The Age of Voltaire: The Story of Civilization, Volume IX Info

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The Story of Civilization, Volume IX: A history of civilization
in Western Europe from 1715 to 1756, with special emphasis on the
conflict between religion and philosophy. This is the ninth volume of
the classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning series.

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Reviews for The Age of Voltaire: The Story of Civilization, Volume IX:


February 21, 2014

A very nice literary banquet!
I have been working my way through all the volumes of this magnificent set of books for years. The Age of Voltaire was another great addition to have read! The Durants are my heroes as few like they can make History exciting, funny, very touching and very enlightening. The reader feels he is meeting the subjects face to face in all their glory (and warts). And the authors accomplish something amazing, they make the philosophies of the time actually understandable. The culture, religion (or lack thereof), science, architecture, art and even the styles of dress are delved into with a style that is interesting and not at all boring.
Highly recommended!

July 29, 2015

Best in an excellent series.
My favorite volume in an excellent series. Years ago, I read the entire series, but what makes this one sparkle is the wry wit, especially appropriate for this volume's leading character.

May 15, 2019

Especially Good to Read Before Going to or While in Europe, Especially France
I was fortunate enough to read this volume while I was in Europe and spent some time in Paris. These books are wonderful no matter where they are read, but it is so much more rewarding to be anywhere near where the stories took place so one can see the many buildings and landmarks that are referenced in the work. This is not history of the most scholarly type, it is more cultural history that teaches us about societies, personalities, politics, diplomacy, science and other aspects of nations' whole lives, not just one particular aspect. As I have suggested with other volumes, using Audible as one reads these tomes also helps make progress. The readers are generally excellent and it gives the eyes a well-deserved rest. I thought the Kindle versions were also very good.

November 18, 2017

Five Stars

April 4, 2017

Detailed and lively discussion
During the middle decades of the twentieth century Will and Ariel Durant completed an eleven-volume work with the title "The Story of Civilization." Primarily about Western Civilization, this work details the developments from the time prior to the Greeks and the Romans through the time of Napoleon. "The Age of Voltaire," the ninth volume of eleven, covers the approximately 40 years from 1715 to 1756. A significant part of this volume discusses the cultural and intellectual scene of the time. Voltaire and his contemporaries are discussed, as well as influential thinkers in other countries, such as the deists in England. The Durants also detail the developments in the graphic arts and music of this age.

The reigns of George I and II of England are covered in detail, along with the pretenders, James III and Charles III. The reign of Louis XV in France and the Hohenzollern family in Brandenburg-Prussia is also discussed in detail.

The Durants's writing is lively and interesting throughout.

February 28, 2017

Spoiled by Will Durant
Spoiled by Durant, the master story-teller.

January 3, 2017

Five Stars
Purchased for college course; works well as a reference for papers.

June 7, 2016

Wars of ideas
This is one of my least favorite books in this series, but it is still a five star book. There are wars during this period, but the chief wars of this period were wars of ideas, particularly the ideas of the Enlightenment against the bedrock of the Christian faith. Durant is obviously in love with the Enlightenment, but he fails to make the case that the social order of Europe was better off for substituting philosophy for religion. Voltaire himself is portrayed as a jolly and lovable fellow; he might have made his peace with Christianity if the Church had not attacked him so vigorously. As an evangelical Christian it seems obvious to me that it is possible to repudiate the Catholic Church without repudiating Christianity, but this was not so obvious to Frenchmen of the eighteenth century. The age abounded in writers and thinkers and wordsmiths; their discourses are tedious enough to me after a while, but Durant has apparently read all of their works and can comment insightfully on all of them. This is an impressive work, a bit slower and more ponderous than the others in the series, but definitely worth reading.

March 28, 2018

Five Stars
I've been reading through this series of books and I'm enjoying every one of them.

August 2, 2017

Anything by Durant is excellent.
Of course. Anything by Durant is excellent.

January 12, 2018

type needed to complete collection
seems to be good..purchased as gift for someone

August 12, 2013

Hard to beat Durants
For smooth prose rendering of basic facts plus occasional witty instights, it is hard to beat this husband and wife team. I would recommend all of their works.

June 22, 2015

Five Stars
Will Durant writes clearly for the layman and has much to teach the professional historian. Edward Bucacci

October 20, 2016

Five Stars
As expected.

July 9, 2017

Another excellent book from the Durants.
As with all of the books of Durant, this one is very thorough of Western and Central Europe. This one is wrapped up in the bio of Voltaire, who lived in France, then England, Germany and Switzerland and finally back to France. The arts, the sciences, the wars, the many political changes are all dealt with here.

What is not dealt with is the other parts of the world, except for a few sentences here and there. Russia, North America, China, India all get one or a few sentences. Other places, not a mention although than if the explorers might have touched down.

Overall, the details of what was covered was worth it.

July 25, 2016

Four Stars
It's fine

September 4, 2013

A Great Age that Greatly Influences Civilization Today
The Durants have done a wonderful job with all of their histories. I have read 3 of their volumes. Have many more to go.

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