Our Oriental Heritage : The Story of Civilization

  • by Will Durant
  • Narrated by Robin Field
  • Series: The Story of Civilization
  • 50 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

If you love 'holistic' history, get this!

The first in the staggering and admirable effort of Will Durant.

It is by it's very nature a skimming across the surface of history. But, with the length of the book and it being the first in an eleven-part series, it is a 'detailed skim' if that makes any sense ... it doesn't does it ... oh well, we're sticking with it!

The book is very well written and I found it a joy to listen to from start to finish.

The narrator is great. I ranked him 4 / 5 more because I found him to talk very s l o w l y and found that I had to listen to it at 1.25 x or 1.5 x for it not to be frustrating but that is the only issue.
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- Parnos Munyard

A unique perspective

The prose is excellent, I enjoyed the narration - not perfect, but always clear. Eventually the narrator became a somewhat pleasing companion.

Durant has a unique perspective and a subtle sense of irony, he is positive and conveys his genuine enthusiasm for other cultures through the prism of this gentle philosopher's mind.

Towards the end of this volume, he predicts Japan would enter into military conflict with America in 1934. That is, 8 years before Pearl Harbour, this may not surprise everyone but it surprised me. He broadens our knowledge of the events that unfolded up until 1934.

Over and over you see the mistakes and folly of men and (few) women in power. And through it all, the idealists, artists and ordinary folk who strive to survive to make their civilisation succeed.

One thing for the purists, Durant is very generous with his opinions, this is his romanticised story (which is why the word history is not in the title). I loved it.
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- Rod Wenban

Book Details

  • Release Date: 22-10-2013
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.