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A Needle in the Right Hand of God [Audio]

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R. Howard Bloch is the Sterling Professor of French and director of the Division of the Humanities at Yale University and the author of God's Plagiarist: Being an Account of the Fabulous Industry and Irregular Commerce of the Abbe Jacques-Paul Migne. Actor Stephen Hoye is a graduate of London's Guildhall and a veteran of London's West End. An award-winning audiobook narrator, he has won thirteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and two prestigious APA Audie Awards.


The Battle of Hastings in 1066 was "one of the determining days in the making of the West," says Bloch, and there is no more compelling witness to that watershed than the Bayeux Tapestry. In a fast-paced tale involving medieval armies and embroiderers, Bloch, director of Yale's division of humanities, traces not only the history of the tapestry but also the social and political history recorded in its 230 feet. Bloch considers the mystery of who embroidered the tapestry (many attribute the work to Queen Mathilda, William's wife, and her embroiderers) and whether it was meant to be hung in a cathedral or a castle, and examines the textile as a work of art with elements of not only animal fables but the "bawdy tales" popular in the medieval marketplace. The tapestry, Bloch relates, has survived use by the military during the French Revolution to wrap equipment wagons, and Hitler's attempt to decode the possible secrets it might possess about the Nordic people. The tapestry, now in a museum in Bayeux, brings history to life, and Bloch's splendid account does the same for the tapestry itself. Color insert; b&w illus. throughout. (Dec. 5) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-Block, Sterling Professor of French at Yale, examines the world's most famous textile in lavish detail. With contagious enthusiasm, he presents the Bayeux Tapestry as a chronicle of a momentous historical event, as a work of art of stunning originality, as an artifact revealing much about the mindset and daily lives of the people who created it, and as a physical object scrupulously examined with the aid of 20th-century scientific techniques. Needle is a book of many stories, all revolving around one 230-foot-long piece of cloth, an embroidered panorama depicting the events immediately before, during, and after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Some of them are little known: readers learn of the role played by the tapestry in resurrecting the long-lost French epic "The Song of Roland"; of how it was nearly lost forever during the French Revolution; and of Hitler's chillingly extensive examination of the tapestry in search of evidence to support the notion of a master race. A color reproduction of the entire tapestry over 10 pages, numbered in 173 panels, is included. This is a welcome reading aid as Block refers to specific details throughout. Additional illustrations also add to the telling of this intriguing tale of history, art, and culture.-Robert Saunderson, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

The world's most famous textile, the Bayeux Tapestry, a 230-foot-long piece depicting the invasion and conquest of England in 1066 by William, Duke of Normandy, is surrounded by mystery. It is uncertain who made it, where it was made, and why or even when it was made. Bloch (French, Yale Univ.; The Anonymous Marie de France) traces the story behind the tapestry (while explaining that it is in fact an embroidery), as well as some subsequent history from the French Revolution, when it was used to cover an ammunitions wagon; to the 19th century, when French nationalists found it a rallying point; to World War II, when Hitler, claiming it as Aryan, studied it for insights into a possible invasion of Britain. Thus, Bloch conveys the tapestry's history as a history of nationalism in Europe. Each culture and time period saw something personal in the tapestry, something that could inspire pride. Bloch shows that in effect the tapestry is a visual image of the transformation of medieval England into a European state. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. Robert Harbison, Western Kentucky Univ. Lib., Bowling Green Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Narrator Stephen Hoye brings his remarkable multilingual skills to service... So well performed that it's worth hearing more than once." ---AudioFile

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