This book tied together lots of history for me, including how Greece, Rome and Christianity fit together. I didn't realize how much of "Greek" history was Alexandrian and I was shocked by the number of great thinkers that came through this city.
I thought I knew a little bit about Alexandria, but this book showed me how little I actually knew!
The history of this city and the people who made it what it became is well worth your credit! I had no idea how much this city and the (famous) people who lived there shaped the western world for centuries. I was so surprised by the discoveries that we had been taught only arrived in the Enlightenment that actually were "old news" in Alexandria. You'll be surprised by the familiar names of so many inventors, philosophers, rulers, and others who are wrapped up closely in the history of this city. This is not "dry" history; the authors do a good job of keeping us interested - mostly because it really was not a boring or "dry" topic! (...and besides, Simon Vance has never disappointed me.)
Side note: This city was so far ahead of it's time - if only the discoveries of this culture had not been buried for centuries... It leaves you wondering where we might be today....
The story of Alexandria is far larger and richer than I had imagined. This book could have gone on for 22 hours and still not felt too long or too detailed. Well told, complete with the back stories and sidebars, the personalities and history.
It is interesting to hear how even in 177AD was talking about how low brow (intellectually) Christianity was. How it seemed to seek out those least disposed to reasoning, something we see today with the Republican party and the religious "Right".
If we could only learn from history, maybe we wouldn't have to destroy our country like the Romans and Christians destroyed Alexandria.
50yrs old / audible member for 5 yrs library. 75% nonfiction, 15% classics and 10% fiction. History/Science/biography/Eng.18th cent fiction
This is a gratifying read on a fascinating place and time. I had always wondered about the great library in Alexandria and always greatly mourned its demise. The great library's destruction is one of mankind's greatest losses! This read actually covers quite a bit on the time period putting context on this amazing city's rise and fall. An enriching read. Recommended.
I'm extremely torn on this book; probably more so than any of the dozen or so history titles I've listened to on audible so far.
On one hand, it is extremely imformative. Note that this book is really about the academics/scholars/scientists that were from Alexandria, or those who studied/lived there for a time. It's less about the city itself and it's history, although that of course works its way into Reid and Pollard's narrative...especially and the beginning and the end of the book.
There's some great stuff in here....Reid and Pollard argue that Archimedes may have lived in Alexandria; discuss the important Alexandrian Jewish community and its impact on early Christianity; flesh out the geographer Ptolemy; and discuss Celsus, an early critic of Christianity and its origins. Among other topics.
That said, I feel like this book would work better in print form, as the voiceover can drag on and there isn't the kind of narrative that makes a history book work in audio format.
This is just a terrific listen. I'm afraid I'm only echoing the earlier reviews, but that's because I agree with them totally. If all books of history were written like this kids would be lining up to read (or listen to) them. Pollard and Reid make every chapter fascinating. I cussed out loud when my iPod died in the middle of it. I recommend this to anyone who likes history. Plus, Simon Vance reads in his irresistable manner. Five starts all the way down the line. Rick
This is a broad, sweeping history from the foundation of Alexandria, to the invasion of Islam. It gives a good picture of the thinking of the hellenized world. I did not realize how much like them we are.
That the ancient world could have known so much and then have it forgotton, not to be rediscovered for a thousand years, is a sad and uncomforting thought.
The book tells a very interesting history of Alexandria. The range of subjects covered as well as the time period spanned makes it good for someone looking for an introduction into to the Hellenistic world. Unfortunately, the descriptions given of many episodes in the history of science are somewhat reductive. For example, the authors speak of the world's first "university" in Alexandria. There was no such thing. Universities are institution with medieval origins, and saying that there was a university in ancient world is a simplification of what a university is, and what was going on in Alexandria. There are many similar examples where the authors project episodes and events into a modern context and thereby simplify many of the complexities of history. For example, the steam engine as developed in 18th century Europe was a very different machine that what Hero invented, and reducing it to a single element to find the commonality between collapses the intervening innovations into a triviality. The worst example of this, to finish off, is the authors' use of the word "science" in an unproblematic way to describe activities in the ancient world. Using the word gives the impression that these activities separated by 2000 years are somehow the same, when in fact there are many differences between the two. Explaining what these differences are would have served the listeners better than to constantly talk about "science" in the ancient world. "Philosophy" would have been a much better word to use. Finally, there are sometime serious errors of fact. The most glaring is the authors' claim that people thought the earth was flat from after antiquity to the time of Columbus. This is simply not true, and basic fact checking would have caught such massive errors.
This books shows all about Alexandria. Really interesting and good narration. I started it and wanted to know all about in the end. Worthwhile to know more about ancient history
I am a Real Estate broker in Texas who is so occupied by all that I do, I no longer have time to actually read books... so I cover allot more territory in the literary world by listening... especially since I stole my daughter's ipod nano!
I would say it was intriguing, captivating and brief. I only say brief, not because the book was too short, but that it took many subjects of history and made tied them to Alexandria. Each these subjects it touches on are volumes in there own right.
I can not think of one like it exactly, however, Roma flows well and does a good job in emerging the reader into ancient history while giving one plausible explanation to the facts behind the myths.
I believe so. He does quite well and the english accent helps allot and seems to fit within this subject matter.
Each of the declines of the library and museum were very interesting.
I am a 48 year old Texan, who is very well educated in American History, as it was my minor at Texas Christian University. And I have always struggled with world history as a whole and more specifically, ancient world history. I am a year and date fellow, who attaches all events to the spinal column of a time line. That is why world history has always been a weak area for me. It is not taught in Schools the way I need it taught. This book does a good job of laying out a timeline that will be a starting point for me to build that spinal cord backbone and discover more of world history. I strongly recommend this book. I am also a right wing, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin loving conservative and I did not find any left wing socialist marxist attitude from the author, which might be a contaminant of other researchers who try and throw a modern leftist agenda into the mix of history. This book was about what it needs to be... history, plain and simple.