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A History of the Ancient World [Hardcover]

Chester G. Starr
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 14, 1991 0195066294 978-0195066296 4th
Reflecting five decades of teaching and research, and drawing on the most recent scholarship, the fourth edition of this widely-read history provides the same broad coverage, chronological framework, and absorbing literary style that distinguished previous editions. For the new edition, the chapters on early humankind, the section on the revolt of Bar Kochba, and the chapter describing the end of the Roman Empire in the west have been rewritten to incorporate the most recent scholarship, and bibliographies have been brought up to date throughout. A classic survey of history from the beginnings of humankind to the fall of the Roman Empire, Starr's A History of the Ancient World makes the latest scholarship available to the general reader in a lively and accessible way.

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A History of the Ancient World + The Makers of Rome: Nine Lives (Penguin Classics) + The Twelve Caesars (Penguin Classics)
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Editorial Reviews


"Excellent text. This work will be my core text for a course on Greece and Rome....Starr's solidity and conservatism make it the keel to our ship of history."--Jace Crouch, Oakland University

"Excellent general history. Starr's book is hard to beat for a well-balanced introduction to ancient history."--Paul Hazard, Saint Xavier University

"A sound, succinct, and comprehensive survey."--Rob Rice, University of Pennsylvania

"Starr's overview of ancient history is uncluttered with trendy drivel. It is solid and scholarly--a model of what a text should be."--Lorle Porter, Muskingum College

"Very well written."--L.F. Harwell, University of Mobile

"A classic textbook which renders solid service."--B.K. Young, Eastern Illinois University

"Good for upper division courses, thorough, sensitiive to new trend in historiography, nice level of sophistication. Not just another Western Culture text. I like this book."--Martha Rampton, Pacific University

"An excellent, well-organized readable text."--Richard Wixon, Lakeland College

"Well-rounded, thorough text."--Russell Lemmons, New Mexico Highlands University

"Perfect for a general course or sequence on the ancient world."--Charles W. Hedrick, University of California, Santa Cruz

About the Author

Chester G. Starr is at University of Michigan.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 742 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 4th edition (March 14, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195066294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195066296
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars breath of fresh air July 27, 2002
This book offers an oversight to the basic developments in history: from the first appearances of human life, then culture, and then cities and societies. It gives an occasional glance to the east, but it's emphasis is tracing the development of Greek and Roman civilization. It is useful in its broadness, but potentially misleading by the same token. For the general reader, I would say Starr offers a decent rough comparison between different societies and epochs; thus enabling some concept of what made the Romans, the Greeks, etc different from the rest of the world.
Having been a graduate student in history, I must say that this book is a major relief. In Chester Starr, one will not find a paranoid historian, obsessed with political correctness and bent on thrashing Western history. He gives the Greeks and the Romans fair praise and criticism while not neglecting that these societies did not represent all people's of the earth. (Although, he suggests that the Greeks were devoid of superstition and the belief in magic, which I find hard to believe.) Global history is such a politically heated argument these days, that I would recomend Starr as the most qualified and balanced scholar for the average reader. Today, Starr is branded as Whigish and probably Eurocentrist, which is a shame for our intellectual conditions.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Enjoyable March 20, 2002
For the casual history fan, like myself, this was the perfect one-volume history of the ancient world. It is a comprehensive look at the various civilizations that rose and fell from the Sumerians to the Romans. Starr gives you the big picture and puts the contributions of the ancient world in perspective.
It is written in a clear and concise prose style. There is just the right amount of attention to detail, but not so much as to make it tedious. It was enjoyable to read and I am happy to have this book in my library to keep for future reference for my children and myself.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Chester G. Starr's comprehensive volume of ancient history from the early achievements of man to the decline of the Roman Empire, is remarkable in scope, charming in its clarity, and as a whole, impressive; but it is not to be compared with the work of Will Durant. Like Durant, Starr focuses on the revolutions of history--which is the evolution of civilization--and completes his treatment of it in one 700-pg. volume. If we are to compare the span of time handled in Starr's work with that of Durant's renowned "Story of Civilization," then it may rightly be said that Durant took three-and-a-half volumes to cover the same period that Starr completed in one. This makes Starr's work more accessible to students looking for summaries, while Durant's is more appealing to accomplished readers, seeking more in-depth research upon their desired subject. Durant's always has a deeper feel for his subject and comments upon it with engaging philosophical insights, while Starr's narrative remains sketchy, and for the most part, humdrum. However, this does not take away from the fact that Starr's "A History of the Ancient World" is one of the most noble of its kind, for its consolidation of such a broad period has been seldom matched. The comparison with Will Durant is not to down play the worth of Starr's work; rather, it is to prove his worth, for every American historian looks to Durant as a source for inspiration, and as a model to attempt to emulate. It is an honor to be placed in the company with someone of the likes of Will Durant, much in the same way that every English historian is indebted to Edward Gibbon and Winston Churchill. His work is well worth its weight and renders itself as a carry-it-anywhere reference source for ancient history. Read more ›
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and very informative. February 9, 1999
By A Customer
A very well-written text covering the beginning of history to the decline of Rome. Thorough and complete in its detail and explanations. Also, the text moves decisively and methodically through the early historical timeline.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Looks Imposing November 21, 2000
By A Customer
Most people when faced with this book, especially college students, will find that it looks quite intimidating. However, very much to my surpise, it's a wonderful book. Starr covers a vast amount of time and history in this extreamlly informative book. It reads easy, presenting it's ideas clearly and streamlined. It really is a book to read if you have any intrest in the Ancient Civlizations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starr, always Starr November 14, 2011
The newest, and last, edition of Chester G. Starr's "History of the Ancient World" is in keeping with its predecessors, two of which I've used as textbooks. Clear, readable prose, mastery of a complex and temporally expansive field, focus on the subject instead of contemporary agenda, and abundant direction for those interested in one or another specific topic within the wider field. I continue to be amazed at how much history Professor Starr is able to present without turning the topic into the list of names and dates which students often complain of, and how individual the cultures he treated become in his hands, rather like characters in the hands of a master novelist. Of most importance to both student and general reader, however, is the freedom of this work from contemporary fixations and agenda and its clear delight in the history which has produced the modern world; and, for that matter, has provided the politically correct and culturally diverse with the views and values on which they base their agenda.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Boook!
If you are at all interested in history, this is a highly readable and informative book. History taught in school tends to be boring because they cover so such with so little... Read more
Published 5 months ago by J. Riley
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Resource to have....
I'm a History major, so books like this are important (I think). Needed it to check some info I wasn't sure about adding to a paper I was writing. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Eddie V
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
This was a very interesting read. It talks about a number of times and topics, but it is all text. However, if you can look pass the amount of text then it will be easier to read.
Published 15 months ago by Emily17
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, learned a lot
This was an excellent book and what I had been looking for for a while. It neatly connects all the ancient civilizations together culiminating in the Roman Empire. Read more
Published on July 24, 2011 by Andy S Kane
2.0 out of 5 stars Very superficial
This is a survey of ancient history running up until about the 4th century. It's a whirlwind tour of a lot of history and, unsurprisingly, is very superficial. Read more
Published on July 14, 2010 by N. Perz
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the money
A sweeping history of our earliest civilizations, this book will not let you down. The book's only shortcoming that I have discovered is that it was written in 1965 and only... Read more
Published on June 21, 2010 by Flying Scot
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Well Rounded Exposition
This is an excellent, very well written book on the general history of the ancient world with a focus on the near east, Egypt, Greece and Western Europe. Read more
Published on May 7, 2009 by TheEngineer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good work but a little dry
Not a bad account of the ancient world altough i found it to be a little bit dry.The author makes good assesments as to why certain things and events happened the way they did. Read more
Published on April 5, 2009 by Jorge I. Villanueva
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