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The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome

4.83 out of 5
(7 customer reviews)


Bring history to life with this compelling narrative approach! From the creation of the first empires to the fall of Rome, learn about the events and people of ancient times. Ideal as the spine for advanced high school history studies, this book also makes compelling reading for adults interested in the grand sweep of history.

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Product Overview

This lively and engaging narrative history shows the common threads in the cultures that gave birth to our own. This is the first volume in a bold series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Originally written for adults who want to learn more about history, it can also form a world history spine for advanced high schoolers who enjoy the subject – just add the Study & Teaching Guide for a complete year’s study.

Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about human history. Dozens of maps provide a clear geography of great events, while timelines give the reader an ongoing sense of the passage of years and cultural interconnection. This narrative history employs literature, epic traditions, private letters and accounts to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled. The result is an engrossing tapestry of human behavior from which we may draw conclusions about the direction of world events and the causes behind them.

What customers are saying

7 reviews for The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome

  1. 5 out of 5


    I am using the Story of the World with my young children and I decided to get this book to gain a little more insight myself. It has been a wonderful experience.

    I learned more from this book than in all my years of public education. All of my “world history” was really History of Western Civilization, filtered through a very political lens
    Susan Wise Bauer does a lovely job of including information from several early civilizations. She manages to give plenty of fascinating detail without overwhelming the reader.

    You can read straight through, or take opportunities to follow the rabbit trails. I’m excited to get the next book in the series.

  2. creativeworks210 (verified owner)

    Hi, I ordered Th e History of the Ancient World book and study & teaching guide recently and received them last week. Is there an audio version of the text that we can access?

    • Press Minion

      The audio version of “The History of the Ancient World” is available on Amazon and It’s very good! It is read by John Lee.

  3. angijaegerchapman

    I will have a 3rd grader and a 6th grader this coming year. Would this book be too advanced for the 6th grader? What are the options for a middle school student for history curriculum?

    • Press Minion

      This book would be too advanced for the sixth grader. It’s written at a college level and is only recommended for 9th grade and above (and then only if the student is interested in history and an advanced reader). For your sixth grader, it would be better to use “The Story of the World” curriculum, which can be adjusted to fit a sixth-grader’s level by having them write short weekly summaries of what they are reading in the book, as well as doing a bit of outside reading and using a timeline. You can find more about this in the preface to the SOTW activity books (any of the four), or email

  4. Melissa

    Would this be appropriate to use with my advanced 6th grader?

    • Press Minion

      Even with an advanced student, we really don’t recommend this series for students before 9th or 10th grade. But you can always try it and see, and return the book within 30 days for a refund if it’s too much for the student.

  5. joanna

    Will you be putting this high school version on audio as you did with SOTW? We enjoyed the audio CD’s so much!

    • Press Minion

      This series has now been released in audio form by its publisher, W.W. Norton! They are available on Amazon and on

  6. Rebecca Everitt

    Is there a list of appropriate literature selections to correspond with the history book?
    Is there a list of source material that can be read to back up the text?

    • Press Minion

      There’s a bibliography and footnotes in the book that list the sources to back up the text. For literature that would accompany the text (not in a precise, chapter-by-chapter way, but in general), see the book lists in chapter 27 of The Well-Trained Mind. (The chapter is called “Great Books: History and Reading,” and the section on Ancient literature is on pages 622-624 of the 2016 edition.)

  7. Susan

    Do the History of the World books all have audio book compliments? I can’t find one for the Ancient World

    • Press Minion

      The History of the Ancient World is available as a digital audiobook on The Medieval World is available on CD, which we sell on our site, and also on Audible. The Renaissance World is also available as a digital audiobook on Audible.
      We aren’t the publishers of those books, so unfortunately we don’t control which formats they are released on.

  8. 5 out of 5


    My boys and I have enjoyed the Story of the World series immensely over these past few years. I, myself, didn’t know what I didn’t know! We are keen to begin this high school version in the Fall. I have spent a good deal of time reading through this first book in the series, gathering resources, etc.

    One thing that would have been very helpful was a generalized Table of Contents at the beginning. I found it cumbersome to leaf through all of the pages each time so that I could add my notes to the specific historical event in my teacher’s binder.

  9. Lynn K. Dunn

    Is The Story of The World Vol I appropriate for a public school, 7th Grade Ancient Civilizations course?
    What materials do you suggest I purchase for our four teachers responsible for this course?
    Thank you!

    • Press Minion

      the STORY of the world would be appropriate for 7th grade. the HISTORY of the world books would be too advanced.
      For a 7th grade class, you’d want to get each student and teacher a copy of the book itself. You should also get one copy of the Tests and of the Written Comprehension Responses, and buy a license to reproduce those (test copying license is 1 dollar per student, Written Comprehension Responses copying license is 100 dollars per classroom per year). You MIGHT want to get one copy of the Activity Book, since the introduction has some helpful material about using the book in classrooms. Email us at if you have more questions about good ways to use this book in schools.

  10. Arianne Henderson

    Will you be releasing these in PDF format? I’m in Australia, and postage is expensive! We love the elementary series. Thank you!!

    • Press Minion

      This particular series isn’t actually published by us. It’s published by W.W. Norton, and they would have to make that decision. However, it is available on Kindle through

  11. Amanda

    I have a gifted 8th grader. Would this series be an appropriate level for her to use for social studies?

    • Press Minion

      Usually 9th grade is the youngest we recommend this curriculum for. It would be possible, but the student needs to be very interested in history and have excellent reading comprehension.

  12. Rachel Maiorano

    Do you have to do all three In the series (The history of the ancient world, the history of the medieval world and the history of the renaissance world) for it to be a full high school World History course? 264 chapters seems a lot in one year.

    • Press Minion

      We suggest one volume per year…definitely not all three in a year!

  13. Raquel

    Olá! Você disponibilizará o formato desta coleção em PDF, como fez com a versão elementar?
    Sou brasileira. Como ainda não temos a tradução, gostaria de usar ajuda eletrônica para ler seus livros.

  14. Nichole Ostrander

    Is their going to be an audiobook for these? We love the audiobook and my daughter will be in this book next year.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Langerman

    I homeschooled my son, who has ADHD, for two years. He LOVED these books and, many years later, still refers to them. They are brilliantly written – so engaging and informative. Cannot say enough good about this author.

  16. Help Desk

    We will keep you up-to-date regarding future publications in this article from our Help Center – FAQ.

  17. Lori

    How long does it take to get through each book? Does each version take a whole school year?

    • Answer Desk

      Yes, when used with the Study & Teaching Guide, each volume is a full year of history study.

  18. Maria

    Is there a volume for Modern time?

    • Press Minion

      Not yet!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Masri Eberhard

    You guys should consider releasing your audiobook (and perhaps ebook) on Scribed. It’s a service that combines the functions of Kindle, Audible, as well as magazine, news, and music notion all on one app for a subscription. More and more people are switching from Audible to Scribed because it’s better to pay a flat rate for unlimited access to audiobooks. Not sure how the various contracts can be managed, but you’d would get a much larger listenership/readership.

    PS Two generations of my family have used Story of the World are are extremely grateful for it. So glad you are writing a high school/adult version of the series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Janelle Coleman

    Do you have an idea when this volume will be back in stock?

    • Press Minion

      It should be back in stock by the end of this week.

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