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This is pared down from he & his wife's 11 volume set of The Story of Civilization. He/they did several other books & essays along these lines, too. This makes themes & trends of history & his view of them much more accessible. I was very impressed by some of his turns of phrase from the outset & this edition is very well narrated by Grover Gardner, one of my favorites. Decades ago, I tried to read some of the full set & quickly lost interest. It was just too much for a tyro like myself, especia...
Durant took up the task of summarizing his epic eleven volume summarization of history in the interests of the average reader whose attention span grew shorter with the advent, development and cultivation of mass media. Despite this intense condensation to perhaps 3% of its original size, the book does not strain the reader with an uncooperative density of information.Durant has succeeded in presenting not just the facts but rather the tapestry of knowledge, untainted by his passion and emotion
The well-known author of the last century, Will Durant, died in 1981. This manuscript was found only a year ago practically in its completed form. It is a treasure of the literary world. Durant’s oeuvre during his lifetime was an eleven-volume series entitled The Story of Civilization, where he focused on an age in each book and gave history lesson that had never really been given before with this Herculean collection.The result was a most unique series which had the unintended effect of appeari...
A book to treasure.. It was a wonderful experience,reading it.. Not too much beating around the bush,not too brief,this book describes just those things that influenced the history of mankind in a big way. It is more like a general reader's handbook of world history. The personal touch in the writing style,rather than the dull descriptive way of writing,adds to the charm,giving one a feel of getting personally acquainted with most of the personalities described in the book.. But at certain place...
Lives and ideas from the dawn of civilization to the beginning of the modern world.
Well, to me this was a way to try something else for a while, something other than just fiction and literature. So, I said why not go back to learn more history, as I am also a big fan of history and I do believe that we have so much to learn from what ever happened in the past, so we can be better prepared for what may happen in the near future.This is a very, very compressed version of the history of civilization and religion, but I would stress a lot the fact it is an extremely compressed ver...
I've been absurdly busy lately, but with little listening here and a little there, I was able to finish this audiobook. I think the title in misleading. Its a brief history of 1,000s of years crammed into 350 pages. Durant spent most of his time writing about Rome, Greece, Jesus, church history, the renaissances, Popes, the crusades, the reformation and plenty of other tragedies.
Wonderful book. Its my first time reading Will Durrant and I am very impressed. He walks you through history with such familiarity you'd think he'd lived through it all. The book reads like a conversation rather than a lecture.
I am a big fan of the Durant's writing. Another wonderful book.
As a short version of the civilization series, it has good info although lacks of spaceous details so wity written on the full version
This review is entirely my fault for picking the wrong book. It's just that I am not a fan of old school history. I should have picked a more contemporary book.
Encyclopedic. Too brief. Having gone through the 11 Volume Story of Civilization, makes this a very concise and lackluster work, though a welcome review of certain forgotten historical figures.
Folks, my reviewing any work by historic historian Durant is like Milli Vanilli reviewing Dylan. Anyway, Will Durant wrote "Heroes of History" late in life, after a long, illustrious career (which started in the 1920s) often writing with Ariel, his wife. "Heroes" did not come out until 2001, about 20 years after his death. To Durant, true heroes are philosophers because they inform how people, and therefore leaders and maybe generals and eventually popes, view the changing world around them. The...
Durant's 'heroes' of history are far from perfect. In most cases, their flaws exceed their virtues. But there is no doubt they were all influential. What I find most interesting is that in times of crisis, someone invariably arises who provides a pivot point that shifts the flow of history one way or another. Someone who has been pushed too far and who has the necessary combination of ideas, personality, and circumstances, ends up being a catalyst for change, sometimes good, sometimes not so goo...
I always have the compulsion to reconcile a book with its title. I am chagrined when I am unable to do that. It is like those covers of books that suck you in and leave you knowing in the end what they mean by the expression “artistic license.” Someone reviewed this book and thought a more appropriate title would be a View of History From 30,000 feet. I agree. It is more a distillation of thousands of years of human history down to 12 hrs and 10 min than about heroes. However, if you have ever t...
Hard not to compare this audiobook to Neil McGregor's A History of the World in 100 Objects, which I recently listened to. My main problem is the narrator's voice. I barely got through listening to the first several chapters before I finally had to give up. The narrator's voice is simply too monotone. I don't know if it's Durant's writing or if the narrator chose to read the script in a boring matter, but I found myself struggling to stay interested. Not really sure why Durant picked certain "hi...
A great summary of the panorama of world history, much more concise than his great multi-volume master work. Durant was working on this when he died, which I imagine explains why it concludes with Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, and the dawn of the Age of Reason.An interesting journey through early history, Greece, Rome, and quite a long stay in the realm of Church history, the Renaissance, Reformation, and Catholic Counter-Reformation. Durant's beautiful prose often makes history read like a compel...
Historian Will Durant and his wife Ariel were working on a shorter version of one of their mammoth collections, intended as a television project. Both died before they finished, within days of each other, and this book is what was left, two or three chapters short of the end. What is here makes for a fine summary of Western civilization, with a chapter devoted each to China and India in the beginning. The final chapter discusses Francis Bacon and almost ends on a long quote of his on the art of
This is an absolutely tremendous timeline of history. The timeline incorporates various civilizations and discusses notable figures throughout history. I learned more about world history from this book than I did from all my years in history class. This book also gives you a platform to study different key figures in history. I began to gain interest in several historical figures after reading this book. This is a must read for those who enjoy the history of the world.
An interesting survey of (mostly European) history, with its greatest focus on the typical topics of Greece, Rome and the Renaissance. [There are also early chapters on China and India.]This is not written as the one single book to provide a top-level summary. It works well for someone who has some grasp of the history and enjoys the way the book pauses on one character after another and provides the reader with some information and integration that fills out the picture.
“I have discovered late in life the magic of Will Durant & his grasp on history. His book is a prose that is easily digestible yet profound with deductions from past events. his knowledge in the ancient folklore to the medieval world till recent times is unparalleled. I now rate him amongst the top history writers of all times. I will be indulging myself with a lot of Will Durant books. I totally recommend this book. ”
I have an eleven volume set of Durant's Story of Civilization on my bookshelf. So far I have read (skimmed through) only one of the volumes. It is a massive work and daunting. What I love about Heroes of History is that Durant summarizes the key points of those 11 volumes and condenses them into this little gem.In 350 pages, Durant summarizes the lessons he learned in a lifetime study of civilization. His writing style is engaging. A very worthwhile read!
Interesting, but simply too much all together to really enjoy. It's likely better to be used as a superficial reference than a cover to cover read. I kept approaching it and then losing interest. I will say I'm glad I finally got through it. Fact is - the last quarter was probably the most interesting to me.
I didn't read this cover to cover but I picked out the chapters I was most interested in and really enjoyed it. The author has to be succinct to cover so much in a book this short but it's very readable and has gotten me interested in reading more in depth on a few people and topics. btw, the title is a bit misleading.
I've read history all my life, and this was a refresher course on European history, art and philosophy by Will Durant who studied it for his lifetime. Some of it was new to me, some not. But Durant breathed life into ideas that were once new.
I loved this book because it was enlightening and educational. For the most part it is very readable and even a page turner in some parts. It basically reviews people and events who have had an impact on modern civilization and philosophy.
Interesting walk through history from the Ancients to the Enlightenment. I learned a lot, and there's a lot to learn. The book itself is somewhat dated, so I wonder if we've learned more beyond. It can also be pretty slow going in spots.
Excellent. What I should have learned and hopefully remember. It makes our current times seem so civilized. I'm glad I didn't live in any previous century, and get to contribute today to the emergence of a world civilization.
Published posthumously. I need to go back and finish this sometime -- only got to page 114. Good summaries of people important to the civilization of the world, not just the West. Quick read, but wrong time of year.
This book is perhaps the very best starting point to understand, and gain an appreciation for, history. Durant's prose makes the experience as enjoyable as reading your favorite novel. Highly recommended!