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The Story of Civilization , by husband and wife Will and Ariel Durant , is an volume set of books covering Western history for the general reader. The series was written over a span of more than four decades. It totals four million words across nearly 10, pages, with 2 further books in production at the time of the authors' deaths. However, the series ends with The Age of Napoleon because the Durants both died — she in her 80s and he in his 90s — before they could complete additional volumes. They also left behind notes for a 12th volume, The Age of Darwin , and an outline for a 13th, The Age of Einstein , which would have taken The Story of Civilization to The first six volumes of The Story of Civilization are credited to Will Durant alone, with Ariel recognized only in the Acknowledgements.