The content was interesting and informative. one complaint regarding the narrator, toward the end of the book you can hear a definite change in his voice it was as if he had a cold. Beyond that a great book and narrator!
Roberts's sentences can get long, but you hardly even notice because Davidson guide's the listener to the important words merely with the way he speaks. This is a special skill and augments the clarity of the writing significantly.
For an American listener, Davidson's accent is hilarious British but somehow eminently appropriate for the gravity of the subject and the erudition of the scholarship.
The main theme of the book is the "rhythms" of history. His main topic is civilization. His main lens for understanding civilization is the interplay between (political/economic/religious) power and culture, but occasionally throws in insightful tangents on topics such as scientific, artistic, or women's history. Roberts mentions important figures (and dwells on a few of his favorites) but many you would expect (e.g., Da Vinci, Madison) don't show up at all. He starts at the *beginning*, approximately 3 million years ago, and gives a very good impression of just how long man went before the first civilization, and how long civilization had been around before modern times. He holds out surprisingly long before passing judgement on anything at all (with some minor exceptions such as Aztec mass killings), making his tone reassuringly objective, which he breaks only for a moving passage on World War II.
An excellent overview, but had some drawbacks. In ancient and pre modern times, Mediterranean-centric, missing detail I would have liked on India, China, Africa, and Europe. In the modern era, often quite Eurocentric. This all balances out once the story gets to European imperialism, though I would have liked more on South America.
This was a fine introduction to World history. It was, by necessity, very long. Also, as someone with a strong background in history already, I felt that I learned little that I did not already know from high school and college history courses. If you are looking for a detailed history or a highly engaging overview (if there is such a thing for World history!), you should probably look elsewhere, otherwise it is a good book to listen to.
Just inform on history, probably would have decreased length by 50%.
Too much author opinion
This is the kind of styles I like: good pace, cerebral, well-documented, meaty, mind-bending.
Let me tell you what you should expect in this book: while the book states this will be a history of the world, what is actually in the book is nothing of the like. What the book does is to spend most of the time ruminating facts about religious movements without any attempt to fit this into a social analysis, providing insights about why certain features of religion come to be and how this fit into the broader history.
Really, should the history be about complete parts of the Bible? The obvious intent of the book is to hide some religious message in the guise of a history book which I find almost dishonest. I do not have any preconceptions about fitting the history of mankind within the scope of religion, but I think that, if this is the thesis, it needs to be worked out as a documented thesis scientific manner rather than assumed as a way to ignore everything else.
I read a few reviews about the book, and some complained about the still strong focus on western history. I don't find anything of the like to complain about in the book; this is not the problem: the problem is that this is not a history book at all.
I tried to listen to this book in normal speed and repeatedly gave up. Fortunately Audible's app provides the option to listen at different speeds. 2x works well for the narrator's cadence.
A different narrator. Period. The story, layout and overall structure is good. The narrator is boring. I could not finish listing.
The narrator's pronunciation of English words.
That the rest of Europe felt bad for England when they executed King Charles but then later tried to oblitherate their Kings' entire families.
The English language.
The Monroe Doctrine made me laugh.