I have completed Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant. The book gave me more of a sense of the variety of cultures that have existed in Asia, as well as the varieties that have existed within each of those cultures. It also gave me a sense of how sophisticated ancient civilizations were. I had the sense, before reading this book, that the ancient world was far more monolithic, primitive, and superstitious than it actually was. I also had no appreciation of all the science, technology, and culture that the West has taken over from these Asian civilizations, which is what Durant calls "our Oriental heritage." I would strongly recommend this book if you have the stamina for 900+ pages of history.
I've moved on to Fossil Future by Alex Epstein, which is a defense of using even more fossil fuels than we currently are. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
I am not sure whether I agree with Epstein's overall thesis or not, at present. That said, one point he makes that I think is correct is that the benefits of fossil fuels are usually overlooked in the current discussion. Nearly all of the discussion is about the supposed catastrophic downsides of fossil fuels - the catastrophic fires, storms, temperature increases, etc., that may result.
However, Epstein makes a very plausible case that there is no currently practical way of providing food, clothing, shelter, transportation, etc., etc., for the billions of people on earth without using a lot of fossil fuels. As he lays out in detail, our modern standard of living is provided by the operation of many machines. Those machines require energy, and the only way to get that energy right now is to burn fossil fuels.
If we do have to stop using fossil fuels (or start using a lot less of them), that is an immense tragedy. I don't see that discussed much today.