Story of Civilization

Story of Civilization

by Will Durant, Ariel Durant


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Here is the first volume of thisStory of Civilization, Our Oriental Heritage, complete in itself. Dr. Durant worked on it steadily from 1927 to 1932, and the book represents the third complete rewriting. Our Oriental Heritage deals first with the establishment of civilization and then takes up, not in rapid review but in rich and fascinating detail, the colorful, complex dramas of the Near East, India and her neighbors, and the Far East. The story is carried up to mid-1930s. The Story of Civilization represents the most comprehensive attempt in our times to embrace the vast panorama of man's history and culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781567310238
Publisher: MJF Books
Publication date: 03/28/1993
Product dimensions: 9.84(w) x 14.57(h) x (d)

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Story of Civilization 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic series. As someone who reads history, especially the classics, on a regular basis, I was amazed by the scope and depth of this series. The books are very well written and thought provoking at times. It shows how many of the debates we have in our society have occurred many times in the 'systol and diastole of history'. From the causes of the fall of the Rome to Rosseaus stance that man is basiclly good (versus the opposite view by the Church) the reader will recognize many parallels to today. For those who say it is too focused on Western Civilization or the 'White Man', I say that they are don't know the purpose of an education or are intellectually lazy. The purpose of this series is to examine the culture we live in and the roots of it. Our primary institutions are that of Western Civilization. The democracy of Athens, The Roman Republic and Empire, the Christian Faith, the French Philosophers, etc. are all basic foundations of our country. Our constitution was written after much study of this history. The cultures of China, Japan, Latin America, etc. are important but are NOT major factors in the development of this country. To the reviewers who complain about the focus of the series I say that there are many good books about other cultures (I've read quite a few) that they can read. They should quit complaining about who is covered by the series, focus on the substance of the series and judge how good the material itself is.
aajay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
These have been my "go to" reference books for many years. Just recently dipped into them following viewing the "Inquisition" series on PBS. Starting with Ancient Oriental history thru mostly western civilization to Napoleon, the authors (collaborated with wife on some) are not only factually knowledgeable but eminently objective. Very readable throughout.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all eleven volumes of the Story of Civilization over a four year period some seven years ago and believe this compendium to be one of the best available for overall content.  My favorite book of the series is The Life of Greece.  The books are penned from a humanist point of view.  The review of the Ten Commandments is definitely secular.  This series is very broad in its approach covering nearly all aspects of civilization including religion, politics, economics, history, philosophy, the arts, science, biography, literature and culture.  The bibliography in each book, which I use extensively, is worth a college degree alone in its depth of research.   The work required to publish this opus required 45 years from 1927 to 1972 encompassing ancient Eastern civilizations through the Age of Napoleon.  If you enjoy reading about a world of different topics and characters in a general reader format, you'll savor these books as a 5 Star addition to your library..
Guest More than 1 year ago
Is it really possible to get through several millenia in a thousand pages? If you want to touch all the significant highlights while treating each civilization key to our being where we are today as fairly and equally as everybody feels is necessary, well, no, you really can't. That doesn't mean the attempt will not be enlightening. While acknowledging the impossibilty of such a daunting task, Will Durant does take the reader on a journey that does and shows wonders on the path civilization has taken to get to all of us here today. While some will criticize his covering India, China, and Japan in such a short space, he does provide an excellent overview of those amazing civilizations. And since the book was written in 1935, they can shed an interesting light on those countries through the informed reader's hindsight of the large changes since: the Ghandis, Mao, and World War II. Other books definitely will be needed to fully appreciated all the civilizations discussed, but this book is an excellent start to the study of any culture, particularly our own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. and Mrs. Durant have written a fabulous set of books. It is very well researched and beautifully written. Rarely does one encounter such joy and respect in the telling of so great a tale. I find it strange that people critize it for concentrating too much on western culture. Perhaps it is a fault in the title which might lead one to think it would cover more ground. However,the Durants are aware of their omissions and do not hestiate to remind the reader of their limited scope. One can hardly feel smug about western culture after reading in these book how utterly indebted it is to so many other cultures. The Durants constantly astonish with concise explanations of complex developements in philosophy, theology, science, medicine, art, architecture, literature, law, as well as the listing of dates and events common to all history books. The style is exquisite, full of humor and life and an abbiding respect for and love of humanity in all of its glory and horror. I feel that if every youth were to read these books, the world would be a better, more understanding one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have had this set in my home for about ten years, although I was introduced to it by my 12th grade World History teacher. I find myself constantly referring to it, and have sometimes kept volumes next to my bed. The Durants do not confine themselves to boring recitations of names and dates. They provide commentary on the impact of the various figures and show the relevance of the past to the modern-day. Indeed, if there is any one lesson to be drawn from this epic work, it is that humanity is motivated by the same instincts now as it was thousands of years ago. There is nothing new under the sun.