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Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Volume I [Kindle Edition]

Will Durant
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $14.99
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

The Story of Civilization, Volume I: A history of civilization in Egypt and the Near East to the Death of Alexander, and in India, China, and Japan from the beginning; with an introduction on the nature and foundations of civilization. This is the first volume of the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning series.

Product Details

  • File Size: 12367 KB
  • Print Length: 1049 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004ZZS93Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,160 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
154 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The spirit of the Enlightenment lives May 5, 2001
Format:Audio Cassette
"A nation is born stoic, and dies epicurean." - Will Durant
*Our Oriental Heritage* is the first volume in Will and Ariel Durant's eleven-volume history of civilization from the Sumerians to the Napoleonic era - the work of a lifetime, or rather two of them, as its publication spanned no less four decades (1935-1975) and eight years were spent on these first nine hundred pages alone.
Although well integrated by Durant's systematic approach, *Our Oriental Heritage* is actually four books in one (or five, if you include the opening ninety-page essay on the nature of civilization): the first one deals with the Near East - Sumeria, Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Judea and Persia - from the fourth millenium to the third century B.C. (275p); the second, with India from the Vedas to Gandhi, who was then still alive and, well, maybe not kicking (245p); the third, with China from the "Age of the Philosophers" to Sun Yat Sen (190p); and the fourth, with Japan from its mythical Shinto birth to the invasion of Manchuria (105p).
The organization of the book is more thematic than chronological. Though Durant does divide the histories of the various civilizations into periods and tries to follow their evolution, he limits himself to well-chosen historical highlights, seeking rather to understand the soul of each civilization by an analysis of its major cultural achievements.
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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A grand tour of Eastern Civilization March 19, 2002
Imagine a man sat down to write the Story of Civilization. All civilization... its lessons, its poetry, its characters, its schemers, its action, and its wisdom. It will require a brave soul indeed. Picture that man at his desk.
We definitely do not want a cynic, a hermit with eyebrows curled tight in thoughts of literary vengeance or historical chicanery... let us shut that character down before the first dip of the pen. Instead, we fancy a skeptic, one who owns a moist twinkling eye that comes from perspective, and a slightly crooked smile of insight. We definitely want a man of confidence who has deep love for his undertaking, but maintains gentleness of speech and a crisp, discerning ear; a man with healthy complexion and moderately rounded belly that reflects the love of a caring, tender woman; a man with good humor and love for his neighbors and hometown that extends outward to embrace all of humanity.
A man that could write the following:
"It was a great moral improvement when men ceased to kill or eat their fellowmen, and merely made them slaves."
"Most history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice."
"Civilization is not something inborn or imperishable; it must be acquired anew by every generation, and any serious interruption in its financing or its transmission may bring it to an end."
You can feel the warmth of this man's breath as he reads close to your ear. You can see the proper adjustment of the spectacles; you can hear the wry grin in his voice. And passion is manifest in his full-bodied baritone.
Will Durant retrieved and dusted Voltaire's two-century old gauntlet, and found it to fit just fine. Voltaire would have approved wholesale of Durant, for he fit the wise joker's primary criteria that "only philosophers should write history".
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A daunting, but enjoyable read August 14, 2003
Since college, I have wanted to own the ten volume The Story of Civilization by Will Durant. It simply was a purchase that a poor student or a novice pastor could afford. My father-in-law Melvin Gosser, found a set at a garage sale and purchased them for me as a Christmas present. Now, I have the daunting job of reading them. Will and Ariel Durant spent a lifetime in research and writing to complete this set, beginning with the publication of Our Oriental Heritage in 1935 and concluding in 1967 with Rousseau and Revolution. Each of these volumes are massive, between 800 and 1200 pages each.
I have to admit, I was tempted to skip over Our Oriental Heritage and begin reading where "real" history begins with ancient Greece. I am so glad I didn't. More than information, the Durants are delightfully politically incorrect. Any historian can give you the facts, a good one will do so with style, but a great historian gives himself. That is exactly what the Durants have done. As I started reading, I made myself review the first two hundred pages and began to underline delightful insights, and the beautiful prose of the authors.
Here is an example of their prose: "The scenes of your youth, like the past, are always beautiful
if we do not have to live in them again"
Example of their insights: "It is almost a law of history that the same wealth that generates a civilization announces its decay. For wealth produce ease as well as art; it softens a people to the ways of luxury and peace and invites invasion from stronger arms and hungrier mouths."
That is not to say that every chapter was spell binding, they were not. There were whole sections that I had to discipline myself to read. I won't fault the author's, however.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars is absolutely wonderful but the fact that the book mst weigh almost...
The book, itself, is absolutely wonderful but the fact that the book mst weigh almost five pounds and very, very awkward and heavy to cart around was not to my likely. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Priscilla Rogers Ramsey
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the way Will Durant writes
Love the way Will Durant writes... he is engaging, inspiring, and reflective. This is unlike any historical book you have ever read, and I highly recommend to anyone fascinated... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Bobula
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed. The book does not have the cover page
Disappointed. The book does not have the cover page. its missing. If someone looks at the book he won't know what this book is about!
Published 2 months ago by Ahmed El Attar
5.0 out of 5 stars FIND OUT WHY THE U. S. IS DOOMED
Published 3 months ago by JAN CHASTAIN
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good writing. He give lots of primary references. Should have read this when I was much younger.
Published 3 months ago by Peter D. Reimer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a marvelous book, written as only a brilliant non-professional historian like Will Durant could have written it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Al Singh
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thought provoking.
Published 4 months ago by Grammie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for History Buffs
Bought this for my son who loves history. As usual, Dr. Durant does a great job. It is especially good because it explains many things about Oreintal history which most Western... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Zaba9901
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent foundation of history! But don't stop there...
This book is the first of a series of 11 volumes that detail the history of our civilization starting from pre-civilization primitive communism and through napoleon ending in... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Natalie
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoying learning!
We have owned a hardcover set of the Durant series for probably 25 or 30 years and have moved them from house to house, never finding the time or inclination to read them. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Rita K Scott
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