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Will Durant once wrote that "most history is guessing, & the rest is prejudice." Now, 33 years later, the Durants, in this peroration to their monumental "Story of Civilization," look back to record the lessons & conclusions of their 10-volume excursion into human folly & achievement--&, coincidental...

Will Durant once wrote that "most history is guessing, & the rest is prejudice." Now, 33 years later, the Durants, in this peroration to their monumental "Story of Civilization," look back to record the lessons & conclusions of their 10-volume excursion into human folly & achievement--&, coincidentally, to determine what value historical guesswork & historians' predispositions may have in understanding the nature of humanity. Their reflections are thematic in nature, discussing the influence & effect upon history of certain qualities, institutions & movements: race, character, moral systems, religion, socialism, government, war etc. Their overall conclusion is at once optimistic & realistic; the phenomenon of progress is no figment of the historian's imagination; it's real, in the sense that each generation is born to a heritage richer than that received by their fathers. Thus, the 20th century is the most blessed of all eras so far, from a cultural standpoint, for it has assimilated the best of the Periclean Greeks, of the Renaissance, of the Voltairian age etc. The Durants' "Story" is, despite the cavils of a few disputatious historians, the historical synthesis par excellence for the intelligent nonspecialist. The Lessons of History, despite its extreme brevity, forms an integrally necessary part of that opus & must be read as such, or as an independent work in the tradition of Augustine's Retractationes & Toynbee's Reconsiderations.--Kirkus (edited)

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Number of Pages: 119

ISBN: 1567310249

ISBN-13: 9781567310245


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This is a great book I really liked which summarizes some of the larger themes of history, very incisive. And unlike most history books, it's actually really small, and it covers a lot of ground

Is this the highest wisdom-per-word book ever? If it's not, what is?

Here's Amy Cuddy on "power posing": Book notes: The Lessons of History The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant is an amazing book.

I could reread lessons of history annually for the rest of my life. So. Much. Wisdom.

Will and Ariel Durant provide an unparalleled multi-disciplinary recount of history, covering major themes, events and people. This 100 page book is an incredible summary of their 10,000+ page series, The Story of Civilization.