The Lessons of History Paperback – 13 Feb 2010
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"The Durants' masterpiece belongs in any home library and occupies a shelf in many." --Dana D. Kelley, "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette"
About the Author
Will Durant (1885-1981) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize (1968) and the Medal of Freedom (1977). He spent more than fifty years writing his critically acclaimed THE STORY OF CIVILIZATION (the later volumes written in conjunction with his wife, Ariel). His book THE STORY OF PHILOSOPHY is credited with introducing more people to the subject of philosophy than any other work.
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Top Customer Reviews
Will and Ariel Durant segment our history and nature into basic, simple to read chapters, that explain in simple terms how societies have strived to achieve the Utopias we all dream of.
I was stunned at how history repeats itself and humbled at the fact that "the foibles of mans dreams" are the same today as they were a thousand years ago.
If your ego has convinced you that solutions to the challenges of society are within the grasp of our lives today,don't read this book!
On the other hand,if you are prepared to recognize that our species is nothing more than 4000 years of recorded history compared with 14,000,000 years of evolutionary development,sit back and enjoy!
This is not a book for individuals who have "new PC ideas as to the nature of mankind".They will find that their ideas are same-o,same-o.
Will and Ariel summerize a huge work in one volume that can be read in a day.
Each chapter is a survey of a "theory of history" which at one time or another has held sway, biology, war, religion, socialism, economics, technology and even the idea of history being cyclical with periods of degeneration and regeneration (this chapter contained really good summations of the positivism/socialism of Comte/Saint-Simon and Spengler's more dismal view of cultural rise and decline).
Some of the content in these will appear quite out of step with the ideas popular today, the race theories for instance will appear extremely antiquated and dated to the majority of mainstream opinion. I felt that each chapter was fair and it was not necessarily possible to discern were the author's own personal sympathies lay, apart from a real support of sociological functionalism and a sort of social darwinian belief in the survival of the fitest, though qualified as corresponding to adaptability/adapted.
I found this to be a pretty short book, though it is a companion to an expanded work running into various volumes and surveying a number of different historical periods or epochs, it did not take a long time to read but I felt every moment of it was enriching and it is certainly a stand alone volume from the other great work. I felt it was a very objective book, prepared to acknowledge the rise and fall of empires, great persons and periods and their erasure from memory but at once its a very optimistic book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book linking history with current affairs. Great read Deff recommend it if you want to expand your knowledgePublished 2 months ago by Andres
Will make you think about the world in a new way. A true classic, in that it's even more relevant now than when it was written several decades ago. Read morePublished 4 months ago by max zachariades
Bought as a gift, and I have been told that the essays make excellent readingPublished 4 months ago by Hannah Shore
I am astonished that any reputable publisher would publish this gibberish off the back of the name of acclaimed authors.Published 6 months ago by Aysa Knox
A masterpiece of writing which provides the reader, in 100 short pages, a brilliant overview of history and its relationship to humanity. This is not one book. Read morePublished 6 months ago by FT