Arnold J. Toynbee: A Life

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Oxford University Press, USA, Apr 20, 1989 - Historians - 368 pages
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One of the most remarkable thinkers of this century, Arnold Toynbee won world-wide recognition as the author of the monumental ten-volume A Study of History. Its publication and phenomenal success brought him fame and the highest praise, as the reading public proclaimed him the most renowned scholar in the world. This thought-provoking, engaging study of Toynbee, written by one of today's most eminent historians, weaves together Toynee's intellectual accomplishments and the personal difficulties of his private life. Providing both an intimate portrait of a leading thinker and a judicious evaluation of his work and his legacy for the the study of history, William H. McNeill offers both a biography and a commentary on how to write and understand history. Along with an illuminating discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of A Study of History and the countless other works written by Toynbee, McNeill offers a compelling examination of the responses of other historians (including the devastating attack launched by Hugh Trevor-Roper) and Toynbee's attempts to modify his Study to answer these criticisms. McNeill also explores his tormented personal life, including his troubled marriage to Rosalind Murray and the suicide of his son, Anthony. In this sympathetic depiction of a life, both triumphant and tragic, McNeill brings his skills to bear on one of the greatest figures in his field, illuminating a career of rare accomplishment.

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This is a book that many more people should read! Arnold Toynbee set out to write a book that could be used as a structure for continuing studies of how large human societies with consistent ... Read full review

Arnold J. Toynbee, a life

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It is a rare treat when one eminent historian writes a life of another, and when two of the 20th-century's great practitioners of the craft are author and subject, it is potential cause for rejoicing ... Read full review


IGreat Expectations
IIBalliol and the Breakupof Toynbees Parental Home19071911
IIIGrand Tour Donhood and Marriage19111914
IVThe Great Warand the Peace Conference19141919
VThe Koraes Professorship19191924
A New Equilibrium19241930
VIITriumph and Defeat19301939
VIIIWorld War II19391946
IXFame and Fortune19461955
XToynbee as a World Figure19561965
XIThe Closing Decade of a Busy Life19661975

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About the author (1989)

About the Author: William H. McNeill is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Chicago. He is a past president of the American Historical Association, a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an honorary member of the Royal Historical Society. He is the author of several books, including A World History, The Shape of European History, and the National Book Award-winning The Rise of the West.

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