The Age of Reason Begins : The Story of Civilization

  • by Will Durant, Ariel Durant
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • Series: The Story of Civilization
  • 34 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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- Michael "I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read."

Very Enjoyable

Any additional comments?

Every sentence is worth reading. The author is not only a very good historian, he is a master at telling the story in a way that engages the reader and naturally leads from one part to another.

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- Timothy "Geek Hippie Teacher Techie. Love history, Fantasy, classic SciFi, Science books, and short stories."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-23-2015
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.