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Publisher's Summary

Civilization was born 8,000 years ago, between the floodplains of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, when migrants from the surrounding mountains and deserts began to create increasingly sophisticated urban societies. In the cities that they built, half of human history took place.

In Babylon, Paul Kriwaczek tells the story of Mesopotamia from the earliest settlements seven thousand years ago to the eclipse of Babylon in the sixth century BCE. Bringing the people of this land to life in vibrant detail, the author chronicles the rise and fall of power during this period and explores the political and social systems, as well as the technical and cultural innovations, which made this land extraordinary. At the heart of this book is the story of Babylon, which rose to prominence under the Amorite king Hammurabi from about 1800 BCE. Even as Babylon's fortunes waxed and waned, it never lost its allure as the ancient world's greatest city.

Engaging and compelling, Babylon reveals the splendor of the ancient world that laid the foundation for civilization itself.

©2010 Paul Kriwaczek (P)2019 Tantor

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  • Bob H
  • 09-02-20

Pretentious

Faux literary and pretentious style makes for a nauseating telling of what should have been an interesting subject. Author is probably knowledgable but sprinkles ever sentence with lofty opinions and pretentious reflections on the world. Do it once and it can be refreshing and interesting; do it in every single bloody sentence and it gets absolutely unbearable. Could not finish this garbage of book.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-05-20

A mix of good narrative and bad history

The story follows a good narrative but is filled with lots of dubious analysis and comparison. Some of these are really poignant and meaningful while others are placed in an odd spot and bad history.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Alsor2000
  • 19-07-20

Solid overview 3000 years of history

One reviewer said he could not finish because of a pretentious style. I bet he got to chapter 3 and then gave up.

Through the first 3 chapters, I could understand where he was coming from. They are basically a setup and introduction to the subject, and they *are* a little wordy and somewhat boring.

But, if you push onto chapters 4 and then 5 then you get into the meat of the history and you really get what you came for. I was hooked and listened right through to the end.

Look, the book is 12 hours. It gives you the broad strokes and includes a lot of interesting tidbits for the Bronze age novice. It was just what I was looking for. (I.e How slingers were used. The economic setup. How the first armies may have come about.)

Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant is 50 hours and covers the same ground. I have now spent a credit on that book since this book interested me in the subject.

I recommend it but just push through the introductory chapters.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Mike Waters
  • 07-05-21

Get it!

This book was a delight! We know so much more about Mesopotamians now than when I was a kid. The author does a beautiful job of painting a lively picture of the development of pottery and metallurgy, or the life of a scribe-in-training. I can’t help imagining the cross-dressing priests of Inanna as fabulous drag queens organizing neolithic farmers into the first urban civilization! Behind every bronze age king is a bureaucracy of drag queens dedicated to the goddess (LOL)! In many ways the Mesopotamians were far more cosmopolitan than we are.

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  • BPW
  • 01-05-21

Fascinating

A deep background on Mesopotamian culture and achievements prior to its eventual decay and death after first Persian and Greek then finally Islamic influences. Worth a reread.

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  • R. A. J. Tucker
  • 12-04-21

Pretentious and hard to listen to, but still ok

Author takes on a grandious tone that isn't well done, there is some good information and it is worth listening to.

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  • Clancy
  • 21-03-21

difficult to follow

Couldn't follow any narrative, if there even was one? Jumping all around in time periods, writing was a bit pretentious.

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  • Hans Rigelman
  • 07-10-20

Good Historical Look at a Key Part of our World

Nice narrative, but a little tough to absorb in just one listen, so I'll have to try again when up for it. The stories about language origins were particularly interesting. I especially liked the Biblical comparisons with other ancient writings.

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  • Ethan smith
  • 07-08-20

intresting view

detailed and interesting view of ancient Mesopotamia. wonderful stories and a must if you would like a look into civilizations beginnings.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-03-21

Great book

Derek Perkins narrates this brilliantly
The author has given just the right amount of information about this fascinating area of the world and its people, we owe so much to them .

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  • England in the middle ages
  • 07-02-21

engaging over view

engaging and well researched over view. The author attempts to draw parallels with modern times that are not always appropriate, however it did not affect my enjoyment of the book.

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  • Jon lanģley
  • 01-02-20

good listen

very good factual account of the city and area. not the best, but worth every penny.

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  • sarashina
  • 20-10-19

Highly enjoyable

A fascinating book, well-structured and full of interesting information. The author’s passion for the subject really comes across. Just what I was looking for.