As in his previous work, this is also a book of extraordinary ambition, clarity, and style that follows the central notion that human history is the story of change, a deliberate shaping of experience and environment. Among the elements that have made the book uniquely appealing are its powerful vision and voice.
Roberts's book is exceptional in its genuinely global and comprehensive nature, showing the development of different civilizations through the ages, from our origins on the African savannah to A.D. 2002. Like no other book, it succeeds in conveying the staggering diversity of the human experience across a vast range of circumstances and habitats.
If there is one book anyone truly interested in history should hear, this is it.
©2002 J.M. Roberts; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Davidson's reading of this behemoth is actually a nice match of text and reader. His voice is clear and easily understood." (AudioFile)
As far as I could tell, the book is an excellent work. While my American ear finds most British accents quite pleasing, Davidson's accent is so thick that I found it distracting and ended up missing quite a bit. In the end, I couldn't finish the listen. One of these days I will pick up the book at the library and am certain it will be a good read.
I spread this audiobook out over many months listening to it in small pieces. It was much better than any comparable history textbooks you will find and if you want a great overview of the major historical characters and events this is a great source. I'd like to get a hardcopy just for reference and to see what charts, lists and maps I missed out on.
This is a valuable, albeit basically Eurocentric, history, that goes into sufficient detail to allow you feel familar with each epoch. So far, it has avoided any overtly political agendas and over speculation.
Had I know the reader was David Case, however, I would never have purchased it. For this book he uses a pseudonym, but his flaws remain.He is such a lazy, apparently undirected or produced - certainly uncorrected - reader that I swore never to listen to him again. Some may mistake his accent for a sign of literacy, but to call his pronunciations "non-standard" is generous, whether one looks for them in British or American usage. Further, he seems often unable to distinguish between a comma and a full stop, leaving a closely listening reader to repeat the sentence in the mind, adjusting the dependancy of clauses simply to make sense of what one has just heard.
While I recommend what Roberts has to say, I find myself irritatingly distracted by who is saying it. Buy the book, but be prepared to work far harder at listening than a competent reader would permit.
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.
Even at the "best" file format the audio quality is mediocre. The narrator's voice is affected and annoying. The text is airy, too general and glib. But, this is the only (entire) world history I've been able to find on audio and that counts for a lot. This audiobook is probably worth the price and the listening time.
J.M. Roberts is a fantastic author and I look forward to reading everything else he has written.This is probably the best introduction you world history I have read. But contrary to Audible's description, this recording is not updated. The latest edition of Roberts' book was published in 2007, but the first 52 hours of this recording are entirely from the 1987 edition. It includes obsolete terms like USSR, and discussions of the implications of a world population of 5 billion, soon to be 6 billion. The postwar era, one of the most important in history, is analyzed without any knowledge of how it ended. Though the recording covers the end of the Cold War and September 11 by tacking the end of the 2003 edition onto the 1987 edition, this is done so poorly that you have to listen to Roberts' conclusion twice; it is repeated at the end of both the1987 edition and the 2003 edition almost word for word.
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!
poet and teacher
The standard for world history. while it is impossible to please everyone this comes closest.
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