• The Age of Reason Begins

  • A History of European Civilization in the Period of Shakespeare, Bacon, Montaigne, Rembrandt, Galileo, and Descartes: 1558 - 1648: The Story of Civilization, Book 7
  • By: Will Durant, Ariel Durant
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Series: The Story of Civilization, Book 7
  • Length: 34 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Release date: 01-23-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 4.7 (200 ratings)

Regular price: $38.46

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Publisher's Summary

This seventh volume of Will and Ariel Durant's renowned Story of Civilization chronicles the history of European civilization from 1558 to 1648.
The Age of Reason Begins brings together a fascinating network of stories in the discussion of the bumpy road toward the Enlightenment. This is the age of great monarchs and greater artists - on the one hand, Elizabeth I of England, Philip II of Spain, and Henry IV of France; on the other, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Montaigne, and Rembrandt. It also encompasses the heyday of Francis Bacon, Galileo, Giordano Bruno, and Descartes, the fathers of modern science and philosophy. But it is equally an age of extreme violence, a moment in which all Europe was embroiled in the horrible Thirty Years' War - in some respects, the real first world war. This chapter in cultural history is one that can't be missed.
©1961 Will and Ariel Durant (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Michael on 05-01-15

Mostly 30 Years of War, but Reason bests War

See my review of Volume I for comments of the series.
This is book seven of Durant’s The Story of Civilization.
This, like the other volumes of this series, is wonderful. It is beautifully written, integrated history of Europe over the period between 1559 and 1648. Notwithstanding the title, this only touches on the age of reason at the very end of the volume. Most of the text is dedicated to the struggles in England and the Thirty Years War. The details of war, other than the reasons for the war and the peace, are historical, but not intensely interesting (unless you are really into war). Thus, I did not enjoy this book as much as most of the others, nevertheless the sections on Shakespeare and Bacon, and the very end which covers Galileo and Descartes was fantastic and well worth the 30 years of warfare.

The integrated history attempts to cover all aspects of society in the period, living conditions, industries and commerce, crafts, arts, politics, economics, religion, fads, leaders, and spirit. There are dates, but that is not what it is about. The writing is targeted at general readers with an interest in history, and is a very easy listen.

The narration is clear and powerful and erudite.

I highly recommend this series – at least twice (separated by 10 years). This is my third time.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

By Lori Tian Sailiata/Lara Britt on 03-01-15

Beyond Classic

The entire series is a national treasure. I grew up sifting through the volumes as did my own children. Words cannot convey my delight in finding them in audiobook version. While all three of the narrators are quite gifted, my personal favorite remains Grover Gardner. I'm quite impatient for the rest of the series to be available.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By james on 02-19-15

34 hours of pleasure

Any additional comments?

fantastic ,what an amazing trip through history . it is written well and narrated perfectly , I could not stop listening .

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By RC on 07-23-16


Brilliant. Durant is a brilliant writer. Gardner is a brilliant reader. What's not to love?

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By Daniel on 07-20-17

A Succinct Account of Post Renaissance Europe

Where does The Age of Reason Begins rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Europe and its periphery in the 16th and 17th centuries was a complex and varied world full of players, benefactors and custodians of the Renaissance and Reformations of the previous 3 centuries and one volume cannot hope to give a detailed account. Fortunately for us, this does not prevent Durant and co from having a well good go at it.

This book will give you a detailed, if not in-depth, understanding of key people, events and various influences in action during the age of 'enlightenment' in Western Europe.

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