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The first third of the book takes a very broad brush sweep from palaeolithic age to the end of Greek civilisation. There is no mention of the rise of Mesopotamian city states and their impact on developments in Europe. The remaining two thirds covers the Roman empire with particular emphasis on early Christianity. As a result, the book feels unbalanced, even acknowledging the limited sources for the earlier times. It does take an interesting approach however in using a series of very brief chapters for each period discussed, covering a wide range from agriculture, economics, battles, key personalities, and culture in its widest sense (art and architecture, philosophy, religion, poets and authors etc). The parallels between the Pax Romana/decline of the Roman Empire with modern capitalism are particularly well-drawn. I do not know who is reading this (an omission I have found with many Audible readings), but the listener feels the lecturer is addressing him/her as the sole person in a huge auditorium. Pronunciation of many words, particularly people's and place names is very unfamiliar and difficult to a British ear.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is a very, very thin introduction to the major ancient civilizations. It is like listening to a short podcast, complete with cheesy sound effects and a narrator who sounds less than professional. The narrator has a flat, slightly irate-sounding voice and sighs repeated times. (Maybe he was yawning? I certainly was.)
Imagine a tired, slightly angry man reading Wikipedia for 5 hours, and chapters broken down by a musical flourish from a 1980's synthesizer and a loud, jarring "beep." Every two minutes or so. That was a good thing. The beep stopped me from falling asleep at the wheel while driving.
The content is too thinly skimmed over to really hold the interest of the listener. Like I said, think of an entry in an encyclopedia. If that's what you want, and you don't mind a grumpy narrator, this may be for you.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
The content is VERY superficial, I recognize that this is titled as a survey but some actual insight and content is still appropriate.
On top of that the narration is abysmal, very flat and halting.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful