©2002 John Little, Monica Ariel Mihell, and William James Durant Easton; (P)2003 John Little and the Estate of Will Durant; (P)2003 The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.
"This compact work is a gem that elevates historical writing to the level of superb literature." (Booklist)
"[An] engaging, accessible book of essays...in prose peppered with biographical bon mots and excerpts of the world's loveliest poems. Lay folks especially will find this a delightful introduction to Durant's irrepressible style." (Publishers Weekly)
This titlte is another jewel from Will Durant but I can not recommend it due to the poor naration. The voice is flat and makes the book unlistenable. This has nothing to do with the sound quality and is due to the reader. I advise listening to the excellenty narated 'The Story of Philosophy' by the same author and compare prior to purchase. I will be seeking to return this title.
This was an amazing book that I was happy to listen to! The narrator was doing an amazing job, as he made the experience outstanding - thank you!
Will Durant was nothing if not an unashamed elitist and his personal take on the greatest minds and figure in history are fairly well justified, though he admits himself his choice of greatest poets is somewhat personal! Some of the other choices might be considered in the same light. Well worth as listen though.
Whilst the content was interesting, the narrator read way too fast. I could not absorb much of the content. As a result I did not enjoy the book. This is the first time I have had this issue with audio books. From now on I will always listen to sample before purchase.
Overview. Fascinating. Inspiring.
The entire book was exceptional.
Too difficult to choose.
This book is supposed to be an overview, so the reviews that criticize this book as being "too fast" do not seem to be taking in to account the very objective of this book in that it is meant to be a summary. This book is well worth the read, as are the other books by Will Durant. I highly recommend them.
"A "Greatest Hits" of History"
This was my introduction to Will Durant. The writing is spectacular. The language at times is almost poetic and I felt the speed at which the text was read was a bit fast. It is short but meaty. I highly recommend it; you will find yourself skipping back a few times to fully enjoy the prose.
"He can do better!"
Many on the list are antiquated. And the lists are read as quickly as the reasons for his choice. In some categories it's like hearing a hone book read. Durant does better on his history of the philosophers. In this book He leaves out all of the religious leaders on a purpose that I don't understand. Most of which held more sway, good and bad, than any of the others on a list. I'll order another from Durant just because he has been so good in the past. But I could have skipped this one and not lost sleep.
"Kinda like Wagner " not as bad as it sounds""
I bought this dispite the negative reviews. I am a total Durant fan. Read the History of the World, Yup that one.The first bit is great and engrossing, 100 greatest books does not make a great read. This might be better in hardcover. But have been through it twice and will plunge in again. I prefer books good for read after read, this qualifies , but you better like Durant.
Really enjoyed it, Loved it, would listen to it again when i habe the chance to, will definitely recommend it to a friend
Too much to digest at the reader's pace. Some interesting ideas, but not worth the time.
This is, as I understand, an incomplete work of Durant, and it is mostly a big disappointment. For the most part, it is a list of antiquated works put forth as the basis for a fundamental education. No kicks against his list, except that a lot of it was rather obvious and there is very little expansion on the whys of his picks. Begin elsewhere with Durant.
We purchased this title thinking it would be thought provoking and spur conversation regarding who was/was not included in each list. It was quickly apparent that the author was not modern and did not write in a lively manner. Granted, his essays were intended to be read rather than heard, but the rambling definitions were tedious. If you are unfamiliar with this author's work (as we were), we strongly suggest that you read some of the essays before buying the audio file. Better to discover his prejudices at the local library than after spending $$ on an antiquated world view.
"Assessing human achievement"
This book- which is really a collection of essays- represents the quintessential Durant. Referred to as the "gentle philosopher," Durant uses the weight of his historical knowledge to highlight the best of human achievement.
As noted by the editor, John Little, these essays represent Durant's personal assessment of history. A reader who, like me, doesn't have time to read his 11-volume Story of Civilization will find in this little volume an overview of significant thinkers, poets, scientists, biographers, etc. And it indirectly provides an extended bibliography for the reader to pursue further study at will.
The reason I give this volume 4 stars is because the narrator reads very quickly. It is often difficult to grasp the name or content being discussed due to his dizzying pace of narration. However, in the big scheme of things, the quick pace is a negligible faux pas compared to the worth of the book itself.
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