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Glossary Some terminology that may be used in this description includes: spine The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the crispne View all 8 comments. Aug 28, Marcus rated it really liked it.
There are two main reasons why this book is a pure pleasure to read. First and foremost it is always extremely enjoyable to read a book written by someone with both extraordinary clarity of mind and superior skill of written word. Second, 'Our Oriental Heritage' is very accessible introduction to history of China, India and Japan, topics that were previously unknown to me. It must however be said, that this is not a history book in traditional meaning of that term.
The aim of Will Durant, as he c There are two main reasons why this book is a pure pleasure to read. The aim of Will Durant, as he clearly states at the beginning of this book, is not to write only about politics, dynasties and wars, but also other areas that define a civilization, but which are often overlooked by traditional historians. Therefore, huge parts of 'Our Oriental Heritage' focus on religion, philosophy and arts.
If those areas are not your cup of tea, then you may find yourself both a little bit bored and also overwhelmed by completely unfamiliar names and ideas. It is clearly a silly idea to rate this sort of book — it is undeniably a classic work of literature and a labor of love of a man that was infinitely more intelligent that I can ever hope to become. View 1 comment. Feb 11, Judy rated it really liked it Shelves: history.
I read this first volume of The Story of Civilization off and on for over a year. It was my first successful attempt at reading history and taught me how to do so.
The Story of Civilization, Volume I: A history of civilization in Egypt and the Near East to Our Oriental Heritage (Story of Civilization) Hardcover – July 1, Editorial Reviews. About the Author. WILL DURANT () was awarded the Pulitzer Buy now with 1-Click ®. Promotions apply when Look inside this book. Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Volume I by [Durant, Will.
I have to thank Will Durant for that. Finishing it was a triumph for me as a student of literature, the world, and life. We all probably remember doing a unit in Social Studies on the cradle of civilization, Babylonia and all that. Boring but some cool pictures. My theory on the study of history during childhood is that we have our who I read this first volume of The Story of Civilization off and on for over a year.
My theory on the study of history during childhood is that we have our whole lives ahead of us, we are interested in the future, not the past. So to that teacher who did her best with me, I can report that I finally learned what is so important about the cradle of civilization. I felt enriched and full of learning. I had many ah ha moments and wish that I had taken notes. Most of all I learned as if I did not already know that the same insanities have been replayed over and over for thousands of years.
It became true for me that though we have made great strides in learning to control and handle the material world, we lag in mental and emotional growth and have not brought about much more peace or security.
I grew to appreciate what a long and winding road mankind is traveling. If it is our destiny to evolve to any sort of higher state, it will not be happening anytime soon and attempts to predict such an evolution are laughable at best though entertaining to contemplate. And yet, knowing where we have come from and how it has gone has value. Our Oriental Heritage gave me hope. We are capable of much understanding, we can create and build amazing things, even while we are stupid, greedy and much too adept at destruction.
Durant takes the reader from the earliest evidences of civilization through ancient Sumeria, Egypt, and Babylonia and the countries of the Old Testament. He covers India, China, and Japan.
As he says in the Preface, "I wish to tell as much as I can, in as little space as I can, of the contributions that genius and labor have made to the cultural heritage of mankind. Note: This book was originally published in by Simon and Schuster, not , as it says here at Goodreads. View all 4 comments. Apr 05, Andrew Obrigewitsch rated it it was amazing Shelves: educational , history , classics. All I can say is wow, this book is extremely enlightening and eye opening. It covers the formation of civilization of the human race. It was published in , so if you are looking for the latest archaeological find on Egypt you won't find it here.
But that's not what this book is about, this book is about exploring the development of the civilizing influenced on humanity, how cultures have risen and fallen and how human civilization has changed. I highly recom All I can say is wow, this book is extremely enlightening and eye opening.
ktp.okta.kz/wp-content/32.php I highly recommend this book to all human beings. Oct 25, taarak rated it it was amazing Shelves: robbarrettsaudiobookshelf. My God. No really, this is one of the mandatory reads for anyone who wants to display affectations toward a liberal education. One down, ten to go. I've looked at this set monumental, I believe, is the obligatory adjective when referring to it for many, many years, always promising myself that someday, I would dive in.
Over time, and one by one, I've picked up each volume until I had the entire series on my shelves, and though I probably never phrased it this way, my thoughts surely went along the lines of, 'gosh, if a feller read all that, he'd really know something. Initially, I had considered getting Susan Wise Bauer's The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome --I felt like I had read a lot about different historical periods, but I didn't have the background to tie them all together in a narrative timeline.
But before shelling out the cash for Bauer's book, I remembered I still had Durant on my shelves, unread. What better way to get a narrative timeline--or so I thought. This first volume is a bit of an outlier, I think, in comparison with the rest of the series--actually, now that I've read it, I don't think it's mandatory to start here, though it isn't hurting anything if you do. And it also probably depends on the level of information you already have about the ancient Near East, as well as Indian, Chinese, and Japanese history. But first, Durant is going to take about pages to talk about what makes a civilization, and what distinguishes it from what he calls 'nature people', which is a decent enough term for peoples who, for whatever reason, have either not pursued our brand of civilization, or, having once had it, have turned their backs on it.
This is all okay, I suppose, but it exposes, to my mind, some of the flaws in Durant's style and approach. Although written in , the problem isn't his view of 'the other': Durant is remarkably even-handed and fair in his estimations, even going out of his way on three separate occasions to reinforce the idea that race has nothing to do with the ability to create a civilization. With the date of , I have to assume this is direct response to then-current ideologies of certain states. My problem with this first section rests in its generality, coupled with a weltanschauung that often reminded me of a junior high school history textbook from This easygoing, conversational style might have its fans, but it wasn't what I was expecting or hoping for.
When Durant turns to the actual story of civilization, he's hampered by lack of hard data which is a problem for any historian writing about this time, but, again, a lot of information has surfaced since But it also becomes apparent rather quickly that Durant is not writing a narrative history, but a cultural one, which is great, if that's what you are interested in.
In all actuality, this may have been a better choice: rather than a dry recitation of different dynasties, Durant probably does well to summarize the narrative of each empire he treats, and then explore what is known about their culture and habits. I can point to very few things in this section that I remember with any vividness, except for a little better understanding of the scope of Ancient Egyptian architecture, and that the Assyrians were some really bad dudes. Also that there are a lot of unpleasant ways of putting people to death.
So I had a lot more hope when the story turned to India, but again, the vastness of the area, the length of time, and the paucity of the record make it extremely difficult to do a comprehensive narrative history.
He could write from the beginning. People have lived and died, businesses have prospered and f Facebook Instagram Twitter. Most Helpful Most Recent. The Mental Elements of Civilization. It suffers only in comparison to its successors in the sequence. Show More.
Durant has scarcely enough time to hit the high points. One of the last questions he leaves us with is whether or not it is inevitable that America and Japan go to war. What I ended up appreciating the most from the book was the section on China, specifically the rise of Confucius. As a commentator, I think Durant was probably quite liberal for his time—as I mentioned before, he went out of his way to deny that race had anything to do with the ability to create a civilization, and, according to standards, I think he was fair to creeds and genders and beliefs.
When reading Herodotus, there were times when I would imagine some ancient Athenian, sitting by his fire, reading about the history and customs of people who lived at the ends of the Earth. It seems quaint to think of the world that way, now. It will be interesting to see how the next volume--devoted exclusively to Greece--will compare.
If I end up feeling about it the way I felt about this one, it will be hard for me to devote the time to reading the others. I still have high hopes, though. View all 16 comments. Shelves: history. This volume of Durant's Story of Civilization is distinctive for being the most cursory, his aim having been to cover all prehistory, ancient civilizations before the Greeks and Asian civilizations--quite a task for just over a thousand pages!
Besides being a skimming of the surface, this volume is also the most painfully dated as it only goes up to the mid-thirties. I kept on thinking of the impending world war and of the independence of India thereafter. It is unfortunate that anyone approachin This volume of Durant's Story of Civilization is distinctive for being the most cursory, his aim having been to cover all prehistory, ancient civilizations before the Greeks and Asian civilizations--quite a task for just over a thousand pages!
It is unfortunate that anyone approaching the series may have a tendency to prefer to begin in the beginning. The subsequent volumes are far more detailed and focused, constituting a history of Western civilization with no real dependence on this initial, broader survey.
Jan 11, Yogeeswar rated it it was amazing Shelves: politics-war , epics , history , science , anthropology , cultural-social. This book is a massive one, starting from the dawn of humanity, discusses what it is required from us as a species to start a civilization.