own innovations—the three-field system, water power in industry, the full-rigged ship, the putting-out system—into a powerful new combination of technology, economics, and politics.

From the expansion of medieval man’s capabilities, the voyage of Columbus with all its fateful consequences is seen as an inevitable product, while even the genius of Leonardo da Vinci emerges from the context of earlier and lesser-known dreamers and tinkerers.

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“The flame of human ingenuity burned with surprising intensity during the medieval centuries…The Gieses here explode the myth of the Dark Ages, showing that the Fall of Rome did not plunge Europe into stagnation and lethargy.”

— Booklist 


  • “[A] lively history of medieval technology.”

    —, editorial review
  • “The authors…demonstrate not only their remarkable well-informed and articulate mastery of technical detail but also their command of the historiographical issues that continue to enliven this field of study.”

    — Historian magazine
  • “The Gieses work century by century through the Middle Ages (from 500 to 1500), listing new tools and methods, each page full of attractive detail and anecdote…A mine of information.”

    — Kirkus Reviews
  • “Informative, readable, enjoyable, and well written, this work is directed to general readers. Highly recommended for all collections.”

    — Library Journal


  • A Book-of-the-Month Club Selection

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About the Authors

Frances Gies (1915–2013) and Joseph Gies (1916–2006) were the world’s bestselling historians of medieval Europe. Together and separately, they wrote more than twenty books, which collectively have sold more than a million copies.

About Anne Flosnik

Anne Flosnik, a seasoned audiobook narrator, has over four hundred titles to her credit and several awards and distinctions, including AudioFile Earphones Awards, a USA Today Recommended Listening selection, an AudioFile “Best Narration of the Year” selection in 2009, and the American Library Association’s Special Services to Children Award. She has also been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. She is an award-winning British actress with lead credits on stage, on television, and in commercials and voice-overs.