©2004 John Little, Monica Ariel Mihell, and William James Durant Easton; (P)2004 Durant archival recordings 1957-1977 used with permission of John Little, Monica Ariel Mihell, and William James Durant Easton
I was disappointed in this book. While the Durants gave a broad overview of what they thought were the lessons of history, I found most of their insights fairly superficial. There was a horrible whinning music between each chapter which I found extremely irritating. It was also hard to understand Will Durant when he spoke and it was even more difficult to understand Ariel Durant, especially when she was interrupting her husband.
The chapters themselves were fairly good and gave some good, broad historical perspectives, which made the book somewhat wothwhile,
The point of view of the author. Quite brilliant and reasonable.
It gives one perspective on what reason is and what experience has taught us.
There were no characters. Just question and answer.
The raspy voice of the author was unpleasant.
I expected much more from this book that I got. I read their Story of Philosphy many years ago and I am till in awe of those books. It is useful to look at Lessons of History in its historical context. It was published in 1968. The country was divided about the war in Vietnam. We had a hot war with communists in Asia and a cold war with communists in Europe. The youth culture was ascending. College students were protesting. Organized religions were under attack and were not considered relevant. The civil rights movement was in full swing and had scored victories. Popular culture we eclipsing high culture. I think this book is more about that time than about history in general. It is an attempt to put that time in the context of history. This is not entirely explicit in the text. You have to read between the lines. You see these themes discussed in the book: youthful rebellion, morality, war, racisim, economics, art. It seems that at some points their analysis hits the mark but in other cases it seems to reflect a personal prejudice. Particularly annoying is the dismissal of the modern art scene as a sign cultural decline. Their discussion of accumulation of wealth seems to smack of Social Darwinism but has some cogent warnings about the disparity between rich and poor. And I really did not agree with their point of view on morality and religion. Finally at the end their proposals to fix our problems seemed rather naive. I think the main flaw in this book is its grand scale. It tried to summarize in too small a space the huge span of history. However, given that, I would recommend giving it a listen. It provides much food for thought but take it all with a grain of salt.
I know the Durants were the kingpins of history during the days of Saturday Evening Post and Readers Digests. There is no denying their incredible knowledge and breadth of not only history but literature is astounding. BUT......their relevance to the current trends of history, the astounding acceleration of information, the major shifting of both economic and political power has left their predictions lacking. This is none of their fault and one should read/listen to the Durants as giants of history with some very applicable truths about civilization and mankind but their understanding of the changes in Asia, the dismantling of Communism, and the relative lessening of the immidiate threat of Nuclear warfare as the overarching concern (as opposed to the emergence of China (military/economic) and India (economic) and the growth of Islam and all its ramifications were clearly not in the crystal ball for the Durants. I hold them blamless in these issues as we would all be. But His understanding and disdain for areas where he is weak such as modern art (meaningless drippings) and modernity is noticeable. I also can't stand his ENDLESS listing of examples to impress us. As previously mentioned the inane music between each interview is enough to wish for deafness.
This book is incredibley well written and narrated. An everlasting obelisk of wisdom that you will listen to many times. If you are looking to make sense of our world and understand why? This is it.
Eloquent, didactic, accessible. While parts expose the rhetoric and strife of the time it was written, overall it is an incredibly thoughtful examination of history, morality, and intellectual prism of social constructs. well worth the time and examination, and a revisit!
Project Manager; Gamer; Team Leader; avid Science Fiction & Urban Fantasy reader.
Thought provoking. Best known for The Story of Civilization, 11 volumes written in collaboration with his wife Ariel Durant and published between 1935 and 1975. In this book, thru a series of interviews and extracts from The Story of Civilization, the focus is on finding the meaning and Key messages of history.
Eclectic bookworm...I listen to a little bit of everything. Give up after listening to something for 20 minutes and don't like it.
Will and Ariel Durant offer an abridged history of mankind in this short book, with reflections on
modern day trends as they relate to our collective past.
I'm not personally a fan of the narrator, Grover Gardner as I find his voice to be grating and a bit boring. However, the writing was very clear and interesting so I was able to put aside my dislike of his voice for most of the audiobook. The best parts were the actual interviews with Will and Ariel Durant, where they discuss themes from the different chapters of the book in a lively, conversational tone.
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