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The World cover art

The World

By: Simon Sebag Montefiore
Narrated by: Ajjaz Awad,Ako Mitchell,Anna Cordell,Ayesha Dharker,Damian Lynch,Gunnar Cauthery,Jonathan Aris,Kevin Shen,Lara Sawalha,Leighton Pugh,Lucian Msamati,Nabiha Akkari,Nneka Okoye,Rachel Handshaw,Raj Ghatak
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Summary

From the master storyteller and internationally bestselling author - the story of humanity from prehistory to the present day, told through the one thing all humans have in common: family.

We begin with the footsteps of a family walking along a beach 950,000 years ago. From here, Montefiore takes us on an exhilarating epic journey through the families that have shaped our world: the Caesars, Medicis and Incas, Ottomans and Mughals, Bonapartes, Habsburgs and Zulus, Rothschilds, Rockefellers and Krupps, Churchills, Kennedys, Castros, Nehrus, Pahlavis and Kenyattas, Saudis, Kims and Assads.

A rich cast of complex characters form the beating heart of the story. Some are well-known leaders, from Alexander the Great, Attila, Ivan the Terrible and Genghis Khan to Hitler, Thatcher, Obama, Putin and Zelensky. Some are creative, from Socrates, Michelangelo and Shakespeare to Newton, Mozart, Balzac, Freud, Bowie and Tim Berners-Lee.

Others are lesser-known: Hongwu, who began life as a beggar and founded the Ming dynasty; Kamehameha, conqueror of Hawaii; Zenobia, Arab empress who defied Rome; King Henry of Haiti; Lady Murasaki, first female novelist; Sayyida al-Hurra, Moroccan pirate-queen. Here are not just conquerors and queens but prophets, charlatans, actors, gangsters, artists, scientists, doctors, tycoons, lovers, wives, husbands and children.

This is world history on the most grand and intimate scale - spanning centuries, continents and cultures, and linking grand themes of war, migration, plague, religion, medicine and technology to the people at the centre of the human drama.

As spellbinding as fiction, The World captures the story of humankind in all its joy, sorrow, romance, ingenuity and cruelty in a ground-breaking, single narrative that will forever shift the boundaries of what history can achieve.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Simon Sebag Montefiore (P)2021 Orion Publishing Group
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The World

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating book ruined by poor narration

Do the narrators really understand what they are reading? They are reading the words but not the flow the result is an odd uninviting robotic narration that is really really annoying

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great book, terrible narration

This is a superb book, written with dash and pizazz and built on the central idea of family/dynasty and global history. I loved it.
However, and it is a big however, the majority of the narrators are truly appalling- the production team must have been intent on sabotage because I can’t otherwise explain why these actors were chosen: monotone performances, mis readings, mis understanding, wrong emphasis, mis pronoun citations abound. No two names are pronounced the same by any two narrators, which makes me wonder what the producer was doing during the recording sessions. Listening to the various pronunciations of the name Sennacherib alone is a feat of endurance!
What a terrible shame that the contents of this amazing book were mashed and ruined by the narrators and the production team. Just buy the book instead, that’s what I’ve done.

5 people found this helpful

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Beautifully written, disjointed narration.

A relatively speedy (at least in comparison to the multi-volume histories such as Will Durant’s) jaunt through the timeline of humanity, subtly different to most by having focus on family, giving you a feel for the overlapping of generations and dynasties.
The decision to choose multiple narrators was likely made to add a bit of character and variety, but it also leads to a great variety of suitability, and greatly varied quality. There are jarring changes in pace, pronunciation and frankly - grasp of English between them which can lead to the same people and places being pronounced and portrayed very differently in the space of a few minutes. Often it requires some real concentration to keep track when the changeover comes. Still enjoyable but frustrating - I’d much prefer if one excellent narrator had been chosen.

5 people found this helpful

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Poor narration

Enjoying this, but enjoyment marred by very idiosyncratic reading. Great to involve diverse readers but is there any quality control on pronunciation ?

3 people found this helpful

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Ruined by robots

On the brink of asking for a refund- terrible narrators! After most expressive and hypotonic introduction by Simon, it’s pointless to try to understand what the robots are saying. Shame! Please make a new version? 🙏

1 person found this helpful

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Decent book ruined by terrible narration

I am honestly shocked someone signed off on this narration being acceptable. There is no standard pronunciation of nouns which can lead to some confusion and I’m pretty sure some of the narrators have no clue what they’re reading aloud. At some points I put it on 1.3x speed just to be able to focus on the narrative as a number of the narrators speak at a glacial pace.

1 person found this helpful

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Poor narration

This book undoubtedly has the ambition to be remarkable. Unfortunately the Audible experience is ruined by the narration. Whilst the use of multiple narrators has the potential to link themes it fails entirely to do so. It detracts from the flow of the book with clunky changes in narrator and corresponidng changes in pronounciation.

1 person found this helpful

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Marathon

Brilliantly written. Read by a team of great narrators. It really challenges your worldview. So much more than the narrow history, typically taught in the UK.

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Worth it if you have the time

A great skim across human history can’t agree with all conclusions, but why should I? Exposes humans for both their goodness and appalling behaviour to each other regardless of nation, gender or race which is good to understand in todays manichean world view of humans. However, some really poor choices of narrators made some chapters annoying . But definitely worth the time

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so frustrating!

This is such a difficult listen, in places so frustrating and irritating that I have been tempted to skip whole sections. It was laudable to select readers from across the world, given the subject matter, but the selection process, and subsequent editing, was woeful. A significant number of readers patently do not understand what they are reading. Pronounciation of common words is laughable, and 2 of the female readers sound bored to distraction, reading lines rather than sentences. When a competent reader starts the whole recording lights up, doing justice to a remarkable book, but all too soon returns to the painful dirge. A major disappointment.

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  • Margaret M. Bell
  • 26-01-23

Amazing book spoiled by some terrible narration

This book is incredible. It's massive, immersive, and fascinating. However, some of the narrators are infuriatingly terrible. Chronic vocal fry, shocking mispronunciations, 1950's style schlock horror delivery, reading without comprehension of the text, and many other auditory crimes. But they're all in short doses, so you only have to grit your teeth for five minutes or so until the voice changes. I'm going to get a hard copy or ebook and read it again without the distraction. It's a great book to remind you how little one knows about history, with countless rabbit-hole opportunities to learn more.

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  • Wilsonichy
  • 11-11-22

Longest book by Montefiore

All is well except that some chapters are better to be updated, there’re certain narrators with a dry throat.
Plus the early Han chapters narrator is good but the kid can’t tell between Mandarin ZH CHI SHI vs ZI CI SI.