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Heroes of History: A Brief History of Civilization from Ancient Times to the Dawn of the Modern Age [Hardcover]

By Will Durant (Author)
Our Price $ 23.38  
Retail Value $ 27.50  
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Item Number 150179  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   352
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.5" Width: 6.5" Height: 1"
Weight:   1.31 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 6, 2001
Publisher   Simon & Schuster
ISBN  0743226127  
EAN  9780743226127  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
In the tradition of his own bestselling masterpieces "The Story of Civilization" and "The Lessons of History, " Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Will Durant here traces the lives and ideas of those who have helped to define civilization, from its dawn to the beginning of the modern world.

Four years before his death, Will Durant began work on an abbreviated version of his highly acclaimed eleven-volume series, "The Story of Civilization." The project was conceived as a series of audio lectures, but Durant soon realized that the dialogues could be developed into a book that would serve as a wonderfully readable introduction to the subject of history.

Durant completed twenty-one of a proposed twenty-three chapters before his death in 1981, at the age of ninety-six. Those chapters span thousands of years of human history -- from Confucius to Shakespeare, from the Roman Empire to the Reformation, finally ending in the eighteenth century. The manuscript was recently found by Will Durant scholar John Little -- twenty years after Durant finished it -- and its discovery is a major event, not only for lovers of his prose, but for students of history and philosophy the world over.

"Heroes of History" is a book of life-enhancing wisdom and optimism, complete with Durant's wit, knowledge, and unique ability to explain events and ideas in simple, exciting terms. It is the lessons of our heritage passed on for the edification and benefit of future generations -- a fitting legacy from America's most beloved historian and philosopher.

Will Durant's popularity as America's favorite teacher of history and philosophy remains undiminished by time. His books are accessible to readers of every kind, and his unique ability to compress complicated ideas and events into a few pages without ever "talking down" to the reader, enhanced by his memorable wit and a razor-sharp judgment about men and their motives, made all of his books huge bestsellers. "Heroes of History" carries on this tradition of making scholarship and philosophy understandable to the general reader, and making them good reading, as well.

At the dawn of a new millennium and the beginning of a new century, nothing could be more appropriate than this brilliant book that examines the meaning of human civilization and history and draws from the experience of the past the lessons we need to know to put the future into context and live in confidence, rather than fear and ignorance.

Will Durant's work is marked by his own special quality as a writer -- he is tough-minded, optimistic, courageous, and convinced that without a knowledge of the past there is no wisdom to guide us to the future. "Heroes of History" was his last word on the subject, and much of it has been aimed directly at the doubts and fears of people today. It is a major, and unexpected, literary and historical event.

This book is also available on audio tape and CD format, read by Will and Ariel Durant. If you would like more information on this and other products featuring Will Durant's life-enhancing philosophy, we encourage you to visit the web site at

Buy Heroes of History: A Brief History of Civilization from Ancient Times to the Dawn of the Modern Age by Will Durant from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780743226127 & 0743226127

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More About Will Durant

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Will Durant (1885-1981) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize (1968) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977). He spent more than fifty years writing his critically acclaimed eleven-volume series, "The Story of Civilization "(the later volumes written in conjunction with his wife, Ariel). A champion of human rights issues, Durant's writing still educates and entertains readers around the world.

Will Durant was born in 1885 and died in 1981.

Will Durant has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Audio Editions
  2. Touchstone Books (Paperback)

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Early Civilization   [640  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > History > World > General   [35342  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > History > World   [1586  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > History & Surveys   [1194  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Masterful guidance through history!  Nov 30, 2007
Will Durant opened many doors into the past for me with his books. Tho history can sometimes be dry as dust, the author will move you along with his inexhaustible wit. My other favorites of his are,

The Story of Civilization By Will Durant Complete 11 Volumes (Hardcover 1963-1975) (The Story of Civilization, Volumes 1 to 11)

Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers
Excellent introduction to Will Durant  Jul 14, 2007
I have never read his acclaimed Story of Civilization series in its entirety. I have however glanced through them from time to time to look up information. The book entitled "Rosseau & Revolution" was instrumental for me when I wrote my final paper for my B.A. in History. I decided to pick this up because I was not yet ready to commit myself to the 11 volume set. I figured this was a good starting point to get an idea of whether or not I would enjoy the larger work.

What needs to be understood is that this is NOT a condensed version of the Story of Civilization. It does follow the time arc of the Story of Civilization. It has a completely different aim. This book focuses on the individuals of civilization. He starts off with the Eastern Philosophers such as in his words "the boy called Siddartha Gautama" and finishes with the great Shakespeare. Now, don't get me wrong, a book of this size can never do justice to the individuals written about here whether it is Virgil or Leonardo and so forth. But this book was not intended to be for anyone but the general reader. He paints a wonderful picture of the achievements of the various individuals he discusses. His love for history is abundantly clear in his writing.

The only thing that kept me from giving it a perfect 5 star rating is that the book is not finished, nor will it ever be. Durant was unable to finish the final 2 chapters before his death. Second, while his literary style is unparalleled among writers of history, the writing feels a bit more disjointed as the book moves towards the later chapters. I suspect he probably was planning to polish the writing a bit more until he ran out of time. But the overall quality of the information presented here does not lose its importance. It's more of a personal criticism on my part.

For anyone with an interest in world history or curiosity about Will Durant, this is a highly recommended book. There was no one who could paint such a vivid picture of history like Will could.
Must Read  Apr 12, 2007
Profound and thought-provoking. A really wonderful read, particularly for those who are well-read in the underlying topics he covers. Immersing yourself in his thought process is more important than accepting his conclusions.
Good, but not exactly what I though it was  May 27, 2006
When I was a boy I remember my father receiving the complete Story of Civilization series by Will Durant and his enthusiasm for them, and for the man. To my impressionable young self the books became tinged with a sense of awe and power until they seemed like religious icons. It was like we had a piece of the Shroud of Turin or something equivalent. In these books was....everything. The entire history of the world. That was so amazing. Yet even more amazing to my eight year-old mind was the fact that ONE man knew everything. And he wrote it down! How can one man know everything? The entire and complete history of the world? That was pretty impressive to my young self and it is still pretty impressive to my middle-aged self. I was a little young at 8 years old to tackle the Story of Civilization, and my dad wasn't too keen on me thumbing through his treasures, but I decided that someday I would read those books. I recalled that resolve a few months ago and decided to order the Story of Civilization from this site. I was disappointed to find that I can't get hardback versions right now, and I don't see how they could ever work as paperbacks, so I'll have to keep haunting garage sales and used bookstores for now.

I have always thought that I should someday like to write a book about heroes through history, those men and women who through their wisdom, compassion, character and their heroic actions or nature have influenced the world for the better. I was somewhat disappointed when I was looking for the History of Civilization hardbacks to discover that Will Durant had already written Heroes of History. Darn it. But I will probably never get around to it and I was sure Mr. Durant could do a better job anyway so I just ordered his version.

Apparently Mr. Durant made a number of audio essays in the seventies in a prescient anticipation of books on tape. These audio tapes were condensed lectures meant to inform, educate, and entertain the public and to be more accessible to the general public than the Story of Civilization books which are somewhat formidable and daunting to your average American and to my 8 year old self. Mr. Durant adapted those audio tapes later into what amounts to a very condensed and abridged version of his larger work. Essentially he cut the complete version of his Story of Civilization from what must be about 20,000 pages down to 300. That is this book. It is not what I thought it was though. I was hoping that he had picked what he considered the 100 most heroic figures in history and written their stories.

Despite this book not being what I thought it was, I did sit down and read most of it today. I am of mixed minds on this book. On the one hand the man is a genius, writes extremely well (particularly so since he was over ninety when he drafted this book), and he is easily readable, clear, and thought-provoking. I did not intend to read the whole book today, but I kind of just kept going, even when I didn't mean to do so, which is a testament both to his skill and the fact that his writing is interesting as well as informative.

On the other hand, you can't really condense the Story of Civilization to 300 pages and when you try you run the risk of having to leave out whole swathes of history and even critical information about the periods you do talk about. I understand the problem though. He is trying to teach as much as he can to someone in 300 pages before that someone loses interest and wanders away. The book is also a little choppy because the chapters are actually adapted from the audiotapes and there are segues which, while they may work fine in a fireside chat context, are more than a little jarring in book format.

So, in my humble opinion, Durant is a genius and a pleasure to read, even compellingly readable, but this book is not what I thought it was (that's assuredly my fault for not reading the description and just leaping to a conclusion from the title) and I am not sure how well this book actually works. I actually want to read his entire work and always have, and reading this kind of choppy overview just confirmed that desire even more. Durant is great, I am going to read the whole history (my dad didn't, hah!), and I am going to love it. But since I am going to do the whole thing I really don't need the condensed version which, through no real fault of Durant's, just doesn't work that well. There is just no way to put the whole history of the world in 300 pages, so you have to leave things out, and as soon as you do that people are going to start second-guessing you about your editorial decisions. For example, I can't figure out why 12th century troubadors are worthy of making the cut but Leonidas and the Byzantine and Ottoman empires do not.

My advice: buy the whole history not the condensed version. If you don't want to do the entire Story of Civilization with me then this is a fine and compelling introduction to Durant. Just be warned that it isn't really about heroes, and that at 300 pages you are going to miss out on a lot of history but what you do get is fascinating and very readable.
another volume from gram and grams  Aug 10, 2005
a wonderful non text book for young people to begin to realize that they aren't the firsts to experience so many things in the world and that history can repeat itself.

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