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Our Oriental Heritage (Story of Civilization) Hardcover – July 1, 1997
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- Publisher : Fine Communications (July 1, 1997)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 1047 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1567310125
- ISBN-13 : 978-1567310122
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.25 x 2.25 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #319,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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As others have noted, the writing style is dated. Originally published in 1935, some of the terms Durant uses are cringe-worthy and much of the language is archaic. As much a book about history, this book/series is history itself.
The Durants are attempting the impossible: The Story of Civilization. I'm not a historian so I can't speak to the academic quality of Durant's writing; I don't know what he left-out or glossed-over. In the 100 years-or-so since he began researching and writing this book many of our interpretations and pool of knowledge has changed. But the attempt is gorgeous; the prose is beautiful. It's an enjoyable book to read and should be part of everyone's library.
I have one problem that I cannot address anywhere else, and I'm hoping someone who reads this may have a suggestion for me. I have both the text and Audible versions of OUR ORIENTAL HERITAGE, but I am unable to download the Audible version to my iPhone (as I have been able to do with other Kindle books) -- therefore, I am unable to listen to the Audible version on my iPhone the way I can on Kindle. As I said, with other books where I own both print and Audible, I have been able to switch from reading to listening at will, but not with this one. Any suggestions for remedying would be greatly appreciated.
Meanwhile, despite that inconvenience, I recommend this volume -- and by extension every subsequent one in the series -- without reservation. This is truly one of the towering achievements of historical writing. Not only that, it's FUN!
The breadth and scope is amazing. Despite it being written 75 years ago, this is a history book I wish I could have read 20 years ago as a teenager. I've always been bothered by the question of "How did we get here?" in the most general sense. This book fills in the gaps in my knowledge and understanding and leads to even more questions. And better yet, the author admits readily that the book won't cover everything and some will be incorrect.
Our Oriental Heritage is broken up into 5 books: The Establishment of Civilization, The Near East, India and Her Neighbors, The Far East and Japan. Better and more educated people than I can critique the historical content, but the tone of the book is great. It's a conversational, easy style that very few academic writers can master. And despite the size of the book (over a thousand pages!) it's a lot less intimidating once you get into it, and realize that a sizable portion of the book is endnotes, showing how much of a research effort this book was.
I've learned a ton of interesting anecdotes, enough that you could repeat to someone and have them say that it's pretty cool - where did you learn that? and immediately point them to this book. And from the rise and fall of civilizations, you can draw parallels to our own and wonder if the same fate will happen to us.
The Kindle edition didn't have any glaring errors that I saw - I've read previous reviews but either they've been corrected or I've been completely oblivious to them that it didn't matter.
I just wish I could have read this book years ago. The entire collection of The Story of Civilization might have changed my life.
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