The Age of Voltaire : The Story of Civilization

  • by Will Durant, Ariel Durant
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • Series: The Story of Civilization
  • 42 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Age of Voltaire, the ninth volume of The Story of Civilization, is an in-depth examination of France and England in the first half of the 18th century. In this masterful work, listeners will encounter:

The English ideas that inspired the Enlightenment in France - skepticism, scientific experiment, constitutional government, "natural rights", and individual liberty
The salons of Paris, where the wits and thinkers of all Europe gathered to exchange ideas
The philosophers - intellectuals, playwrights, and poets who consulted and consorted with kings and queens
Voltaire himself - the incarnation of the Enlightenment and a devotee of reason who still defended religious faith
Mme. Pompadour, patron of the philosophers, who seduced King Louis XV and through him influenced French policy
The Augustan Age in English literature - Alexander Pope's poetry, Jonathan Swift's satires, and the novels of Samuel Richardson and Henry Fielding


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Voltaire, Frederick, and Bach, Oh My!

This is the 9th book of the 11 book excellent, integrated history, Story of Civilization series. For my review of the series as a whole see my review of “Our Oriental Heritage”. This volume covers 1715 to 1756 in Western Europe including the life and thought of Voltaire, Frederick the Great, Bach, Diderot, and the Encyclopediests. Even if you don’t like reading history, you should give this series a try. This series presents an integrated history of ideas, personalities, and the ebbs and flows of history, and not just dry retellings of events and dates.

The subtleties of the relationship between Voltaire and Frederick is explored, as is the sometimes strained relationships between the Encyclopediests. I have read other histories covering this period but they did not provided as balanced a presentation of these relationships. Much of this volume explores the conflict between religion and philosophy and science. Being an integrated history, the art, science, medicine, rulers, laws, religion, philosophy, and morals of the period are covered.

Wonderfully narrated by Grover Gardner.
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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."

The Most Exquisite History Series

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely. I have read dozens of books on world history, and none compare to the thoroughness, insight into the nature of man via history, and philosophical perspectives and penmanship of Will Durant.

Who was your favorite character and why?


What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

Excellent narrator. His pace, tone, and inflections seem to communicate the meaning of the author's words in an enthusiastic, effective, and effortless manner.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?


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- Arthur Pendragon

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-26-2015
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.