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Old October 17th, 2014, 11:00 PM   #11
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So, people who have read this: does the series have a unifying narrative, or do the individual volumes work just as well on their own? Because I really don't need a "Reader's Digest" version of classical or medieval history, but some of the volumes appear to cover a period much more broadly than any books I know...
From the two volumes I have, they seem to be taken as stand alone books.
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Old October 18th, 2014, 03:47 AM   #12

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One thing I don't like is the French perspective of the author (Rousseau and Revolution, the Age of Napoleon). Imagine an American writer's version of the set: Our Oriental Heritage, The Life of Greece, Caesar and Christ, Fires of Faith, the renaissance, the reformation, The Founding of America, The Age of Washington, The Shoot Out at the OK Corral...LOL.
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Old October 18th, 2014, 06:01 AM   #13

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I haven't read the whole thing straight trough, but that isn't what this work is about. It is a secondary History reference source. The books reflect the personal biases and views of its authors, and doesn't pretend otherwise. Notes, bibliographies, and indexes are complete and reliable. This is a set that we often visit first when surveying a subject we might want to know a lot more about. The Story of Civilization is more than adequate for most people and for most historical backgrounds. It is far superior to most survey histories before, or since its publication.

The set was published in very large numbers, so finding an inexpensive set isn't difficult. Often wannabe intellectuals bought them and they only collected dust, so used copies are often in very good condition.
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Old November 26th, 2014, 06:32 PM   #14
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It's nothing like a Reader's Digest version of history. It's massive in scope and unique in the way it incorporates cultural accomplishments and anecdotes along with historical events. Not least Durant's prose is outstanding and superior to that of most history writers today.
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Old December 9th, 2014, 08:15 PM   #15

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One thing I don't like is the French perspective of the author (Rousseau and Revolution, the Age of Napoleon). Imagine an American writer's version of the set: Our Oriental Heritage, The Life of Greece, Caesar and Christ, Fires of Faith, the renaissance, the reformation, The Founding of America, The Age of Washington, The Shoot Out at the OK Corral...LOL.

The French revolution and the age of Napoleon affected all of Europe, not abstractly but directly, through the Corsican's conquest. American history would be pertinent only to Americans; French history moved all of European history, at that time. As they said, "when France sneezes, Europe catches cold".
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Old February 23rd, 2015, 11:59 PM   #16

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They work on their own. I have seven of his books/volumes. I bought them many years ago, one by one, at that time they were quite expensive for my budget, but worth reading.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 01:03 AM   #17

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It starts with a condescending and self-serving definiton of "civilisation" and goes downhill from there.
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Old January 30th, 2017, 09:20 PM   #18
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Dan Howard has evidently not read SoC.

Nor has anyone who did not fall in love with it as I did, and so many have also.

The main critics of this series seem to fall into a category of intellect I learned by direction of Will Durant himself, the data seeking vs the resemblance seeking intellect. A resemblance finder will identify large schemas and struggle with details, while a data collector will measure things and lose sight of their worth and cohesive importance.

Durant is a resemblance finder, a philosopher reciting history, something he never misses the opportunity to quote the ancients asking for. Most of all, this series will give you an example of a contemplative mind's consideration of all ideas and conclusion on the best incorporated to form a wisely led life.
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Old February 4th, 2017, 07:25 AM   #19
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Durant was a dumb guy who contributed negatively in praising the dumb non-achievements of pre-colonial native tribal cultures, giving modern nostalgiacs an excuse for pursuing their fancy hat dream histories that almost entirely, or at least to an unimaginably large extent, contradict real histories as formulated by ostensibly neutral historical sources.
This is ridiculous. He simply shows that there was history by other cultures than the Europeans.

BTW this is not coming from some sjw white-guilt loser.
FWIW I am more than half way through volume 2 (Greeks). It is better than volume 1.
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Old February 4th, 2017, 07:38 AM   #20
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I am happy I started SoC. I will read all 11 volumes. This work is nothing short of incredible. I plan on getting my masters in US history. Durant's work will give me a better foundation of Western Civilization than I would otherwise have had. I can't recommend it enough.

Last edited by Utah Jay; February 4th, 2017 at 07:51 AM.
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