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This is a good place to start with Hegel. It's heavy going (but not so much as his other writings), and it's one of his most important works. Getting the main message from Hegel's view of history is probably best found elsewhere, for most people. There are no end of introductory books that will leave the beginner with a much clearer view of Hegel than reading this. However - if you've done some introductory reading, then I would recommend this so that you can say you have actually read Hegel himself. The experience is very worthwhile, and there are brilliant 'flashpoint' moments in the text that for me - are electrifying. I still believe that the world has a lot more to learn from Hegel.

In sum, read a few pages of introduction and summary of this book elsewhere (half an hour or so), and then jump into the primary source material - it is well worth it.
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on 1 July 1998
Hegel's Philosophy of History is his easiest book to read. He angered some people by saying that History is Freedom, and so those countries which did not have Free States (in 1821, the year he wrote his book) were not truly part of History but part of the Pre-historic period. He begins with a narrative of Africa in 1821 which was steeped in Slavery, both internal and external. He stated that all nations were once at this level of Pre-history, where no king could last more than a year. But China was the first nation to make One but only One Person free, namely, the Emperor. This was the beginning of History. From this point Hegel traces those nations which increased Freedom slowly - from Egypt to Assyria to Babylon to Persia to Greece to Rome to Spain and then Europe as we know it today. The Idea of a Free Republic was born in Greece, but was first made material in Rome. Caesar opposed the Republic because he knew that the fullness of time had not yet come for it; so he opened up barbarian Europe instead. The Free Republic eventually grew to a point where a great, courageous World Historical Individual, Napoleon Bonaparte, overthrew the Medieval structures and paved the way for the eventual abolition of Slavery. Hegel was an Abolitionist and lived to see England and Spain renounce Slavery, but died long before Lincoln, so his view of the USA was pretty pessimistic.
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on 4 April 2013
No light bbed time reading here, but one that I am glad I own and feel I will learn a lot from it. Essential reading for a historian such as myself.
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on 26 April 2016
THE BOOK IS GOOD
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on 11 February 2013
This work is a classic and needs no review from me - you will get it if you
know about it but it is not an easy read!
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on 3 August 2009
Hmm, Hard one. Lets put it this way. The introduction is 103 pages long. However the factors Hegel puts forward which can affect historians portrayal of history are brilliant and is of great help to anyone trying to understand history and how it can be altered forever by the Historian.
A great introduction to his lectures on the Philosophy of History.
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on 21 December 1997
Having just read the introduction (which is the theoretical core of the work), and having read a different translation, I can safely say that Sibree's translation progresses about as smoothly as one sloshing around in a Turtle(tm) pool full of runny egg-whites with three Sumatran carpet- sharks tied to one's back. This is an essential philosophical text; but try and get just the introduction (*Reason and History,* translated by Robert Hartman on Macmillan/Lib. Liberal Arts).
For a philosopher that one must LEARN to read, like Nietzsche (which should hopefully give the Nazism alarmists something to think about), the translation (non-indexed) reminds me of driving without a steering wheel, or like showering in Los Angeles - not something you want to repeat. A good text in that it's the only complete translation of PH that I know of. However, caveat emptor re: the stuff classical translation.
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on 8 May 2015
as expected
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