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The Lessons of History Paperback – 13 Feb 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (13 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143914995X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439149959
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.8 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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.


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The fruit of more than 50 years of labour for all of us to savour.In less than 150 pages the author has condensed lessons drawn from the entire course of human history.The language and style is typical of Mr. Durant and is a pleasure to read. Recommended for all students of history as it will deepen understanding of mankind's past and enlighten our present. A true classic.
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Format: Hardcover
Will and Ariel Durant tried to bring Philosophy and an understanding of History to the common man and woman. They succeeded admirably, and some thirty years after reading this book I still turn to it in order to understand events occurring around me. This is no scholarly tome, but an invaluable manual for those seeking a better understanding of the world around us. It should be compulsory reading for all those aspiring to public office.
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Format: Audio Cassette
This book was assigned reading for an MBA program I took in 1983.For the first time I was presented with the ideas that described how we fit in the universe along with why we behave as we do.I was in my late 30's , an engineer by trade.I knew the historical behavior patterns of our numerous societies over the spectrum of recorded history, yet had failed to reduce these observations to a lowest common denominator.
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I fully concur with all the positive reviews. It is an excellent and succinct summary of some key insights that History offers. Having read many "tomes", I realise that this small volume captures many of the lessons that other authors grapple with in lengthy expositions. Also, many observations that Durant makes on topics such as inequality will resonate with readers today. If you like learning about macro themes and "long cycle" type ideas, then this book is definitely for you.
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Format: Paperback
These are a series of articles on history and the interaction with other subjects. The tone is both erudite and conversational, with masters of their trade imparting their nuggets of wisdom at the end of a long career. This is a reprint of an earlier work, so some topics are dated both by speech in this PC world and by their musing on the then present nature of communism. However the lessons gleaned from the broad canvas of human history make it a worthy addition to the historical heritage.
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By Lark TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 18 Mar. 2016
Format: Paperback
This is a really, really eloquent book and a complete and utter pleasure to read as a consequence, every other sentence is quote worthy, the contents are fantastic and clear, each chapter well judged in terms of length, there is good use of quotations, endnotes, bibliography and references and a good index for quick reference.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a professor teaching semiotics to university students. To do so I relate all discussions to history and its repercussions on cultural expression. This tiny little book by Will and Ariel Durant is an excellent concentration of intelligent analysis of history and its relation to fundamental aspects of our contemporary lives. It is enlightening, provocative, exciting and so easily written to almost fool you into believing that you now understand all the major influences on human life. The chapters are divided into the relation of history with common social denominators such as: Religion and History, Economics and History or Geology and History, just to name a few. A great reference book for all who realize that history is an approach which allows you to understand the complexities of global culture. I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in understanding why the world is how it is. Along with Toynbee's "The Study of History", this book is a must.
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