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  • Our Oriental Heritage

  • The Story of Civilization, Volume 1
  • Written by: Will Durant
  • Narrated by: Robin Field
  • Length: 50 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (48 ratings)

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Our Oriental Heritage

Written by: Will Durant
Narrated by: Robin Field
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Publisher's Summary

The first volume of Will Durant's Pulitzer Prize-winning series, Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Volume I chronicles the early history of Egypt, the Middle East, and Asia. In this masterful work, readers will encounter:

  • Sumeria, birthplace of the first cities and written laws
  • the Egyptians, who perfected monumental architecture, medicine, and mummification more than 3,500 years ago
  • the Babylonians, who developed astronomy and physics, and planted the seeds of Western mythology
  • the Judeans, who preserved their culture forever in the immortal books of the Old Testament
  • the Persians, who ruled the largest empire in recorded history before Rome
  • Indian philosophy, Chinese philosophers, and Japanese Samurais
©2013 Will Durant (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Our Oriental Heritage

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Starts slow but picks up steam

A true classic. Depending on your interests you may find some of the chapters a little dry but overall what a great book. I wasn't crazy about the early chapters but once they got into Egypt I was hooked. Very interesting to compare perceptions from the 1930's and now 😄

I would recommend this book to those of you who already have some knowledge of ancient history.

#Audible1

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Very good

The book jumps between intensely fascinating and downright boring at times, but the good vastly outweighs the bad. It starts fast, and is very dense. The parts on art I found long, but I can see why that would also be someone else’s favourite portion of the work. Super worth the read. This has inspired me to read many other books and philosophers I didn’t care for before, which is always the sign of a great work.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Came here from a Elon Musk's recommendation

completely satisfied, can't believe that such a knowledgeable book was written almost a century ago 👍

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The cure for ignorance!

Amazing! Must read/listen. An enlightened pre WW2 perspective on human history. Very relevant today! 5 stars!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Very Dated and you can tell

This series alleges to cover all of Asian history to the ‘present’. Which in the case of the author is pre WW2. Very prescient predictions of another world war were creepy when you know it was written prior to the war.

The book has the benign racism and sexism of a classically educated well intentioned white man of late 30’s England or America.

My key issue is that it try’s to cover too much and in many area’s given the title, not enough. For the societies lucky enough to be singled out, he tries to cover not just political history, but art, architecture, music, literature, culture, language, finance, and more. Discussing art and architecture that’s foreign to you without pictures is unproductive. Discussing music that foreign to you without being able to hear a sample is also useless. A brief overview would have sufficed if we can’t see or hear the material in question.

The book covers India, China, and Japan, but does not cover other rich cultures much at all, like Thailand, Cambodia, Korea, and Vietnam. The book also lacks focus and doesn’t create a good ‘story’ of the people.

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