The History of the Ancient World

  • by Susan Wise Bauer
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 26 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A lively and engaging narrative history showing the common threads in the cultures that gave birth to our own.
This is the first volume in a bold new series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about human history. This narrative history employs the methods of "history from beneath" - literature, epic traditions, private letters, and accounts - to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled. The result is an engrossing tapestry of human behavior from which we may draw conclusions about the direction of world events and the causes behind them.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Entertaining history lesson with dry telling.

I enjoyed this brief history. My only complaint is that the voice of the author is completely lost with the choice of narrator. I can hear the levity in the words, but the dry presentation of this material causes a loss of the authors attempt to make the story engaging. In fact some of her hilarious editorial comments are completely lost.
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- S. Seccombe

A twenty six hour sketch

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Most folks my age (mid fifties) who grew up in the States took their 'ancient history' class when they didn't talk about China or the Middle East (aside from Israel) at all. If I had a friend who never took the time to fix that blind spot in their education, I might recommend this book.


What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The ending was the Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon's book on that one subject is five times longer than this entire work. Like so much of this book, the ending seemed rushed.


What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

The tone of his voice.


Could you see The History of the Ancient World being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

This is a good question. The book *would* make an interesting BBC/PBS series. That said, I have to point out that a person usually looks for more depth from a book, than a television series provides.


Any additional comments?

What the author is attempting to do here is very ambitious, but I don't think it succeeds. I'm not sure anyone could have done any better in 26 hours. It is an enormous span of time and geography.

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- K. Doerr

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-13-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios