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    Description

    The second volume of Will Durant's Pulitzer Prize - winning series The Story of Civilization. Volume 2 chronicles the history of ancient Greek civilization. Here Durant tells the whole story of Greece from the days of Crete's vast Aegean empire to the final extirpation of the last remnants of Greek liberty, crushed under the heel of an implacably forward-marching Rome. The dry minutiae of battles and sieges, of tortuous statecraft of tyrant and king, get minor emphasis in what is preeminently a vivid recreation of Greek culture, brought to the listener through the medium of supple, vigorous prose.

    In this masterful work, listeners will learn about:

    • The siege of Troy
    • The great city-states of Athens and Sparta
    • The heroes of Homer's epics
    • The gods and lesser deities of Mount Olympus
    • The teachings of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle
    • The empire of Alexander the Great

    ©1966 Will Durant (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

    Ce que les auditeurs disent de The Life of Greece

    Notations
    Global
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    Commentaires - Veuillez sélectionner les onglets ci-dessous pour changer la provenance des commentaires.

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    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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      4 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Michael
    • 25/01/2014

    Great Series Don’t be Intimidated by 500 hours

    I hope many people listen to these first two in the series to encourage Audible to get the rest. This is the second of The Story of Civilization series covering the history of Greece. I had read this in hardback and listened to it on cassette many years ago but enjoyed it every bit as much this third time. The narration annoyed me a bit when I started to listen, it seemed way too slow, but as the book gathered steam and ideas were flying at my head faster than I could cope, I came to appreciate the slower pace. The narration is still slightly dry for my tastes, but after an hour or so I really found the writing came through nicely.

    The author’s tone is really pleasant, making the history human and approachable, ribald, and interesting. This material is perhaps a bit better known that almost every other volume in the series, but I (re)learned more on this third go through than I learn from most books. The material comes from a very western perspective and was written in the forties thus is sometime dated both in research and in political correctness. Nevertheless this is worthwhile reading for almost any adult reader. At over 32 hours this book seemed unbelievably short. This is a sit in your car in the parking lot to finish the chapter good book. After just finishing the first two at over 80 hours, one might think I would be ready for a break from history, but instead I am in a funk at having to wait for the next volume not yet in Audible format.

    Some dislike the thematic instead of chronological approach to history, but I much prefer it. This story follows the trails of events and ideas and blood through time, then jumps back to another trail seeing some of the same events and characters again from another perspective.

    Many might hesitate from taking on a 500+ hour series, but I would encourage any adult to give these a try. This series helps put every other book you read, and every news story you hear, in context. It shows both how little, and how much, has changed over the millennia.

    48 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
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      4 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      4 out of 5 stars
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    • Gary
    • 11/05/2014

    Studying the parts gives us the whole

    Durant is history for those who do not like history. He covers the topic mostly by using a thematic approach tied with an overriding narrative.

    It takes the author a while to get into his own voice, but when he does the book comes alive and the history and the wisdom of the Greeks will live within the listener. He muddles his way through the first six chapters by speculating about pre-Homeric Greece and than using Homer as an authoritative source for history. It's worth wading through those eight or so hours to get to the real story.

    At about 700 BCE, he starts talking about Sparta and contrasting that with Athens, and the author develops his real theme, "individualism leads to the destruction of the group, but gives creativity and progress". This is when the book comes alive! Sparta gives perfect order, Athens gives birth to the individual's growth at some expense to the whole. This story is worth telling. The story of Greece is a metaphor for this dichotomy (Plato and the Cave verse Aristotle's knowledge through observation and the values from the individual).

    In two different spots in the narrative the author clues you into this dichotomy. When he talks about the Book of Ezra and how the question of evil is answered by stating that a part of the universe can never understand the whole universe and the question should never even be asked. The second time within the book he delves into Epicurean thought and explains that for the Epicurean the individual is only part of the whole and the group must be made of the parts as contrasted with a Stoic Philosophy that the group is understandable by the individual.

    The book is not without flaws. The first 8 or so hours is muddled and can easily be skipped. He spends way too much detail telling me about the Greek Plays. He makes weird statements like, "even the Jew, the least superstitious of all people uses the word Mazel tov when greeting people".

    When the author writes in his own voice and ties the pieces together through his narrative, nobody covers history better. In the end, Greece with it's individual city states gave us our heritage of valuing individual thought and the Romans will give us their structure for appreciating social order. I'll be looking forward to listening to Durant's spin on the Romans and their History.

    16 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Julie
    • 04/05/2015

    Best western history series ever written

    I've read the whole series over several years and am now going back to listen to them. The author is insightful, humorous and eloquent. I cannot recommend the series highly enough. It would not be an overstatement to say this broad sketch of the history of western civilization contributed to a change of my worldview. (This title is one of eleven.)Durant is a joy to read.

    7 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Histoire
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    • Shannon
    • 04/02/2015

    Audible needs to have the entire 11 volume series!

    I'm loving the series and haven't even always listened in order. Audible needs to finish out making the whole series available. Many of us would commit to purchase them.

    7 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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      5 out of 5 stars
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      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Amazon Customer
    • 22/04/2015

    Stefan Rudnicki brings history to life

    This grand and epic history was originally published in 1939, but surprisingly the pages are still filled with insights, even if a few areas and ideas are dated. Overall, you can see why the book is still a classic. Stefan Rudnicki does an excellent reading of this very long work, infusing it with emotion and interest without overdoing it. His intelligence comes through and combines with that of the author. Pronunciations of all sorts of challenging names and words are accurate and graceful.

    4 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
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    • KEVIN E FARRIS
    • 13/04/2015

    My favorite of the best work of history produced by one scholar & his devoted and equally brilliant wife.

    First of all, Will Durant writes unlike any historian I have been exposed to. A truly masterful storyteller that weaves the tale of the humanity’s transition from barbarism to civilization — an absurdly massive subject to ponder, much less write down in such erudite, readable and beautiful prose — into a gripping narrative. I admittedly love history and this is, in one man’s opinion, is the best work of history ever written. It’s eleven (11) volumes, for Pete’s sake, and every paragraph is dense with knowledge. He is a philosopher writing history, which is the ideal combination as you get analysis & synthesis of the vast knowledge gifted by this series.

    Written in, I believe it was 1930’s, it contains a bit of sexist and, I don’t want to say racist, but it is a period piece from a white man in the 30’s so it has a hint of the flaws of the age, but one must give Will Durant his due for taking on an endeavor such as this. He readily admits the flaws of the book and writes with humor and humility.

    I recommend the entire series in order. This is the fourth time I am listening to the series and it’s no less an intellectual feast with mew discoveries each time; and after the appropriate time passes, I will undoubtedly dive in at least one more time, heath permitting.

    I cannot praise the literal life’s work of Will and Ariel Durant enough and am a far better person for having consumed and wrestled with the understanding and stark realities you must face in such deep, serious scholarship... but it’s done without dwelling on the negatives and with plenty of humor. A pleasure to read every time and certainly one of the greatest contributions to scholarship one will ever find. Time exceedingly well spent; even more so in an era so lacking in deep and thoughtful scholarship in favor of instant gratification. I suspect there will never be another work like The Story of Civilization.

    4 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
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    • Darwin8u
    • 12/03/2019

    Civilization is always older than we think.

    "Civilization does not die, it migrates; it changes its habitat and its dress, but it lives on. The decay of one civilization, as of one individual, makes room for the growth of another; life sheds the old skin, and surprises death with fresh youth."
    - Will Durant, The Life of Greece

    Will Durant, during his strongest moments in book 2, transfers his love of Greek history, philosophy, art, and civilization elegantly to the reader. He captures the history of Greece, but also places Greece firmly within the greater context Western Civilization, history, and our current philosophy, science, and art. He is weakest when he aggregating and acting as an art historian or literary critic; he both tries to summarize the work AND the artist and excels at neither.

    Durant's approach (and with Hellenic Civilization it is difficult to find a perfect approach) takes the reader from city-state to city-state (which often yo-yos the reader in time). Like with Book 1, I loved Durant's imagry, metaphors, and well-formed lines. Here is just a sample from Book 1 of the Story of Civilization 2: The Life of Greece:

    "It is as difficult to begin a civilization without robbery as it is to maintain it without slaves" (10).
    "But we must not mistake our guessing for history" (15).
    "...the patient perfecting of litttle things" (16).
    "...a nation is born stoic and dies epicurean" (21).
    "By a hundered channels the old civilization emptied itself out into the new" (23).
    "Civilization is always older than we think" (27);
    "...but faith survives every desolation" (33).
    "We shall assume that the major leggends are true in essence, imaginitive in detail" (38).
    "A myth is often a bit of popular wisdom personified in poetic figures...legend is often a fragment of history swelling with new fictions as it folls down the years" (43-44).
    "society is a rumbling cart that travels an uneven road; and no matter how carefully the cart is constituted, some of the varied objects in it will sink to the bottom, and others will rise to the top" (47).
    "Precedent dominates law because precedent is custom, and custom is the jealous older brother of law" (54).
    "Art (to vary Aristotle) may make even terror beautiful -- and so purify it--by giving it significance and form" (56).

    3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
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    • Tony L. Whitaker
    • 19/07/2014

    EXCELLENT ANCIENT GREEK PERSPECTIVE

    Would you consider the audio edition of The Life of Greece to be better than the print version?

    That's hard to say. Having listened and read both each have their own posistives. With reading, you may want to pause while you look up locations on the map to know exactly where the topic is taking place. For comprehension though, and this is according to your ability to listen, the audiobooks are superior to the written word. I will say I own both when I feel the book is that important, i.e., everything by David McCullough, James Lee Burke (brilliant prose), Cormac McCarthy (again, brilliant prose).

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Wow, that is a tough question. But Pythagoras started the ball rolling from a polytheistic culture to one more based on closer examination of everyday occurences.

    What about Stefan Rudnicki’s performance did you like?

    His vocal presence and topic intelligence! Brilliant!

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but too long to do so!

    3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Terrell
    • 13/10/2017

    Glad I got through it

    I knew a fair amount of these stories but what I did learn was well worth it. Some of the lengthy descriptions of statues and art was frankly agonizing. I was also surprised at how little was spent on Alexander. However, overall I left with a much better understanding of how the foundations of western culture evolved as well as why the mediterranean looks like it does today. I'm looking forward to book three.

    2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Barbara C Houston
    • 24/10/2015

    We Are All Greek

    How is it possible that reading a 'dry old history tome' can make me feel so invigorated? Maybe it's because there is nothing dry nor old about Will Durant.

    After reading the first volume of his 10 (TEN) volume history, I had been pleased, but this was even better. I feel proud to be descended from the Greeks.

    2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Utilisateur anonyme
    • 09/11/2020

    Nourishment for the mind

    If you love history there is nothing that compares to this comprehensive book. It is food for the mind and will enlighten you upon the history of Greece which will help you make connections to other parts of history and connect the dots of western thought and enlightenment.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile