The lessons of history

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, 1968 - History - 117 pages
17 Reviews
In this illuminating and thoughtful book, Will and Ariel Durant have succeeded in distilling for the reader the accumulated store of knowledge and experience from their four decades of work on the ten monumental volumes of "The Story of Civilization." The result is a survey of human history, full of dazzling insights into the nature of human experience, the evolution of civilization, the culture of man. With the completion of their life's work they look back and ask what history has to say about the nature, the conduct and the prospects of man, seeking in the great lives, the great ideas, the great events of the past for the meaning of man's long journey through war, conquest and creation - and for the great themes that can help us to understand our own era.

To the Durants, history is "not merely a warning reminder of man's follies and crimes, but also an encouraging remembrance of generative souls ... a spacious country of the mind wherein a thousand saints, statesman, inventors, scientists, poets, artists, musicians, lovers, and philosophers still live and speak, teach and carve and sing..."

Designed to accompany the ten-volume set of "The Story of Civilization, The Lessons of History" is, in its own right, a profound and original work of history and philosophy.

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Review: The Lessons of History

User Review  - Blake Brownrigg - Goodreads

A more general set of essays and lessons taken from studying and writing the twelve volumes of the Story of History. So, more philosophy, fewer dates and data. Lots to take here from a more general background in history, but too short to seem satisfying. Read full review

Review: The Lessons of History

User Review  - Jameson - Goodreads

I inherited much of my father's library many years ago, including the entire eleven volume Story of Civilization, by Will and Ariel Durant. Included in the set was the single slim volume they wrote ... Read full review

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Contents

Preface
7
Hesitations
11
History and the Earth
14
Copyright

14 other sections not shown

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About the author (1968)

American historian and essayist Will Durant was born in North Adams, Massachusetts. He earned his undergraduate degree at St. Peter's College in New Jersey and went on to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1917 from Columbia University. While teaching at the libertarian Ferrer Modern School in New York, he had as a pupil a young woman named Ada Kaufman, whom he later called Ariel. She became his wife---and his coauthor. In 1917 Durant published his first work, his doctoral dissertation, Philosophy and the Social Problem . In 1926 he published another work, The Story of Philosophy. The following year, he began writing the comprehensive history of civilization on which he was to spend much of the next 30 years of his life, the massive Story of Civilization. By the time the seventh volume was published in 1961, Ariel Durant's diligent assistance on the project had earned her title-page recognition as coauthor. The Durants made several world tours to visit the countries they treated in their history and received countless honorary degrees. In 1968 they received the Pulitzer Prize for Rousseau and Revolution, the tenth and final volume of their story. Explaining why they stopped at this point in history, they wrote: "We find ourselves exhausted on reaching the French Revolution. We know that this event did not end history, but it ends us." The Durants brought popular history to the intelligent lay reader, a fact that Orville Prescott noted:"To introduce and to popularize is not less worthy an enterprise than to unearth some hitherto unknown facts or to present some new and controversial theory. Many professional historians believe that it is, and some have looked down their noses at the Durants. The truth is that the art of history includes both kinds of writing and needs both. The scholar who delves into obscure archives is essential; without him ignorance would prevail. But the writer who can make history available to the general reader is necessary too.

American historian and essayist Will Durant was born in North Adams, Massachusetts. He earned his undergraduate degree at St. Peter's College in New Jersey and went on to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1917 from Columbia University. While teaching at the libertarian Ferrer Modern School in New York, he had as a pupil a young woman named Ada Kaufman, whom he later called Ariel. She became his wife and his coauthor. In 1917, Durant published his first work, his doctoral dissertation, Philosophy and the Social Problem . In 1926 he published another work, The Story of Philosophy. The following year, he began writing the comprehensive history of civilization on which he was to spend much of the next 30 years of his life, the massive Story of Civilization. By the time the seventh volume was published in 1961, Ariel Durant's diligent assistance on the project had earned her title-page recognition as co-author. The Durants made several world tours to visit the countries they treated in their history and received countless honorary degrees. In 1968 they received the Pulitzer Prize for Rousseau and Revolution, the tenth and final volume of their story. Explaining why they stopped at this point in history, they wrote, "We find ourselves exhausted on reaching the French Revolution. We know that this event did not end history, but it ends us.

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