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4.4 out of 5 stars22
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on January 24, 2016
Clear, informative and courageous attempt to summarize volumes of history in 110 pages.
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on October 15, 2015
great book, but i'm left a bit confused at times since it references a whole bunch of different events in history to make their points without explaining the events in detail. I had to look them up to see what the durants are talking about. Great book nonetheless.
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on August 7, 2015
This book is well-written but one has to realize that it dates back to 1966. The philosophy behind it is interesting but I have had some misgivings about what it stated on examples taken from the history of France, for instance. What is fun is to realize where Will and Ariel Durant were right and where they were wrong in their projections.
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on May 30, 2015
livre neuf arrivé à temps
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on May 11, 2015
This short volume was in one of my Amazon recommendations and I purchased it because, hey, who doesn't like summation-history with life lessons clearly laid out. Boy was I wrong. The authors deal with topics in such brevity and such a one-sided view that I have heard more compelling discussions in a university pub with drunken undergrads.

If you want a "lessons from history" subject - go for J. Rufus Fear's audiobooks from TTC (Greek Lives, Roman Lives) as he sums up Plutarch's Histories against the backdrop that ancient lives can teach us something about our moral character. It was way more rewarding to get through that series than this volume.
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on March 2, 2015
It's a relatively short volume. I found some interesting generalizations and ideas in it. One peculiar feature of this book, is that being written awhile ago, it was not as constrained by demands of political correctness. At the same time, it does not leave an impression of rigorous scientific work. It's certainly good for non-specialists, and requires very little prior historical knowledge.
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on November 5, 2014
Superb book
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on April 1, 2013
After hearing Benjamin Netanyahu recommend the book on a Larry King interview I purchased it. Disappointing is an understatement. While there are a couple of interesting observations the majority of the book feels dated and it contained only a few insights worth considering as useful.
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Will and Ariel Durant have taken 3500 years of history, and withdrawn some of civilizations greatest lessons. How they kept this book to one hundred pages, is quite the accomplishment.

The Durant team make it very clear, that the same issues that bedeviled previous generations, are the exact same set of current contentions. This is what makes the book a great read. The reader is introduced to timeless themes, that every society will sooner or later confront.

The book is written is a straight forward and easy to read format. The Durant duo provide an outstanding introduction, to the events of world history. I give this book my highest endorsement.
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on January 13, 2004
This is the first book that I discuss in my national security lecture on the literature relevant to strategy & force structure. It is a once-in-a-lifetime gem of a book that sums up their much larger ten volume collection which itself is brilliant but time consuming. This is the "executive briefing."
Geography matters. Inequality is natural. Famine, pestilence, and war are Nature's way of balancing the population.
Birth control (or not) has *strategic* implications (e.g. see Catholic strategy versus US and Russian neglect of its replenishment among the higher social and economic classes).
History is color-blind. Morality is strength. Worth saying again: morality is strength.
See my various lists. This book, John Lewis Gaddis on "The Landscape of History", and Stewart Brand "The Clock of the Long Now" are among my "top ten of all time".
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