You should start from the beginning. It's worth it and then some. Every one of these books is a true masterpiece. The synthesis of material in this particular volume is breathtaking. Durant truly grasps every subject about which he writes. The breadth and depth of every book so far has amazed me.
I can find no one who compares with Durant's work in the History of Civilization. It will shift your perspective and open your world view. It might even make you a little more compassionate toward the human race.
These books have ruined me for any other author!!
Please Audible- give us the rest!!! I've listened to the first 3 over and over, waiting for each one! This book was such an exciting surprise when I saw it was available.
Please give us the rest!!
And thank you for making this volume available.
Thankfully I have read enough Civil War history to recognize the absurdly myopic and misleading nature of this story. This is a superficial, skewed version of history, with cherry-picked facts thrown in to show that Grant carelessly whittled on a piece of wood, while he caused the unnecessary death of tens of thousands of his soldiers.
If one didn't know the South lost the war, it would be quite a shock to listen to the 5 minutes of the epilogue and learn that the North won! As a southerner, I respect Lee as much as anyone, but I also respect the complex difficulties and triumphs of US Grant. I suppose this book might be appreciated by those with rebel flag bumper stickers that say "the South will rise again". Regardless of sentiment, this history is incredibly misleading and superficial!
I implore anyone reading this review to skip this book, and instead download Audible version of Bruce Catton's "Stillness At Appomattox"!!
It is an exceptional work that covers this same topic, but with the realities and complexities that actually took place in the last year of the Civil War. There's blame and praise to go around, but is there any true glory in the Civil War? Not when Americans fight Americans, brothers against brothers, etc. Catton's other civil war books are incredible as well. He shows the best and worst of both sides! The abolition of slavery is the one overriding glory of the war. The rest of it is sad and painful. War is bloody and tragic. And Grant was not the "butcher" this book made him out to be. Lee was a superior general, and to win the war, the Union did lose an unacceptable number of troops. But the lives of men on both sides were the sacrifice that the forefathers set into motion when they ignored the fact that the idea "all men are created equal" was not compatible with the institution on slavery. However, in the eyes of the actual soldiers and generals of the north, Union troops sacrificed their lives to keep America united! I'm grateful for that sacrifice!
This book ignores the real history, and just blames Grant for Union slaughter. Then it wraps up by telling us that he, in fact, won the war. The whole thing is a mess. Bizarre and illogical. Simple and skewed. This is not a work of history worthy of any praise!
I have been very interested in the Geneva LHC project. I watched a recent documentary by Jason Greenburg (I think that's his name. He's a big "super symmetry" advocator.) Unfortunately, the documentary was not focused and left me without a clue! So I've been searching books to better understand the goal and outcomes of what is possibly the biggest experiment human beings have ever conducted. I'm not from a science background, but I try to stay familiar with current science news and ideas.
In Smashing Physics, Jon Butterworth provides an excellent overview of the issues and science behind the LHC, and the search for the Higg's Boson. This guy is uncommonly talented at making complex ideas accessible to an interested lay audience!!
I was engaged and entertained throughout the book by the author and the narrator.
This is the best of the new books explaining the work done in Geneva. (At least the ones available on audio.)
Highly recommended! Narrator does an amazing job of bringing the work to life, and yet sounds like he is a serious physics guy. The accent maybe?
I will definitely look for more books by the author in the future!
Oh what a great lecture series! It was more than I expected. I was left wishing these lectures were longer and wishing for more info on many of the great minds. That's why this is such a great course: I am now more interested in further study about many of these great minds! For a survey of intellectuals of medieval world, this is an excellent listen. I've listened to Prof Armstrong before, and can say that she has her sea legs now! She has more confidence than before and is a very exciting presenter in these lectures. She does a great job with very complex ideas and the time constraints! She presents each person on the list in such a way that even those individuals with whom I was very familiar seem new and so very interesting!!
I highly recommend this lecture series!
Hope for more lectures from this prof.
I have am listening to Susan Wise Bauer's histories for the second time right now. I'm currently entranced with her Ancient World history. I forgot how interesting her writing is! She tells a story with each piece of history. It's like a good fiction book, and that is so rare in history.
I felt the need to write a review to address the one-star reviews. It is an outrageously unfair rating. I don't believe the one-star review is an accurate reflection on the author or the narrator; instead, I think it's a reflection of the listener's interest in the actual subject. I have listened to a few histories of the medieval world. It is a VERY complex time period! Will Durant's Age of Religion (which covers this time period) was so vast and overwhelming that I had to listen to it a few times, and I still don't have a full grasp of the material. That is the nature of this time period. It's not all knights, crusades and chivalry. It's a messy and complicated world. If you aren't interested in making that commitment, then this book, as well as any history book of this period written for adults, will be overwhelming!!
I want to stress that this author does an excellent job making this very difficult and complicated material interesting and accessible. Plus the performance by John Lee is just amazing. He adds the polish to this great work!
Finally I suggest that listeners start with Bauer's first book, history of the ancient world, also performed by John Lee. It is really special!
I have listened to this audiobook 2x recently. It is so interesting!!! I wish there were more books about archeological discoveries. I initially worried from Prof Hale's description in the first lecture that it would be too technical, but it turned out to be exactly what I hoped and much more!!! Prof Hale is an exceptional lecturer! He goes through the great archeological digs relating to Roman and Greek culture, including a bit about Alexander the Great and the Macedonians. Hale doesn't go through the extremely technical part of archeology, instead he focuses on the exciting finds of history; for example, the excavation of Herculaneum and Pompeii is beyond fascinating!!
I know I'm not doing this series justice, but I hope my enthusiasm will convince readers that it's worth their time and credits!! I have bought all of Prof Hale's Great Courses that involve history. He also does a lecture series that involves early ancient religions and the archeological digs that give us information when there is no writing to help us understand. It is very interesting too.
This series along with prof Bob Brier's Ancient Egypt are two of my favorite Great Courses. Prof Brier discusses the archeological discoveries in Egypt. So if you like this audiobook, I highly recommend that series as well.
I hope to see more books and lectures about archeological discoveries. It's such a fascinating part of uncovering history!
Well I've listened to Prof McWhorter before, but never like this!!! These are his FINEST MOMENTS!!! He is so much fun in these lectures that it's like a different man from the last series I listened with him. (I still liked him then, he was just very serious. It was a serious topic.)
I'm not sure when this lecture series falls in his many Great Courses lectures on language, but it reminds me of the last week of school-- like this must be a later lecture for him bc he is so confident and funny. It's so much fun, and EVERYTHING is interesting!!!!
The best of the best!!
Content- it's about the English language and how it was formed but not too technical and very different from any English language book or course to which I've listened. It's the nuances I've never thought about. And it's very interesting. It's more than worth a listen for anyone remotely interested in words, English, or language in general. And if you like the prof, you will LOVE this. If you've listened to him and not liked him--- PLEASE GET THIS, you will find a whole new level to McWhorter and you'll love it!
I have enjoyed most of the Great Courses I've bought. This lecture is one of the best, with a great depth of information and excellent analysis and synthesis of ancient societies of Greece and Rome. It has been my experience to read and study Greek and Roman civilizations quite separately, making it seem that they are many centuries apart. But in truth, the "classic" age of Greece takes place during the early life of Rome. The Hellenistic period is during Rome's rise to power. Professor Garland provides excellent synthesis of the material in the proper context, demonstrating the interplay of the two cultures. He explores both cultures and governments, with an emphasis on the differences, similarities, and strengths of each society, and how each influenced the other. I have recently finished listening to a half dozen books about ancient civilizations, including the histories of Rome and Greece. This lecture is an excellent find for me- bringing it all together for a better understanding. The approach taken by Professor Garland reshapes the study of these two great societies, giving the listener a new perspective and a fuller and more complex world view.
But the biggest reason I recommend this lecture series is that it's just a really interesting and fun listen!! The teacher is excellent the material is fascinating, and it's just a truly enjoyable experience! Each lecture is engaging and compelling. I kept thinking- ok just one more lecture before bed... That kept happening well into the night, so that I was up early into the next morning, fighting sleep just to hear a little bit more.
This audiobook/lecture is a complete success, and I'm forever grateful that the Great Courses series is available through Audible!! If you are interested in the time period or in the history of either Rome or Greece, you will enjoy this audiobook!! It is one of the best, and the professor is a joy. Don't pass it up! If you are interested enough to read this review, then you should get this audiobook now!! :)
I am so blown away that someone could make this age-old story fresh and new!! Caroline Alexander has written an extraordinary book, with an in-depth look at the actual events of Homer's Iliad. Not the historicity of the events, though it is discussed, but she focuses on the importance and meaning of the language, characters and events in this epic story. I've studied it in high school, college, and have read innumerable books that look at every aspect of the Iliad. However, this author makes it all seem brand new! Setting each scene in the context of the contemporary meaning, Alexander's interpretation opens a whole new enchanting world to readers, reviving this tired tale to its intended glory! Anyone with a passing interest of ancient history will enjoy this audiobook.
I must admit when I think of the Iliad, I roll my eyes. I'm bored by the thought of Homer. I believed, until now, that I had heard all there was to say about the Trojan War and Achilles. But I was Completely Wrong! I will not roll my eyes again to anything written by this author! She is quite brilliant and fascinating! I think she could make the phone book seem interesting. :)
Michael Page is the PERFECT narrator. Making it a must buy!! I'm thrilled that decided to listen to this! A great surprise find!
This early book isn't the best introduction to Durant's body of work, nor is it indicative of his later grace, style and delectable brilliance. I'm not saying it is poorly written, but he makes references to people and modes of thought that he doesn't discuss, many I am not familiar with, or that I need a refresher to remember.
This was Durant's first published success. The money he made through this book allowed him the opportunity to travel to each location he writes about in his Magnus Opus "History of Civilization." (Volumes 1-4 are currently available on a Audible. They will blow your mind)
I'm not in a position to give a critical review of this work, because I am not nearly as well-versed in philosophy. However, I know a little, and I was confused about his choices. For ex. Will chooses a few obvious philosophers, Plato, Aristotle, then next up: Francis Bacon??? Wait where are the Stoics? Epicureans? These seem important. Moreover, after listening to his short expo on Bacon, I have no idea why he is important. (I'm not saying he isn't imp, just that this treatment of him is too short to be worthwhile)
Now, are you still reading my review? I feel guilty for saying anything about Durant that is less than entirely positive. My feelings about his History of Civilization can't be put into words. So much of his personality comes out in his HoC series, that it's hard not to adore him. But....
But if you want a real refresher on western philosophy- check out History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russel. It's an exceptional audiobook. Russell was a bit older, but was still a contemporary of Durant, and is cited in his books. This generation of authors is spectacular!
--- This audio had excellent narration. And if you are a philosophy buff, you might completely adore this.
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