Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Heroes of History , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. It was just too much for a tyro like myself, especially at the time. His biography is important when reading any of his books since he's not shy about putting his own philosophy into his interpretation of historical events.
Durant seems to hold the authority of the man of the family over the family as one of the cornerstones of civilization. This is not an unreasonable attitude on his part given the time he lived, but it, like the Christian religion, is fundamental to his interpretations. Civilizations start with many restrictions, but a unity of purpose generally survival , until they achieve a certain level of success. It's a scary thought since we seem to be in just such a position at this time.
Some of the heights of civilization were enjoyed under smart, benevolent tyrants. He sees the main cause of societal decay as the corruption of morals on every level from the individual on up, mostly due to the lack of religion. Both are important, but I don't think he ever said "Dark Ages". And then he goes over the Papacy several times from several different angles until I was totally bored with it. There was even a note of contempt for the peasants at times.
His interpretations of the former weren't really germane nor am I sure how accurate they are.
Some clashed with other things I've read, but I'm not well enough informed nor interested enough to have an opinion. I can highly recommend the first half of this book. Read it if you want an apologist view of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. View 2 comments. Sep 25, Siddharth Nishar rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction.
Durant took up the task of summarizing his epic eleven volume summarization of history in the interests of the average reader whose attention span grew shorter with the advent, development and cultivation of mass media. Durant has succeeded in presenting not just the facts but rather the tapestry of knowledge, untainted by his passion and emotion Durant took up the task of summarizing his epic eleven volume summarization of history in the interests of the average reader whose attention span grew shorter with the advent, development and cultivation of mass media.
Durant has succeeded in presenting not just the facts but rather the tapestry of knowledge, untainted by his passion and emotion when pulling together multitudes of narratives into a coherent story. There is synthesis of a mind-boggling number of events and facts, opinions and judgments. Durant does all the hard work for you while leaving you space to decide what you want to feel about the matter. The author sticks to his promise of narrating the story of man via its heroes, easing the consumption of the uncompromised complexity of the ages, intelligently carrying most of history in the CONTEXTS of the stories of men.
Focus is primarily on the interaction of the human and non-human entities. The fluidity of these entities is beautifully captured as he traces them through the chapters, recalls earlier references and makes comparisons as if to say that history repeats itself, but only in graduations. He zooms out and zooms in with practiced ease and lends to the book a variety of dimensions if not considerations.
Caution should be practiced in reading the book, since like any other passionate author, his emotions carry biases, even if admirably checked. He is frank with his favorites throughout history and does not hesitate to share awe or disgust, in measured terms. Philosophy is drawn out from acts of nations and men, reaffirming his claim of being a philospher that writes history. Personally, these features add to the narration the verve that does more good than bad. The book suffers in grace and rhythm, perhaps owing to the order of magnitude condensation of facts.
One feels that the length of the book disallowed the author digressions that would have better carried his spirit if not his purpose. There is omission: he discusses the Medieval period in a lopsided manner, almost completely ignoring the Islamic Golden Age, the New World, the "Dark" part of Dark Ages, giving up the space for a zoomed in commentary of the Church's role in the politics of Europe. It is difficult to like this book and not ache to read the eleven volumes of Story of Civilization.
HEROES OF HISTORY: A Brief History of Civilization from Ancient Times to the Dawn of the Modern Age
Jan 30, Alex Telander rated it liked it Shelves: books-read-in The well-known author of the last century, Will Durant, died in This manuscript was found only a year ago practically in its completed form. It is a treasure of the literary world. The result was a most unique series which had the unintended effect of appeari The well-known author of the last century, Will Durant, died in The result was a most unique series which had the unintended effect of appearing too daunting to average readers with its great size.
So in the seventies Durant began working on a single word that would condense the eleven volumes into one book, with twenty-two chapters on specific ages and people in the history of civilization. While he was writing chapter twenty-two, he died shortly after the death of his wife.
The manuscript disappeared and was not discovered until Heroes of History is a book with a hundred history classes in just pages, a gem that any history buff should own. Originally published on May 13th For over book reviews, and over 40 exclusive author interviews both audio and written , visit BookBanter. View 1 comment. Mar 01, Viji Bookish endeavors rated it really liked it Shelves: close-to-heart , non-fiction. A book to treasure.. It was a wonderful experience,reading it..
Not too much beating around the bush,not too brief,this book describes just those things that influenced the history of mankind in a big way. It is more like a general reader's handbook of world history. The personal touch in the writing style,rather than the dull descriptive way of writing,adds to the charm,giving one a feel of getting personally acquainted with most of the personalities described in the book..
But at certain place A book to treasure..
Heroes of History - British Columbia Libraries - OverDrive
But at certain places I felt that he was becoming too Christian in his approach. And that's the only thing I felt uncomfortable about this book..
Well, to me this was a way to try something else for a while, something other than just fiction and literature. So, I said why not go back to learn more history, as I am also a big fan of history and I do believe that we have so much to learn from what ever happened in the past, so we can be better prepared for what may happen in the near future. This is a very, very compressed version of the history of civilization and religion, but I would stress a lot the fact it is an extremely compressed ver Well, to me this was a way to try something else for a while, something other than just fiction and literature.
This is a very, very compressed version of the history of civilization and religion, but I would stress a lot the fact it is an extremely compressed version - there is a quick review of what happened over the years in history, but many, many events are left untouched or unmentioned. It is educative and we all can learn something from this book, but in my opinion, it is not to be taken as a full comprehensive version, as it is not.
I would categorize it as a pleasant review and a quick refresh of some of the most significant events and heroes in the history. In my opinion, it is not however something to be used as a unique reference, as it lacks significant events. I've been absurdly busy lately, but with little listening here and a little there, I was able to finish this audiobook. I think the title in misleading. Its a brief history of 1,s of years crammed into pages.
Durant spent most of his time writing about Rome, Greece, Jesus, church history, the renaissances, Popes, the crusades, the reformation and plenty of other tragedies. Wonderful book. Its my first time reading Will Durrant and I am very impressed. He walks you through history with such familiarity you'd think he'd lived through it all. The book reads like a conversation rather than a lecture. Mar 22, Heidi Burkhart rated it it was amazing.
I am a big fan of the Durant's writing. Another wonderful book. Dec 13, Devin rated it liked it Shelves: on-hold , nonfiction. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Women likely developed agriculture while men were away hunting and domesticated animals.
Man is woman's last domestic animal. Virtue had to be redefined as a quality that made for the survival of the group. Nature and civilization are at conflict: Individualistic instincts so deeply rooted in the long hunting stage of human history and the social instincts more weakly developed by a recently settled life. Most states are still in a state of nature: a successful war is a nation's way of eating p Women likely developed agriculture while men were away hunting and domesticated animals.
Most states are still in a state of nature: a successful war is a nation's way of eating p. Voltaire's conclusion was that history is "the record of the crimes and follies of mankind" p. The Right Way he said is to shun the works and tricks of the intellect, and lead a life of quiet rusticity in harmony with nature and ancient customs and ideas.
Inventions add to the strength of the strong and the wealth of the rich p. Lao-Tze is all about retreat and passivity. Lao-tze says "All things in nature work silently. They come into being and possess nothing. They fulfill their function and make no claim. All things alike do their work, and then we see them subside. When they have reached heir bloom each returns to its origin Returning to their origin means rest, or fulfillment of destiny. This reversion is an eternal law. To know that law is wisdom" Quiescence, a kind of philosophical inaction, a refusal to interfere with the natural courses of things, is the mark of a wise man in every field.
Passivity has its victories more often than action. Wisdom cannot be transmitted by words, only by example and experience. Confucius was magistrate for a kingdom named Lu. After his Duke neglected his duties, he resigned and wandered for 30 years with his pupils. At the end of his life he returned to his native state in simplicity and honor.
His basic philosophy was to restore morality and social order by spreading education he disseminated education through word of mouth, not through books. He believed reform began with the individual first, in his home, then deeper into his own mind and knowledge. Chapter 8: From Plato to Alexander On Athens after the war: "The middle class, as well as the rich, began to distrust democracy as empowered envy p.
He went on to portray a 'second-best' state, organizaed around a system of education open to all, and ruled by 'guardians', aged fifty, who had went under the severest tests of the educational mill. The guardians should have no property, money, wives, but should be dedicated to plain living and high philosophy; they should be a communistic isle ruling a surrounding sea of free enterprise. All children are brought up by the state, and give equal educational opportunity. Women are given equal chances as men. Politics is the art of compromise between the classes that constitute a society.
All men are created unequal, and the upper classes will as readily revolt if an unnatural equality is enforced, as the lower classes will rebel when inequality is unnaturally extreme. So Aristotle favored a 'timocracy' rule by honor --a combination of aristocracy and democracy, in which the suffrage would be restricted to property owners, and a numerous middle class would be the pivot and balance wheel of power.
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He was a pupil of Aristotle. According to Plutarch, he had a "violent thirst and passion for learning, and this increased as time went on". May 25, Lesley rated it it was ok. This review is entirely my fault for picking the wrong book. It's just that I am not a fan of old school history. I should have picked a more contemporary book. Mar 01, Ken McGorry rated it really liked it. Folks, my reviewing any work by historic historian Durant is like Milli Vanilli reviewing Dylan. Anyway, Will Durant wrote "Heroes of History" late in life, after a long, illustrious career which started in the s often writing with Ariel, his wife.
To Durant, true heroes are philosophers because they inform how people, and therefore leaders and maybe generals and eventually popes, view the changing world around them. They're what we today would call "thought leaders. There's plenty of da Vinci code-free and Shakespeare and some intense figures you might not expect. Will Durant was first and foremost a philosopher, so the ancient Greeks of course get a good turn. You'll immediately see that Durant was also a consummate writer. He never fails to place his many characters squarely in the world of their contemporaries, thereby intensifying their achievements.
Two take-aways: Medieval times were a bloody mess, and Durant really liked Francis Bacon. Also, I'm an insomniac. An action novel tends to keep me awake as intended ; history, on the other hand Apr 17, D. Morrese rated it liked it. Durant's 'heroes' of history are far from perfect. In most cases, their flaws exceed their virtues. But there is no doubt they were all influential. What I find most interesting is that in times of crisis, someone invariably arises who provides a pivot point that shifts the flow of history one way or another. Four years before his death, Will Durant began work on an abbreviated version of his highly acclaimed eleven-volume series, 'The Story Of Civilization'.
The project was conceived as a series of audio lectures, but Durant soon realised that the dialogues could be developed into a book that would serve as a wonderfully readable introduction to the subject of history. Enter your Postcode or Suburb to view availability and delivery times. See Terms for more information. Durant completed twenty-one of a proposed twenty-three chapters before his death in , at the age of ninety-six.
Those chapters span thousands of years of human history - from Confucius to Shakespeare, from the Roman Empire to the Reformation, finally ending in the eighteenth century. The manuscript was recently found by Will Durant scholar John Little - twenty years after Durant finished it - and its discovery is a major event, not only for lovers of his prose, but for students of history and philosophy the world over. It is the lessons of our heritage passed on for the edification and benefit of future generations - a fitting legacy from America's most beloved historian and philosopher.