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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great read for fans of history

If you could sum up The History of the Ancient World in three words, what would they be?

Engaging, fascinating, long.


What other book might you compare The History of the Ancient World to, and why?

Honestly, I have not quite read a book like it. It takes history, which is often bloody and confusing and made it accessible without sacrificing quality.


What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

How to pronounce most of the names! They are quite complex and I would not have been able to manage otherwise.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I liked the mentions of women, and how their history was more than likely written by someone who had not bothered to check with them if it was actually correct.


Any additional comments?

Really good read for fans of history. I particularly liked the inclusion of China and India, usually books like this are painfully European-centric. I also enjoyed the discussion on the history of writing.

Be warned this book is not really one for fans of social history, and the lives of everyday people. It concerns itself with rulers, wars and conquerers and their fights and deaths. Some mention is made of culture and traditions but the focus is elsewhere.

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- CP

Entertaining and informative

What did you like most about The History of the Ancient World?

I love Susan Wise Bauer's dry sense of humour, which crops up in the most unexpected places.


Who was your favorite character and why?

The book covers ancient civilisations around the world, based on stories, histories, writings on stones and bones ... and gives a clear insightful view of what can perhaps be considered 'true' history and what can't. There are some lovely insights into people's characters - my favourite being Zimri Lim and his relationship with his younger daughter.


What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

John Lee reads quietly and steadily, changing his voice subtly when he reads quotes.


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- Penguin

Book Details

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