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

5.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
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Susan Wise Bauer’s history book for high schoolers and adults…for five dollars off the cover price!

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Susan Wise Bauer’s history book for high schoolers and adults…for five dollars off the cover price!

Product Description

Using the narrative approach to history so popular in the Story of the World series, Susan Wise Bauer introduces readers to the people, places, and events of the ancient world. 

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 new 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. 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 the methods of “history from beneath”–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.

This book is ideal for high schoolers or for adults who want the great history instruction their children are receiving. Use the History of the Ancient World Study Guide to transform it into a full year of high school history study!

Bauer’s elegant prose and her command of much of the material makes this a wonderful starting point for the study of the ancient world.”–Publishers Weekly.

“Bauer’s annals, which span the millennia between the traces of Sumer and the Roman emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in 312 CE, are an attractive introduction to a subject vast in time and geography. She writes briskly and interpretively and is attuned throughout to the challenge of rulers: appearing to the ruled as legitimate holders of power. This sensibility makes her narratives acutely interesting, as Bauer pierces the biases inherent in most ancient sources to discern the sincerity or the cynicism with which power seekers pursued their goals. Above, approval of the divine was invaluable; on Earth, a loyal army was indispensable. Acquiring both enabled lawgivers to make their writ stick, and Bauer’s chronicles exhibit the interaction of priestly, military, and legal powers as empires and dynasties wax and wane. This endows continuity to her accounts of politics as disparate as the Harappan civilization of the Indus River or the states that emerged from misty prehistory along the Yellow and Yangtze rivers to form China. Nonacademic and sometimes colloquial in composition, Bauer’s survey will spark the imagination.” —Booklist

Sets a new standard for accessible history surveys…provides an ideal structural framework for understanding pieces of the past as part of a broad pageant of history rather than as isolated episodes.” –World History Bulletin, XXIV.1

“This succinctly formatted yet very informative and easily digested historical reference covers the rise and fall of all major ancient civilizations in Europe, Egypt the Middle East, India, and China with just the right amount of detail for those of us who are not pursuing PhDs in ancient history. It is basically two college classes in one easy-to-read book.”–United States Naval Academy Recommended Title

Follow the story onward with the History of the Medieval World and the History of the Renaissance World!

Additional Information

Weight 2.75 lbs
Dimensions 9.5 × 6.5 × 1.75 in




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  1. One person found this helpful


    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?

    • 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.)

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  2. Question

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

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

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  3. Question

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

    • 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.

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  4. Question

    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?

    • 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 [email protected]

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  5. (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?

    • 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.

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  6. One person found this helpful


    When will ‘History of the Ancient World’ be back in stock?

    • More books are on their way, and should be here in 7 or 8 days.

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  7. One person found this helpful


    The History of the Ancient World is Out of Stock currently. Do you have an idea of when it will be in stock?

    • We have ordered more, and they should be back in stock in 7-10 days.

  8. One person found this helpful

    5 out of 5 Broad view with fascinating detail

    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.




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