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Civilization

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  1. 7.7 hrs • 8/9/2016 • Unabridged

    History has never been more fun—or more intoxicating. Guns, germs, and steel might have transformed us from hunter-gatherers into modern man, but booze, sex, trash talk, and tripping built our civilization. Cracked editor Robert Evans brings his signature dogged research and lively insight to uncover the many and magnificent ways vice has influenced history, from the prostitute-turned-empress who scored a major victory for women’s rights to the beer that helped create—and destroy—South America’s first empire. And Evans goes deeper than simply writing about ancient debauchery; he recreates some of history’s most enjoyable (and most painful) vices and includes guides so you can follow along at home. You’ll learn how to:Trip like a Greek philosopher.Rave like your Stone Age ancestors.Get drunk like a Sumerian.Smoke a nose pipe like a pre–Columbian Native American. A celebration of the brave, drunken pioneers who built our civilization one seemingly bad decision at a time, A Brief History of Vice explores a side of the past that mainstream history books prefer to hide.

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    A Brief History of Vice

    7.7 hrs • 8/9/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    9.3 hrs • 5/31/2016 • Unabridged

    One of the most significant works on our evolutionary ancestry since Richard Leakey’s Origins, The First Signs is the first-ever exploration of the geometric images that accompany most cave art around the world—the first indications of symbolic meaning, intelligence, and language. Imagine yourself as a caveman or cavewoman. The place: Europe. The time: 25,000 years ago, the last Ice Age. In reality, you live in an open-air tent or a bone hut. But you also belong to a rich culture that creates art. In and around your cave paintings are handprints and dots, x’s and triangles, parallel lines and spirals. Your people know what they mean. You also use them on tools and jewelry. And then you vanish—and with you, their meanings. Join renowned archaeologist Genevieve von Petzinger on an Indiana Jones–worthy adventure from the open-air rock art sites of northern Portugal to the dark depths of a remote cave in Spain that can only be reached by sliding face-first through the mud. Von Petzinger looks past the beautiful horses, powerful bison, graceful ibex, and faceless humans in the ancient paintings to the abstract geometric images that accompany them. These terse symbols appear more often than any other kinds of figures—signs that have never really been studied or explained until now. Part travel journal, part popular science, part personal narrative, von Petzinger’s groundbreaking book starts to crack the code on the first form of graphic communication. It’s in her blood, as this talented scientist’s grandmother served as a code breaker at Bletchley. Discernible patterns emerge that point to abstract thought and expression, and for the first time, we can begin to understand the changes that might have been happening inside the minds of our Ice Age ancestors—offering a glimpse of when they became us.

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    The First Signs by Genevieve von Petzinger

    The First Signs

    9.3 hrs • 5/31/16 • Unabridged
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    16.6 hrs • 4/26/2016 • Unabridged

    The extraordinary true story of the rediscovery of the Mayan civilization. In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Empire of Ice, comes the forgotten tale of 19th century American John Lloyd Stephens’s quest to uncover and understand the ancient world’s most advanced civilization amid the jungles of Central America. Imagine The Lost City of Z, except the fabled lost jungle civilization really was found—an “Egypt in the Americas” in which 1,500-year-old pyramids and temples were hidden in impenetrable tropical forests, along with evidence of astonishingly sophisticated art, writing, science, and culture. In 1839, when John Lloyd Stephens, a dashing U.S. special ambassador to Central America, and Frederick Catherwood, an acclaimed British architect and draftsman, set out into the unexplored jungles of the Yucatan, Charles Darwin was aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, the Bible was the basic template of history, and most people believed the world was less than 6,000 years old. Deep in the jungles, they stumbled upon the wondrous ruins of the Mayan civilization—an astonishing find that would change western understanding of human history. In Jungle of Stone, William Carlsen uncovers the rich history of the ruins as he follows Stephens and Catherwood’s journey through present day Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Drawing upon Stephens’s journals and Cather’s magnificent illustrations—which became the bestselling book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan—Carlsen artfully tells the enthralling story of two great voyagers and the world they discovered.

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    Jungle of Stone by William Carlsen

    Jungle of Stone

    16.6 hrs • 4/26/16 • Unabridged
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    22.3 hrs • 12/15/2015 • Unabridged

    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and now a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years. The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist. From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave may have cut off her diseased breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease. Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.

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    The Emperor of All Maladies

    22.3 hrs • 12/15/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 0 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5
    44.5 hrs • 12/1/2015 • Unabridged

    An engrossing volume on European civilization by Pulitzer Prize–winning historians Will and Ariel Durant The Age of Napoleon, the eleventh and final volume of the Story of Civilization, surveys the amazing chain of events that wrenched Europe out of the Enlightenment and into the age of democracy. In this masterful work, listeners will encounter the French Revolution—from the storming of the Bastille to the guillotining of the king; the revolution’s leaders Danton, Desmoulins, Robespierre, Saint-Just—all cut down by the reign of terror they inaugurated; Napoleon’s meteoric rise—from provincial Corsican military student to emperor and commander of the largest army in history; Napoleon’s fall—his army’s destruction in the snows of Russia, his exile to Elba, his escape and reconquest of the throne, and his ultimate defeat at Waterloo by the combined forces of Europe; the birth of Romanticism and the dawning of a new age of active democracy and a rising middle class, laying the foundation for a new era.

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    The Age of Napoleon by Will Durant, Ariel Durant

    The Age of Napoleon

    44.5 hrs • 12/1/15 • Unabridged
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    57.4 hrs • 9/15/2015 • Unabridged

    The Pulitzer Prize–winning volume on European civilization by acclaimed historians Will and Ariel Durant Rousseau and Revolution, the tenth volume of the Story of Civilization, ranges over a Europe in ferment, but centers on the passionate rebel—philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the great exponent of the romantic impulse toward self-exploration and social revolt, who contended with the great rationalist Voltaire for the mind of Europe. Rousseau condemned civilization as a disease, glorified the noble savage, proclaimed to the world with equal intensity his own love affairs and the natural rights of man, and became the patron saint of the revolution and the worldwide social upheavals of two centuries.

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    Rousseau and Revolution by Will Durant, Ariel Durant

    Rousseau and Revolution

    57.4 hrs • 9/15/15 • Unabridged
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    42.9 hrs • 6/1/2015 • Unabridged

    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 eighteenth 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 philosophes—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 philosophes, 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; and the growing parasitism of the aristocracy and rising power of the commercial class.

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    The Age of Voltaire by Will Durant, Ariel Durant

    The Age of Voltaire

    42.9 hrs • 6/1/15 • Unabridged
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    36.5 hrs • 3/15/2015 • Unabridged

    The Age of Louis XIV is the biography of a period (1648–1715) that Spengler considered the apex of modern European civilization. “Some centuries hence,” Frederick the Great correctly predicted to Voltaire, “they will translate the good authors of the age of Pericles and Augustus.” Those authors are lovingly treated here: Pascal, Racine, and Boileau, Madame de Sévigné, Madame de la Fayette, and above all the philosopher-dramatist Molière, who so memorably exposed the vices and hypocrisies of the age. Central to the book is the “Sun King” himself, Louis XIV. Louis XIV ruled France for over seventy years, longer than almost any European ruler in history. He is the subject of a character study that runs through seven chapters, revealing the flesh and blood beneath the purple and the crown. He is seen at his worst in his struggle with Jansenists and Huguenots, at his best in his patronage of literature and art, and at his most human in his love affairs with Henrietta Anne of Orléans, Louise de La Vallière, Madame de Montespan, and Madame de Maintenon. From France the narrative passes to the Netherlands, and after pausing to examine the domestic idylls of Vermeer, shows the Dutch opening their dikes to save their land from Louis XIV and sending William of Orange to become king of England and a leader of the European alliance against Louis’ hegemony. In England we contemplate the heyday of virtue under the Puritans and study the strange character of Cromwell. We see Milton’s passionate career as part of the vain effort to prevent the Stuart Restoration. We find Charles II, the “Merry Monarch,” with more manners than morals, attend boisterous Restoration plays; we skim the diaries of Evelyn and Pepys; and we follow Jonathan Swift from genius to insanity. Crossing the North Sea we trace the tragic heroism of Charles XII of Sweden and the attempt of Peter the Great to lead Russia from barbarism to civilization. We accompany the noble Sobieski of Poland as he rescues Vienna from the Turks. We visit Italy and Spain. We see the Jews proscribed and impoverished in Europe but rising to riches in Amsterdam and following Sabbatai Zevi in a desperate hope of regaining Palestine and freedom. All this forms the background for the “intellectual adventure” of the European mind in its passage from superstition, mythology, and intolerance to education, science, and philosophy, for this was the age when Newton and Leibniz gave simultaneous birth to calculus, when Newton bound the planets and the stars with a chain of universal gravitation. Toward the end of the volume the authors revert to their favorite subject, philosophy, and devote a full chapter, with love and care, to Spinoza. The book ends with the sunset of Le Roi Soleil: Louis punished for his aggressions by a swarm of enemies gathering around him; fighting till his people are destitute and disillusioned, till his treasury and his heart are empty; dying defeated and repentant, begging his grandson and successor not to imitate his taste for splendor and war; and followed in his funeral by the insults of the crowd.

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    The Age of Louis XIV by Will Durant, Ariel Durant

    The Age of Louis XIV

    Directed by Claire Bloom and Cassandra de Cuir
    36.5 hrs • 3/15/15 • Unabridged
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    34.9 hrs • 1/27/2015 • Unabridged

    This seventh volume of Will and Ariel Durant’s renowned Story of Civilization chronicles the history of European civilization from 1558 to 1648. The Age of Reason Begins brings together a fascinating network of stories in the discussion of the bumpy road toward the Enlightenment. This is the age of great monarchs and greater artists—on the one hand, Elizabeth I of England, Philip II of Spain, and Henry IV of France; on the other, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Montaigne, and Rembrandt. It also encompasses the heyday of Francis Bacon, Galileo, Giordano Bruno, and Descartes, the fathers of modern science and philosophy. But it is equally an age of extreme violence, a moment in which all Europe was embroiled in the horrible Thirty Years’ War—in some respects, the real first world war. This chapter in cultural history is one that can’t be missed.

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    The Age of Reason Begins by Will Durant, Ariel Durant

    The Age of Reason Begins

    34.9 hrs • 1/27/15 • Unabridged
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  10. 27.0 hrs • 11/4/2014 • Unabridged

    In Jared Diamond’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel, the author explores how climate change, the population explosion and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted. As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Collapse moves from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana. Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?

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    Collapse

    27.0 hrs • 11/4/14 • Unabridged
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  11. 20.1 hrs • 10/28/2014 • Unabridged

    From the renowned and best-selling author of A History of God comes a sweeping exploration of religion and the history of human violence. For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in America. Some analysts have cited the cause as a post-9/11 perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness—something bad for society. But how accurate is that view? With deep learning and sympathetic understanding, Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions, taking us on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times to the present.  While many historians have looked at violence in connection with particular religious manifestations (jihad in Islam or Christianity’s Crusades), Armstrong looks at each faith—not only Christianity and Islam, but also Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Judaism—in its totality over time. As she describes, each arose in an agrarian society with plenty powerful landowners brutalizing peasants while also warring among themselves over land—the only real source of wealth at the time. In this world, religion was not the discrete and personal matter it would become for us but rather something that permeated all aspects of society. And so it was that agrarian aggression and the warrior ethos it begot became bound up with observances of the sacred. In each tradition, however, a counterbalance to the warrior code also developed. Around sages, prophets, and mystics there grew up communities protesting the injustice and bloodshed endemic to agrarian society, the violence to which religion had become heir. And so by the time the great confessional faiths came of age, all understood themselves as ultimately devoted to peace, equality, and reconciliation, whatever the acts of violence perpetrated in their name. Industrialization and modernity have ushered in an epoch of spectacular and unexampled violence, although, as Armstrong explains, relatively little of it can be ascribed directly to religion. Nevertheless, she shows us how and in what measure religions, in their relative maturity, came to absorb modern belligerence—and what hope there might be for peace among believers of different creeds in our time. At a moment of rising geopolitical chaos, the imperative of mutual understanding between nations and faith communities has never been more urgent, the dangers of action based on misunderstanding never greater. Informed by Armstrong’s sweeping erudition and personal commitment to the promotion of compassion, Fields of Blood makes vividly clear that religion is not the problem.

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    Fields of Blood

    20.1 hrs • 10/28/14 • Unabridged
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    50.1 hrs • 10/15/2014 • Unabridged

    An engrossing volume on the European Reformation by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Will Durant The sixth volume of Durant’s acclaimed Story of Civilization, The Reformation chronicles the history of European civilization from 1300 to 1564. In this masterful work, listeners will encounter the schism within the Roman Catholic Church and the formation of early Protestantism; the theology of Martin Luther and his societal impact; the rise of Humanism and the life of Desiderius Erasmus; the royal monarchies of England, France, Spain, and Italy; the imperial conquests of Christopher Columbus and the discovery of the Americas; the Bohemian revolution of Eastern Europe, the unification of Russia, and the rise of the Ottoman Empire; the teachings of John Calvin; andthe Counter-Reformation of the sixteenth century.

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    The Reformation by Will Durant

    The Reformation

    50.1 hrs • 10/15/14 • Unabridged
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    37.1 hrs • 8/1/2014 • Unabridged

    An engrossing volume on the Italian Renaissance by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Will Durant The fifth volume of Durant’s acclaimed Story of Civilization, The Renaissance chronicles the history of Italy from 1304 to 1576. In this masterful work, listeners will encounter the poets Petrarch and Boccaccio, the fathers of the Renaissance; the paintings, sculptures, and architecture of Milan, Florence, and Venice; the life and accomplishments of Leonardo Da Vinci; the Catholic church and the popes of Avignon and Rome; the politicians and philosophers of Italy, including the Borgia family, Julius II, and Machiavelli; the Italian Wars, the conflicts with France, and the country’s decline.

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    The Renaissance by Will Durant

    The Renaissance

    37.1 hrs • 8/1/14 • Unabridged
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    61.4 hrs • 5/15/2014 • Unabridged

    The fourth volume in Will Durant’s Pulitzer Prize–winning series, The Age of Faith surveys the medieval achievements and modern significance of Christian, Islamic, and Judaic life and culture. Like the other volumes in the Story of Civilization series, this is a self-contained work, which at the same time fits into a comprehensive history of mankind. It includes the dramatic stories of St. Augustine, Hypatia, Justinian, Mohammed, Harun al-Rashid, Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Maimonides, St. Francis, St. Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, and many others, all in the perspective of integrated history. The greatest love stories in literature—of Héloise and Abélard, of Dante and Beatrice—are here retold with enthralling scholarship.

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    The Age of Faith by Will Durant

    The Age of Faith

    61.4 hrs • 5/15/14 • Unabridged
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  15. 10.7 hrs • 5/15/2014 • Unabridged

    How a seven-year cycle of rain, cold, disease, and warfare created the worst famine in European history In May 1315 it started to rain. It didn’t stop anywhere in north Europe until August. Next came the four coldest winters in a millennium. Two separate animal epidemics killed nearly 80 percent of northern Europe’s livestock. Wars between Scotland and England, France and Flanders, and two rival claimants to the Holy Roman Empire destroyed all remaining farmland. After seven years, the combination of lost harvests, warfare, and pestilence would claim six million lives—one eighth of Europe’s total population. William Rosen draws on a wide array of disciplines, from military history to feudal law to agricultural economics and climatology, to trace the succession of traumas that caused the Great Famine. With dramatic appearances by Scotland’s William Wallace, the luckless Edward II, and his treacherous Queen Isabella, history’s best-documented episode of catastrophic climate change comes alive, with powerful implications for future calamities.

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    The Third Horseman by William Rosen

    The Third Horseman

    10.7 hrs • 5/15/14 • Unabridged
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    36.5 hrs • 3/1/2014 • Unabridged

    The third volume of Will Durant’s Pulitzer Prize–winning series, Caesar and Christ chronicles the history of Roman civilization and of Christianity from their beginnings to 325 AD. In this masterful work, listeners will learn about: • the Etruscan civilization of ancient Italy • the birth of the Roman Republic and the beginnings of Roman law • the great reigns of Caesar and Antony • the people of Rome—the artisans, tradesmen, and scientists • the places of Rome’s great empire • the beginnings of Christianity and its growth • the rise of Constantine and the fall of the empire

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    Caesar and Christ by Will Durant

    Caesar and Christ

    36.5 hrs • 3/1/14 • Unabridged
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