Download Fallen Leaves: Last Words on Life, Love, War & God Audiobook

Fallen Leaves: Last Words on Life, Love, War & God Audiobook, by Will Durant Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Will Durant Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2014 ISBN: 9781483038803
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The final and most personal work from Pulitzer Prize–winning author and historian Will Durant—discovered thirty-two years after his death—is a message of insight for everyone who has sought meaning in life or the council of a wise friend in navigating life’s journey.

From 1968 to 1978, Will Durant made four public allusions to the existence of Fallen Leaves. One, in 1975, hinted at its contents: “a not very serious book that answers the questions of what I think about government, life, death, and God.” And in 1975: “I propose…to answer all the important questions, simply, fairly, and imperfectly.” Even into his nineties, he worked on the book daily, writing it out on legal notepads. Upon his death in 1981, no one, not even the Durant heirs, knew if he had completed it, or even if it still existed. Thirty-two years later, in a granddaughter’s attic trunk, the manuscript was discovered.

Fallen Leaves is Will Durant’s most personal book. It is precisely as he described: twenty-two short chapters on everything from youth and old age, religion and morals, to sex, war, politics, and art. The culmination of Durant’s sixty-plus years spent researching the philosophies, religions, arts, sciences, and civilizations from across the world, Fallen Leaves is the distilled wisdom of a gifted scholar with a renowned talent for rendering the insights of the past accessible. In its preface Durant mentions that over the course of his career he received letters from “curious readers who have challenged me to speak my mind on the timeless questions of human life and fate.” With Fallen Leaves he accepted their challenge. It contains strong opinions, elegant prose, and deep insights into the human condition as only Will Durant could provide, as well as his revealing conclusions about the perennial problems and greatest joys we face as a species.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This long-awaited release is a collection of essays on religion, race, politics, art, and science…Some passages, such as his observations on youth and middle age, are personal and specific, while others, such as his ruminations on the existence of God, border on philosophy…A thought-provoking array of opinions.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A work that demands we think, and it is a worthy conclusion to a long and distinguished career.”


  • “Final messages of wisdom from a well-known scholar…who explores the profundity of being human, whether that means examining an infant’s first moments of life, why religion has such a strong influence in so many people’s lives, or why racism is still prevalent in the United States. Durant also meditates on world governments and why we grow more conservative as we age, offers his opinions on sex and morality, and sings ‘a hymn in praise of women.’ While some of the thoughts are dated, due to the time in which they were written, or might seem a bit extreme…his philosophical views are eye-opening and offer readers a chance to re-examine their own feelings regarding the human race and what it has and has not managed to accomplish in its short stint on Earth.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “After a long career of summarizing the events and views of others, in the 1960s and 1970s, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Durant set out to document his views on the most important topics of human existence…In twenty-two brief essays on everything from youth to old age, politics, Vietnam, art, education, and the lessons of history, Durant expresses his attitudes and thoughtful opinions with grace and occasionally with wisdom. His paternalistic, romanticized views on youth and love, and his benevolent sexism, will strike the reader as quaint and dated…He is most engaging when telling the story of his life and his insights into the processes of history. Most of the work, however, offers evidence of just how different today’s world is from the one the philosopher inhabited.”

    Library Journal

  • “Grover Gardner’s polished reading…is engaging, even entertaining, with an easy swing of tones that match the meanings and add emphasis at apt places and an expressiveness that’s relaxed, sensitive, and intelligent. He captures perfectly a thread of self-deprecating modesty that offsets the doctrinaire quality of Durant’s pronouncements. Durant’s modest manner, some thoughtful passages, and Gardner’s skill…convey[s] it all to the listener.”


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About the Author

Will Durant (1885–1981) was an award-winning American writer, historian, and philosopher. He and his wife were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1968 for Rousseau and Revolution, and he was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Durant spent over forty years writing the critically acclaimed eleven-volume Story of Civilization, the later volumes with the help of his wife, Ariel. He sought to revitalize history by unifying and humanizing the great body of historical knowledge, which had become voluminous and fragmented into esoteric subcategories. He also strove to bring philosophy to the common man. Durant was a champion of human rights, social reform, and the brotherhood of man long before they became well-known issues.

About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over a thousand titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.