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The Ancient Guide to Modern Life

Narrated by: Dan Mersh
Length: 9 hrs
Categories: History
4.5 out of 5 stars (48 ratings)

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Summary

Please note this product has been re-recorded in April 2015

It's time for us to reexamine the past. Our lives are infinitely richer if we take the time to look at what the Greeks and Romans have given us in politics and law, religion and philosophy and education, and to learn how people really lived in Athens, Rome, Sparta, and Alexandria.

This is a book with a serious point to make, but the author isn't simply a classicist but a comedian and broadcaster who has made television and radio documentaries about humour, education, and Dorothy Parker.

This is a book for us all. Whether political, cultural or social, there are endless parallels between the ancient and modern worlds.

Whether it's the murder of Caesar or the political assassination of Thatcher; the narrative arc of the hit TV series The Wire or that of Oedipus; the popular enthusiasm for the emperor Titus or President Obama - over and over again we can be seen to be living very much like people did 2,000 or more years ago.

©2010 Natalie Haynes (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Ancient Guide to Modern Life

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

ancient and modern

Despite being a little disappointed that Natalie Haynes chose not to narrate, and that the narrator's tone bordered, at times, on the flippant, I enjoyed this and would recommend it. The epilogue alone was worth the credit. Thank you Ms. Haynes.

3 people found this helpful

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Great book

One of the relevant books I’ve read, well presented and contains lots of interesting fact useful in understanding the past,present and future.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

A serious subject given a light touch

The author is making a very serious point, but in a way that doesn't belabour the point or beat you about the head.

2 people found this helpful

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Fun AND educational!

A really good read/listen - the narrator wasn’t dreary and dull like a lot of historical book narrators can be, but doesn’t go over the top either. The book itself isn’t exactly a ‘history’ in the traditional concept, in that it doesn’t detail all the ins and outs, all the comings and goings of the entire chronology of Greece and Rome, rather it tells more of the every day life, as well as lots of the major events, and gives them relevance in today’s context. It is this that I feel sets this book apart - it is written in a fairly light hearted way, but still gets its message across about how we can learn, and how we have failed to learn, from these ancient cultures today. Recommended!

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loved it

amusing informative and very insightful I love Natalie Haynes bbc 4 programmes and this did not disappoint

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Lot's I loved but some big flaws

I throughly enjoy the works of Natalie Haynes and I enjoyed this too, but I do not understand why a man was reading it? Especially when it's regularly talking about the plight of women. It seriously jarred for me and meant I kept shouting at the audiobook, which isn't what I wanted to be doing. And a few of Natalie's opinions also jarred with me too, seen as I'm one of those annoying street performers found at the Edinburgh Fringe, desperately trying to eek out a living. It made me think "what kind of idiot goes to Edinburgh in August and complains about the performers." Otherwise, I think Nathalie is great.

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  • Sean
  • 09-10-12

Flawed recording

Do not buy this until Audible fixes the recording. In the last 2 hours the reader randomly starts and stops and there are snippets of her exchanges with the engineer--"Did I get that right?", "I'll do that again" and various throat clearing and testing out pronunciation of words.

Clearly, no one listened to this after it was mastered.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Ross Bennett
  • 13-12-14

Brilliant book, abysmal performance

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Correct pronunciation. A substantial portion of the proper names or classical terms are mispronounced. And that's not the usual sort of "well, in medieval days the pronunciation changed to…." No. The reader doesn't come anywhere close. If there's a single line of text every beginning Latin student knows, it's "Caecilius est in horto." To any Classicist or Radio 4 listener, it's as well-known as "Use the Force, Luke!" Well…"Caecilius" here is pronounced like "Cecil." Only minutes later you start to realize who's being talked about.

What did you like best about this story?

The kindle edition. I suspect I'd have enjoyed the print edition, too.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kim Hicks?

Anyone with a passing familiarity with the most familiar names in Classical Studies. It's a shame Natalie Hayes herself couldn't arrange to do it. She's a splendid broadcaster.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Ancient Guide to Modern Life?

None from the text—all of them from the production.

Any additional comments?

Avoid this unless your sight is impaired and text-to-speech isn't available on your reader.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sherry
  • 09-04-13

Faulty recording

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Loved the book until the last couple of chapters, when the recording unfortunately became dreadful. It was worth 5 stars until then.

Any additional comments?

I would love to hear the final chapters, as I was really enjoying it.

2 people found this helpful