From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life

4.12 avg rating
( 3,875 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780060175863: From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Highly regarded here and abroad for some thirty works of cultural history and criticism, master historian Jacques Barzun has now set down in one continuous narrative the sum of his discoveries and conclusions about the whole of Western culture since 1500.

In this account, Barzun describes what Western Man wrought from the Renaisance and Reformation down to the present in the double light of its own time and our pressing concerns. He introduces characters and incidents with his unusual literary style and grace, bringing to the fore those that have "Puritans as Democrats," "The Monarch's Revolution," "The Artist Prophet and Jester"--show the recurrent role of great themes throughout the eras.

The triumphs and defeats of five hundred years form an inspiring saga that modifies the current impression of one long tale of oppression by white European males. Women and their deeds are prominent, and freedom (even in sexual matters) is not an invention of the last decades. And when Barzun rates the present not as a culmination but a decline, he is in no way a prophet of doom. Instead, he shows decadence as the creative novelty that will burst forth--tomorrow or the next day.

Only after a lifetime of separate studies covering a broad territory could a writer create with such ease the synthesis displayed in this magnificent volume.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

In the last half-millennium, as the noted cultural critic and historian Jacques Barzun observes, great revolutions have swept the Western world. Each has brought profound change--for instance, the remaking of the commercial and social worlds wrought by the rise of Protestantism and by the decline of hereditary monarchies. And each, Barzun hints, is too little studied or appreciated today, in a time he does not hesitate to label as decadent.

To leaf through Barzun's sweeping, densely detailed but lightly written survey of the last 500 years is to ride a whirlwind of world-changing events. Barzun ponders, for instance, the tumultuous political climate of Renaissance Italy, which yielded mayhem and chaos, but also the work of Michelangelo and Leonardo--and, he adds, the scientific foundations for today's consumer culture of boom boxes and rollerblades. He considers the 16th-century varieties of religious experimentation that arose in the wake of Martin Luther's 95 theses, some of which led to the repression of individual personality, others of which might easily have come from the "Me Decade." Along the way, he offers a miniature history of the detective novel, defends Surrealism from its detractors, and derides the rise of professional sports, packing in a wealth of learned and often barbed asides.

Never shy of controversy, Barzun writes from a generally conservative position; he insists on the importance of moral values, celebrates the historical contributions of Christopher Columbus, and twits the academic practitioners of political correctness. Whether accepting of those views or not, even the most casual reader will find much that is new or little-explored in this attractive venture into cultural history. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Born in France in 1907, Jacques Barzun came to the United States in 1920. After graduating from Columbia College, he joined the faculty of the university, becoming Seth Low Professor of History and, for a decade, Dean of Faculties and Provost. The author of some thirty books, including the New York Times bestseller From Dawn to Decadence, he received the Gold Medal for Criticism from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, of which he was twice president. He lived in San Antonio, Texas, before passing away at age 104.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780060928834: From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0060928832 ISBN 13:  9780060928834
Publisher: Harper Perennial, 2001
Softcover

9780965365109: From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life - 1500 to the Present

Harper..., 2000
Softcover

9780007115501: From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life

Harper..., 2001
Softcover

9780007113828: From Dawn to Decadence

Turtle..., 2001
Hardcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Barzun, Jacques
Published by Harper
ISBN 10: 0060175869 ISBN 13: 9780060175863
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Monky Business: briansmonky
(Worcester, MA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0060175869 From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life - HEAVY, HEAVY == Ask about discounted shipping available when multiple items are purchased at the same time. FAST, RELIABLE, GUARANTEED and happily SHIPPED WITHIN 1 BUSINESS DAY! INTERNATIONAL: Rate shown only covers items 8 oz or less! IF item is heavy additional postage MAY be required. Seller Inventory # BX18-3728

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 8.48
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Jacques Barzun
Published by Harper (2000)
ISBN 10: 0060175869 ISBN 13: 9780060175863
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0060175869

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.21
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

Jacques Barzun
Published by Harper (2000)
ISBN 10: 0060175869 ISBN 13: 9780060175863
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0060175869

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 17.97
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.27
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

Barzun, Jacques
Published by Harper (2000)
ISBN 10: 0060175869 ISBN 13: 9780060175863
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Murray Media
(NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110060175869

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 43.36
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Barzun, Jacques
Published by Harper
ISBN 10: 0060175869 ISBN 13: 9780060175863
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
London Bridge Books
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0060175869 Dispatched from London. Seller Inventory # Z0060175869ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 35.12
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 14.03
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

6.

Barzun, Jacques
ISBN 10: 0060175869 ISBN 13: 9780060175863
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
SPHINX BOOKSTORE
(OTTAWA, ON, Canada)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Condition: New. NEW. Seller Inventory # GG 055

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 40.66
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 16.00
From Canada to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

7.

Jacques Barzun
Published by Harper (2000)
ISBN 10: 0060175869 ISBN 13: 9780060175863
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books Express
(Portsmouth, NH, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0060175869n

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 94.42
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds