We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
History of the World, Updated Audiobook

History of the World, Updated

Regular Price:$48.97
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

In the History of the World, Updated, J. M. Roberts has revised his monumental previous work, History of the World, taking into account the great range of discoveries that have altered our views on everything from early civilizations to post-Cold War globalism. Large portions of text have been rewritten, addressing events as recent as the relationship between the Arab and Western worlds in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

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

What the Critics Say

"Davidson's reading of this behemoth is actually a nice match of text and reader. His voice is clear and easily understood." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (472 )
5 star
 (136)
4 star
 (154)
3 star
 (103)
2 star
 (47)
1 star
 (32)
Overall
3.9 (208 )
5 star
 (74)
4 star
 (72)
3 star
 (35)
2 star
 (20)
1 star
 (7)
Story
3.7 (208 )
5 star
 (66)
4 star
 (62)
3 star
 (44)
2 star
 (20)
1 star
 (16)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Phat Kat Midland, Michigan United States 01-28-16
    Phat Kat Midland, Michigan United States 01-28-16 Member Since 2016

    poet and teacher

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "indispensable "

    The standard for world history. while it is impossible to please everyone this comes closest.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sally Orcas, WA, USA 12-03-09
    Sally Orcas, WA, USA 12-03-09 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent Book but Impossible Narration"

    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.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Sahuarita, AZ, United States 12-29-11
    Bill Sahuarita, AZ, United States 12-29-11 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Takes a lot of time to finish but well worth it"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marguerite Outremont, Quebec, Canada 03-24-08
    Marguerite Outremont, Quebec, Canada 03-24-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A good reference listen...."

    Very factual and easy to listen to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kcams 06-09-08
    kcams 06-09-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Useful information marred by narration"

    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.

    14 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra Jackson, MI, USA 09-01-09
    Debra Jackson, MI, USA 09-01-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Nice, if your British"

    This is a good history of the world. My only complaint is that Davidson's accent is so thick that I missed too much of the text to be able to follow the flow of the book. I had to listen to it several times to understand what he is saying. I hesitate to give it a three rating because so much is lost in the narration. With another narrator, I would give the book a five rating. Maybe it is just me.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael San Rafael, CA, USA 08-10-05
    Michael San Rafael, CA, USA 08-10-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Probably Worthwhile"

    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.

    12 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Newton 01-26-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I wish I could get through it..."
    What did you like best about History of the World, Updated? What did you like least?

    I love history and am willing to invest dozens of hours listening to good history audiobooks. It hurts my heart that I couldn't get through this one. The narrator's accent is really hard for me to listen to, so I wasn't able to engage at all with the content. I tried listening at different speeds, too, but it still didn't work for me. It frustrated me, because I LOVE history and I looked forward to listening to this audiobook. I have hard copy books by JM Roberts, so I knew what to expect content-wise. As an Audible subscriber for more than 10 years, this book was one of my biggest disappointments. I didn't return it because I thought I could give it another listen at some point in the future and perhaps I'd like it if I gave it another chance, but no dice so far.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Palantir 11-27-16
    Palantir 11-27-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Impressive albeit flawed world history"

    World history, as a narrative subject, is still in its relative infancy, with attempts at it few and far between. J. M. Roberts 1976 tome was one of the first broadly published, and it was not until the wildly successful 'Guns, Germs and Steel' decades later that world history became accepted as a genuine literary pursuit (critics always claimed it was impossible to adequately capture world history in a single volume). As such, Roberts' work, although updated many times until 2002 in this recording, is very much a product of its time - a staunch defence of the validity of world history as well as a deliberately provocative narrative replete with snipes that fluctuate between sarcastic humour and outright offense towards just about everyone. Frederick Davidson's reading perfectly matches this tone - it's very entertaining and enjoyable to listen to, but the occasionally troubled pronunciations of now well-known foreign names ('Chernobyl', for example) is telling. This is definitely a world history for a bygone generation.

    Roberts greatest flaw (in my opinion) is an attempt to ascribe the enlightenment (i.e., reliance on reason and evidence over intuition and superstition) to European culture and from there spreading as a 'Europeanization' of the world. As a modern reader (and a European to boot), this seems as absurd as attempts in ages past to ascribe the coming of agriculture to a particular civilisation until it was realised that it emerged independently in several places by different cultures. Why the adoption of Arabic mathematics and science wasn't similarly called an 'Arabization' of the world, or the adoption of Mongolian cavalry warfare and Chinese gunpowder wasn't called a 'Sinization' of the world I think illustrates the problem with such phrases which attempt to claim cultural credit.

    Fortunately, such cultural attributions are in decline, just as racial attributions were once in vogue as a misuse of Darwinian reasoning and since discredited. I cannot, therefore, recommend this work for new readers of world history. As others have noted, it is too skewed towards prosecuting the case for a European hegemony, labouring far too heavily on this thesis at the expense of far more interesting topics within distinctive cultures. For readers interested in the 'history of world history', though, this is an excellent bookmark in the evolution of the topic - highly illuminating of the mindset and perspective of that time and in that place (Europe). As the author points out, he can only write as a white Anglo-Saxon male (which I am too!). The difference between us, though, is about 60 years in age, and as such, a more recent (and ironically 'enlightened') account of world history would probably suit younger readers ... if only there were some more to choose from!

    There are excellent sections within this work, and it is best to approach it by specific chapters of interest (most of which never exceed 90 minutes). In this way, as a series of topics, it is very manageable and the useful knowledge is clearly revealed in between the opening and closing remarks which tend to stray into the provocative style already noted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Shenk 08-23-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent book, but very out of date"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.