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Heroes of History: A Brief History of Civilization from Ancient Times to the Dawn of the Modern Age

Durant, Will

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ISBN 10: 0743226127 / ISBN 13: 9780743226127
Published by Simon & Schuster, 2001
Used Condition: Very Good Hard Cover
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Hard Cover - VG/VG - Book and dust jacket are clean and tight with light wear - Index - 348 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 250110

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Heroes of History: A Brief History of ...

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

In the tradition of his bestselling masterpieces THE STORY OF CIVILIZATION and THE LESSONS OF HISTORY, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Will Durrant traces the lives and ideas of those who have helped to define civilization. Four years before his death, Will Durant began work on an abbreviated version of his highly acclaimed eleven-volume series, THE STORY OF CIVILIZATION. The project was conceived as a series of audio lectures, but Durant soon realized that the dialogues could be developed into a book that would serve as a wonderfully readable introduction to the subject of history. Durant completed twenty-one of a proposed twenty-three chapters before his death in 1981, at the age of ninety-six. Those chapters span thousands of years of human history, from Confucius to Shakespeare, from the Roman Empire to the Reformation, finally ended in the eighteenth century. The manuscript was recently found, twenty years after Durant finished it, and its discovery is a major event, not only for lovers of his prose but for students of history and philosophy the world over.

Review:

In this collection of biographical and historical sketches drawn from an unfinished manuscript discovered two decades after his death, Will Durant celebrates historical figures whose examples demonstrate that humans can, "when sufficiently inspired, rise to levels of greatness with the gods themselves."

Durant (1885-1981), the principal author of The Story of Civilization, saw history as a branch of philosophy, and he peppered his stories of great historical actors and events with moral lessons and observed patterns ("One of the most regular sequences in history is that a period of pagan license is followed by an age of puritan restraint and moral discipline"). These brief lectures, touching on leaders and innovators, such as Buddha, Marcus Aurelius, Leonardo da Vinci, and Martin Luther, afford him plenty of opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the past and to offer models for his readers to study and emulate.

Like Durant's other work, this book has an old-fashioned air about it: it is Eurocentric to the core, and it makes almost no mention of women, who surely contributed to the rise of civilizations. Still, fans of Durant's brand of sweeping narrative history will enjoy having these final words from the master. --Gregory McNamee

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