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Extended Audio Sample The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern Mind, by Justin Pollard Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (396 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Justin Pollard, Howard Reid Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2006 ISBN: 9781400172771
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Founded by Alexander the Great and built by self-styled Greek pharaohs, the city of Alexandria at its height dwarfed both Athens and Rome. It was the marvel of its age, legendary for its vast palaces, safe harbors, and magnificent lighthouse. But it was most famous for the astonishing intellectual efflorescence it fostered and the library it produced. If the European Renaissance was the "rebirth" of Western culture, then Alexandria, Egypt, was its birthplace. It was here mankind first discovered that the earth was not flat, originated atomic theory, invented geometry, systematized grammar, translated the Old Testament into Greek, built the steam engine, and passed their discoveries on to future generations via the written word. Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Cleopatra, Jewish scholars, Greek philosophers, and devout early Christians all play a part in the rise and fall of the city that stood "at the conjunction of the whole world." Compulsively readable and sparkling with fresh insights into science, philosophy, culture, and invention, this is an irresistible, eye-opening delight. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Most readers, especially those interested in the history of science, will find this a nourishing account.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A lively history of the legendary ancient city, from creation to destruction…Historical fragments and extensive research, combined to form a captivating mosaic.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth Sulzby | 1/31/2014

    " To come. . . . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Philippa | 1/31/2014

    " I thought this was a concise outline and introduction into Alexandria and i believe told very charmingly. It has wet my appetite to do some research into philosophy and astronomy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 1/28/2014

    " This book was great. It shows the importance of knowledge and how we have to save it at all costs. The book explains the growth of a great city and library and the minds it helped nurture. The city was a growth spot for all future learning centers, as well as for religion. It is also a lesson on how we can destroy all that we honor and use it against ourselves. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Willowwind | 1/22/2014

    " A fascinating study of a great dream - to gather all the knowledge of the world together in a great library and museum and to provide a place for the most creative thinkers of the world to interact. And how it was all eventually betrayed by the greed of personal politics and religious intolerance. There was true vision here and amazing creativity and yet humans have repeated destroyed those qualities in the name of faith and chosen ignorance. A marvelous look at the intellectual center of the ancient Mediterranean world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Picoroco | 12/30/2013

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this. Learned without any degree of stuffiness, there was an interesting anecdote or revelation on nearly every page and the narrative raced along. I loved the way this history of a great ancient city wove within it the lives of so many important philosophers, scientists, inventors, mathematicians rulers and conquerers. For the uninitiated like me this is an excellent, accessible primer into the classical world of learning and thought. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nabil | 12/22/2013

    " A book that connects the dots, in a lively way, between the old and the new civilizations or lack thereof. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alexandra | 11/18/2013

    " Takes you back to the wonders of the ancient world, to the cradle of science and philosophy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shanah | 11/10/2013

    " I didn't actually finish this all the way. I enjoyed the details and the history very much. I will pick up where I left off later. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Minhaj Arifin | 10/9/2013

    " An inspiring book. The Ptolemy's brought to this city the finest minds of their time and the results were spectacular! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rick | 10/1/2013

    " Really love this book - amazing how much they knew and how many hundreds of years it took for us to relearn it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kerry | 8/4/2013

    " I enjoyed reading this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holden Attradies | 7/27/2013

    " What an incredible read. Through the eyes of Alexandria you get to see the rise and fall not just of the city, but of the classical world. This book was everything and more than I was hoped for when I picked it up. Very readable, the history was not to thick or scholarly, but not dumbed down at all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia | 3/20/2013

    " Pretty good book. Lots of interesting information in the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Albert | 12/14/2012

    " So far, engrossing. It's remarkable what humans can achieve, whatever the era, when they prioritize the pursuit of knowledge. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emil | 10/30/2012

    " This wet my appetite dig deeper into this rich past that brought us science and the humanities, as well as the foundation of our modernity. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brenna | 5/27/2012

    " I was very excited to find a whole book on Alexandria. But it disapppoints. Facts are interesting but the writing is very poor. Difficult to continue reading but persevered fro the facts. overall, very disappointing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Danita Reynolds | 4/13/2012

    " This book has been quite interesting. An eye opener about a fantastic city and the people who helped raise and help tear it down. So many well known names came from that amazing city. I recommend this book for anyone interested in knowing about our history in all aspects of sciences and religions. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Virginia Murr | 3/26/2012

    " Excellent history of the rise and fall--and intellectual excellence--of Alexandria. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard Mansel | 12/24/2011

    " Very interesting overview. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vera | 10/29/2011

    " Excellent history read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marissa | 4/11/2011

    " Wanted so much to love this book, but it took me 5 weeks to read 100 pages. The writing doesn't do the city justice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Virginia | 5/25/2010

    " Excellent history of the rise and fall--and intellectual excellence--of Alexandria. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Heather | 3/13/2010

    " Couldn't get into this book, to much like a college text for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brenna | 2/22/2010

    " I was very excited to find a whole book on Alexandria. But it disapppoints. Facts are interesting but the writing is very poor. Difficult to continue reading but persevered fro the facts. overall, very disappointing. "

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