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Exegi monumentum aere perennius


#1 30-10-2010 23:14:35


The Story of Civilization


The Story of Civilization


The Story of Civilization, by husband and wife Will and Ariel Durant, is an eleven-volume set of books covering Western history for the general reader. The volumes sold well for many years, and sets of them were frequently offered by book clubs.

The series was written over a span of more than four decades, and it totals four million words across nearly 10,000 pages, but is incomplete. In the first volume (Our Oriental Heritage, which covers the history of the East through 1933), Will Durant stated that he wanted to include the history of the West through the early 20th century. However, the series ends with The Age of Napoleon because the Durants both died in the 1980s – she in her 80s and he in his 90s – before they could complete additional volumes.

The first six volumes of The Story of Civilization are credited to Will Durant, with Ariel receiving recognition in the acknowledgements. In later volumes, beginning with The Age of Reason Begins, Ariel is credited as a co-author.


    * Volume 1 : Our Oriental Heritage
    * Volume 2 : The Life of Greece
    * Volume 3 : Caesar and Christ
    * Volume 4 : The Age of Faith
    * Volume 5 : The Renaissance
    * Volume 6 : The Reformation
    * Volume 7 : The Age of Reason Begins
    * Volume 8 : The Age of Louis XIV
    * Volume 9 : The Age of Voltaire
    * Volume 10 : Rousseau and Revolution
    * Volume 11 : Age of Napoleon

The Story of Civilization has been criticized by some for simplifications, rash judgments colored by personal convictions, and story-telling, and described as a careless dabbling in historical scholarship.

The counter to such criticism is that Durant’s purpose in writing the series was not to create a definitive scholarly production but to make a large amount of information accessible and comprehensible to the educated public in the form of a comprehensive "composite history." Given the massive undertaking in creating these 11 volumes over 50 years, errors and incompleteness have occurred; yet for an attempt as large in breadth of time and scope as this, there are no similar works to compare.

As Durant says in the preface to his first work, Our Oriental Heritage:

I wish to tell as much as I can, in as little space as I can, of the contributions that genius and labor have made to the cultural heritage of mankind – to chronicle and contemplate, in their causes, character and effects, the advances of invention, the varieties of economic organization, the experiments in government, the aspirations of religion, the mutations of morals and manners, the masterpieces of literature, the development of science, the wisdom of philosophy, and the achievements of art. I do not need to be told how absurd this enterprise is, nor how immodest is its very conception … Nevertheless I have dreamed that despite the many errors inevitable in this undertaking, it may be of some use to those upon whom the passion for philosophy has laid the compulsion to try to see things whole, to pursue perspective, unity and time, as well as to seek them through science in space. … Like philosophy, such a venture (as the creation of these 11 volumes) has no rational excuse, and is at best but a brave stupidity; but let us hope that, like philosophy, it will always lure some rash spirits into its fatal depths.
    —Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage, preface

* The Lessons of History companion volume to Story of Civilization set.

Last edited by Dejuificator (30-10-2010 23:35:32)

#2 30-10-2010 23:22:59


Re: The Story of Civilization

Volume 1 : Our Oriental Heritage

The Story of Civilization I: Our Oriental Heritage … l-Heritage


Many years ago, before the days of The Story of Philosophy, Will Durant planned to write a history of the 19th century. He started to work on it only to find that his subject could be understood only in terms of what had come before. His researches gradually led him into the formation of a plan for writing a history of all civilization, ancient and modern, Occidental and Oriental. His enthusiasm was further spurred by two trips around the world and particularly by an intensive study of the history of the Far East.

Here, then, is the first volume of this STORY OF CIVILIZATION, OUR ORIENTAL HERITAGE, complete in itself. Dr. Durant worked on it steadily from 1927 to 1932, and the book represents the third complete rewriting. OUR ORIENTAL HERITAGE deals first with the establishment of civilization and then takes up, not in rapid review but in rich and fascinating detail, the colorful, complex dramas of the Near East, India and her neighbors, and the Far East. The story is carried up to the present.

Every one of the thousands of facts in OUR ORIENTAL HERITAGE has been checked and double-checked, but to guarantee against possible errors, extra copies of the manuscript were made and sent to specialists, including Professor Harry Wolfson of Harvard, Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Professor H. H. Gowen of the University of Washington, etc.

This volume, then, begins with a chapter on the nature and conditions of civilization; offers a 100-page Introduction on "The Establishment of Civilization" — an attempt to meet Voltaire's demand: "I want to know what were the steps by which men passed from barbarism to civilization." It goes on to record the cultural history — the economic and political organization, the science and art, the religion and morals, the literature and philosophy, the customs and manners — of Egypt, Sumeria, Babylonia, Assyria, Judea and Persia to their conquest by Alexander; and narrates the history of civilization in India from the Vedas to Gandhi, in China from Confucius to Chiang Kai-shek, and in Japan from the earliest times to the present day.

Those who have read OUR ORIENTAL HERITAGE in manuscript have compared it, and the series of which it is a part, with the great work of the French encyclopedists of the 18th century. THE STORY OF CIVILIZATION now comprises eight published volumes, with two more in preparation, and represents the most comprehensive attempt in our times to embrace the vast panorama of man's history and culture.

Last edited by Dejuificator (30-10-2010 23:34:56)

#3 30-10-2010 23:28:25


Re: The Story of Civilization

Volume 2 : The Life of Greece

The Story of Civilization II: The Life of Greece … -of-Greece


In the course of his dynamic synthesis of world history, Will Durant now attacks the absorbing, perennially fascinating problem of Greek civilization. Not since Mahaffy's eight epochal volumes, almost half a century ago, has a historian grappled so boldly with the whole complicated structure of that civilization which has laid its spell on every enlightened generation of thinkers and dreamers.

The Life of Greece is a large, generous book whose amplitude of scope and audacious generalizations recall the golden age of historical writing, before specialization had invaded the field. Dr. Durant tells the whole story of Hellas, from the days of Crete's vast Aegean empire to the final extirpation of the last remnants of Greek liberty, crushed under the heel of an implacably forward-marching Rome. The dry minutiae of battles and sieges, of tortuous statecraft of tyrant and king, get the minor emphasis in what is pre-eminently a vivid re-creation of Greek culture, brought to the reader through the medium of a supple and vigorous prose.

Will Durant looks at the life of Greece, and looks at it whole — quite as whole, indeed, as a cultivated fifth-century Athenian, with his eager, constantly searching mind, looked at the superb picture of Periclean Athens. The best insight into Dr. Durant's method of writing history can be found in the following sentence from the section on the Age of Pericles: "When Pericles, Pheidias, Anaxagoras, Aspasia, and Socrates attended a play by Euripides in the Theater of Dionysus, Athens could see visibly the zenith and unity of the life of Greece: statesmanship, art, science, philosophy, literature, religion, and morals living no separate career as in the pages of chroniclers, but woven into one many-colored fabric of a nation's history."

The familiar analogy between Athens and the great modern democracies is fruitfully enlarged upon in The Life of Greece. The astute Pericles had to face much the same sort of problems that the astute Franklin D. Roosevelt had to face. The building of the Parthenon was part of Pericles' WPA program. Many lived on the dole, and the administration of the dole money was not without its scandals. Taxation and tax evasion were both as ingenious as they are today. The class war, family limitation, sexual freedom, and the conflict between religion and science played their part in a civilization resembling our own in everything except machines.

Not since The Story of Philosophy has Will Durant found a subject that so appeals to him as Hellas. The Life of Greece teems with epigram and wit and a philosopher's considered judgment. "A nation is born stoic, and dies epicurean." "The games of the young are as old as the sins of their fathers." "This persistent effort to subordinate fancy to reason is the dominant quality of the Greek mind, even of Greek poetry. Therefore Greek literature is 'modern,' or rather, contemporary; we find it hard to understand Dante or Milton, but Euripides and Thucydides are kin to us mentally, and belong to our age. This is because, though myths may differ, reason remains the same, and the life of reason makes brothers of its lovers in all times, and everywhere." Like a great drama, The Life of Greece finds a climax in fifth-century Athens, and Will Durant's picture of the city of Pericles is a masterpiece of synthesis, compressing into about two hundred pages the high spots and eternal significances of what many have considered the most fruitful epoch in history.

The Life of Greece may well take its place as the most brilliant story of a magnificently endowed people whose career ended in tragedy and unwanted assimilation because they discovered a world view too late.

Last edited by Dejuificator (30-10-2010 23:34:45)

#4 30-10-2010 23:33:50


Re: The Story of Civilization

Volume 3 : Caesar and Christ

The Story of Civilization III: Caesar and Christ … lization-3


In this massive book, whose scope and wit recall the golden days of historical writing, Dr. Durant recounts the flaming pageant of the rise of Rome from a crossroads town to world mastery. He tells of its achievements through two centuries of security and peace, from the Crimea to Gibraltar and from the Euphrates to Hadrian's Wall, of its spread of classic civilization over the Mediterranean and western European world. He tells of Rome's struggle to preserve its ordered realm from a surrounding sea of barbarism and of its long, slow crumbling and final catastrophic collapse into darkness and chaos.

Primarily a cultural history, Caesar and Christ lavishly discusses government, industry, manners, morals, the status of women, law, philosophy, science, literature, religion, and art. Besides the varied pageant of the Catos, the Scipios, and the Gracchi, of Hannibal, Marius, Sulla, Catiline, Pompey, Caesar, Antony, Cleopatra, and the Emperors, good, bad, and indifferent, we view Cicero (busy in all departments of life), Lucretius, Catullus, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Tacitus, Juvenal, and such cultivators of latterday Hellenism as Plutarch, Lucian, and Marcus Aurelius. We watch the rise of temples, basilicas, and forums, pass a day of games and spectacles at the Flavian amphitheater (correctly nicknamed the Colosseum). Turning to the eastern Mediterranean, we accompany Christ on his ministry, witness the tragic scenes of the Passion, and sail and walk with Paul on his missionary labors. The colors darken, Palmyra rises and falls. The Empire attains a new—and spurious—invincibility under Aurelian, declines, and finally stiffens into a bureaucratic mold.

Caesar and Christ contains many parallels to modern history, and Dr. Durant presents them with lucid authority. He believes that a reading of past events should illuminate the present. In the class struggles and jockeying for power that typify Roman history from the Gracchi to Caesar, he finds an analogue to the development of Europe and America from the French Revolution to the present time. He reminds us that dictators have ever used the same methods. He tells us that the dole was resorted to more than a century before Christ and that the first Roman labor union was established about 600 B.C. We hear of bank failures, pork barrels, depressions, governmental projects and regulations, State Socialism, war-time priority plans, electoral corruption, pressure groups, trade associations, and other phenomena of ancient Rome that might easily fit into front-page headlines of our own era.

Caesar and Christ is Part III of Will Durant's monumental survey of world history. This work on The Story of Civilization originated in 1914 when Dr. Durant first began to collect material. Fame—with The Story of Philosophy— lay a dozen years ahead. More than twenty years later, in 1935, Part I, Our Oriental Heritage, was offered to the public. This was followed in 1939 by the second part, The Life of Greece. In 1944 came Caesar and Christ, the result of twenty-five years' preparation and five years' writing. Like the earlier parts, this volume is an independent self-contained segment of a ten-volume cultural history of civilization. Part IV, The Age of Faith, was published in 1950; Part V, The Renaissance, was published in 1953; Part VI, The Reformation, was published in 1957. In 1961, The Age of Reason Begins was published, as Part VII; it is being followed by The Age of Louis XIV (Part VIII) in 1963, and later by The Age of Voltaire (Part IX) and by Rousseau and Revolution, the concluding volume of this vast and epic panorama.

#5 30-10-2010 23:38:37


Re: The Story of Civilization

Volume 4 : The Age of Faith

The Story of Civilization IV: The Age of Faith … e-of-Faith


THE AGE OF FAITH surveys the medieval achievements and modern significance of Christian, Islamic, and Judaic life and culture from Constantine to Dante — from 325 to 1300 A.D. Like the other volumes in The Story of Civilization series, this is an independent and self-contained work, which at the same time fits into the total plan of a comprehensive history of mankind. It includes the dramatic stories of St. Augustine, Hypatia, Justinian, Mohammed, Harun-al-Rashid, Omar Khayyam, Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lion-Hearted, Saladin, Maimonides, St. Francis, St. Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, and many others, til in the full perspective of integrated history. The greatest love stories in literature — of Héoise and Abélard, of Dante and Beatrice — are here retold with enthralling scholarship.

The "integral method" of this book aims to give a unified picture, and perhaps a new and wider perspective, of medieval life: to inspire the reader, for example, to see Christian civilization against the background of an Islamic civilization of great richness and complexity; to let him see that Christian philosophy was enormously indebted to Moslem and Jewish philosophy; and to view the Crusades not as the assault of civilization upon barbarism, but as the stimulating contact of a young culture with one of far greater maturity and subtlety.

In this spirit THE AGE OF FAITH covers the economy, politics, law, government, religion, morals, manners, education, literature, science, philosophy, and art of the Christians, the Moslems, and the Jews during an epoch that saw vital contests among the three great religions and between the religious and the secular view of human life. All the romance and poverty, serfdom and splendor, piety and immorality, feudalism and monasticism, chivalry and the Crusades, heresies and inquisitions, cathedrals and universities, troubadours and minnesingers, of a picturesque millennium are here gathered into one united, scholarly, and fascinating narrative. The publishers believe that the full and varied life of the Middle Ages has never before been so vividly and organically described.

The book aims to be philosophical history: without pretending to pass moral judgment on the characters of the drama, the author seeks to explain causes, currents, and results, and to find in events a logic and sequence that may illumine our own day. At the same time the burden of the tale is lightened with humor and wit, and philosophical analysis alternates with brilliant character studies of powerful personalities.

The work is divided into five "books" and thirty-nine chapters. Book I begins with the story of Julian the Apostate, who tried and failed to restore paganism in an Empire that Constantine had turned to Christianity. Further chapters describe the barbarian invasions, the epochal legislation of Justinian, and the civilization of Sasanian Persia.

Book II surveys the career of Mohammed, analyzes the Koran, recounts the astonishingly rapid conquest of Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, North Africa, Sicily, and Spain by Islam; studies the caliphate at its height under Harun-al-Rashid; considers the Mohammedan religion in its theory and practice; and reviews all phases of Moslem life and thought.

Book III looks at the Talmud, and summarizes the contributions of medieval Jewry to religion, morals, commerce, finance, science, and philosophy.

Book IV sheds new light on the "Dark Ages" and gives a fresh perspective to feudalism and chivalry.

Book V, "The Climax of Christianity," opens with a dramatic chapter on the Crusades, studies the "Economic Revolution" that followed them, describes the "Gothic Glory" that rose from the new wealth, and sketches "The Morals and Manners of Christendom." A provocative but impartial chapter analyzes the creed, ritual, and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. The book passes on to the literature, science, philosophy, and art of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, epitomizes the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, and concludes with a chapter on Dante as the synthesis and culmination of medieval Christianity.

An Epilogue on "The Medieval Legacy" recapitulates the contributions of the Middle Ages to "modern" (a word frequently used in the twelfth century) life and thought. Its final sentence suggests the transition to Volume V, THE RENAISSANCE published 1953: "In passing from the Age of Faith to the Renaissance we shall be advancing from the uncertain childhood to the lusty and exhilarating youth of a culture that married classic grace to barbaric strength, and transmitted to us, rejuvenated and enriched, that heritage of civilization to which we must always add, but which we must never let die."

#6 30-10-2010 23:41:02


Re: The Story of Civilization

Volume 5 : The Renaissance

The Story of Civilization V: The Renaissance … enaissance


Almost thirty years ago Dr. Will Durant won wide and spectacular popularity overnight with his history of philosophy. Now, as he reaches the fifth volume of his monumental seven-part "Story of Civilization," he is slowly and solidly achieving world fame through his Philosophy of History. For in this new book Will Durant applies his "integral method" to the fascinating and exuberant Italy of the Renaissance, from the birth of Petrarch in 1304 to the death of Titian in 1576.

This "integral method" aims to be philosophical history — to give a unified picture, and a new and wider perspective, than conventional, departmentalized accounts of the past. The key is synthesis on a grand scale — the presentation of all phases of a culture or an age in one total picture and narrative. In THE RENAISSANCE Dr. Durant makes a preliminary study of the economic basis and background — the growth of industry, the rise of banking families like the Medici, the conflicts of labor and capital, and considers the reasons why Italy was the first nation, and Florence the first city in Italy, to feel this awakening of the modern mind. He follows the cultural flowering from Florence to Milan, Mantua, Ferrara, Verona, Venice, Padua, Parma, Bologna, Rimini, Urbino, Perugia, Siena, and Naples, and brings the story to a climax in the Rome of the great Renaissance popes.

An entire civilization thus sits for its portrait, at its glorious climax. In each city of Italy we witness a colorful pageant of princes, queens, dukes, or doges; of poets, historians, scientists, and philosophers; of painters, sculptors, engravers, illuminators, potters, and architects; of industry, education, manners, morals, crime, and dress; of women and love and marriage; of epidemics, famines, earthquakes, and death. We see modern man move boldly from a finite world to an infinite one.

This, then, is the story of the great men who said yes to life, when time seemed young — In the clear morning light of the Renaissance, when the bronze doors of the Baptistery in Florence became symbolically the actual gates of Paradise. In such a setting we learn with Pico della Mirandola how man thought, with Machiavelli how he governed, with Castiglione how he lived, with Savonarola how he died.

At almost every turn Will Durant draws a vivid vignette of characters famous in history: Petrarch, Boccaccio, Cosimo de Medici, Fra Angelico, Donatello, Lorenzo il Magnifico, Botticelli, Politian, Fra Bartolommeo, Andrea del Sarto, Lodovico il Moro, Beatrice and Isabella d'Este, Leonardo da Vinci, Bramante, Piero della Francesca, Signorelli, Perugino, Mantegna, Ariosto, Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Aldus Manutius, Correggio, Alexander VI, Caesar Borgia, Lucrezia Borgia, Julius II, Leo X, Raphael, Michelangelo, Clement VII.

This fifth volume of the Story of Civilization series — completely self-contained — brings the story to a dramatic peak with the sunset glow of Florence and Venice after the terrible Sack of Rome in 1527; but Dr. Durant shows how even the "waning of the Renaissance" (1527-1576) was rich with Titian, Aretino, Veronese, Benvenuto Cellini, and the second life, so to speak, of Michelangelo.

Through this total perspective we realize the self-emancipation of the individual man of the Renaissance as he discovers that "the universe had no other purpose than his happiness." We see every town in Italy fathering genius and banishing it. We luxuriate in the "first transcendent springtime of the modern world." As this pageant unfolds before us, we see the Renaissance, not merely as the rebirth, but as the ripening of a culture of almost blinding splendor. Dr. Durant shows how the Renaissance, by recalling classic culture, ended the thousand-year rule of the Oriental mind in Europe. At the end he prepares us for Erasmus, Bacon and Descartes, as they "echoed the voice of reason amidst the clash of militant faiths." We are then ready for Spinoza, Voltaire, Gibbon, Goethe and the titans of our own time who still breathe the spirit of the Renaissance: "Everywhere today in Europe and the Americas there are urbane and lusty spirits, comrades in the Country of the Mind, who feed and live on this legacy of mental freedom, aesthetic sensitivity, friendly and sympathetic understanding; forgiving life its tragedies, embracing its joys of sense, mind, and soul; and bearing ever in their hearts, amid hymns of hate, and above the cannon's roar, the sovereign song of the Renaissance."

The publishers believe that readers will enjoy the style as well as the substance of this book: the order and lucidity with which the most varied and complex material is presented; the occasional philosophical asides of the author to the reader; and the seasoning of history with flashing wit and quotable aphorisms: In every age and nation civilization is the product, privilege, and responsibility of a minority. Those who desire immortality must pay for it with their lives. The soul mature enough to survive its sophistication. The pervasive pertinacity of nonsense.... Platonic love, the last disappointment that a woman will forgive. Of the unpopular Pordenone's death: His friends said it was poison, his enemies said it was time... In the Renaissance wealth discovered that it was meaningless unless it could transform itself into goodness, beauty, or truth.

Though planned, prepared, written, rewritten, and thrice-revised in three years, this book is the product of a lifetime of study and travel. Dr. Durant first visited Italy in 1912, then again in 1927, 1930, 1936, 1948, and 1951. He disclaims any right to pass a technical judgment on these works, but he has not hesitated to express his preferences. After forty years of study his enthusiasm for the Renaissance retains all the fervor of youth.

Last edited by Dejuificator (30-10-2010 23:41:44)

#7 30-10-2010 23:44:16


Re: The Story of Civilization

Volume 6 : The Reformation

The Story of Civilization VI: The Reformation … eformation


In this new book Will Durant surveys the men and the ideas, the beliefs and the world-shaking conflicts of the Age of the Reformation. It is both a self-contained and independent study of the Reformation—perhaps the most important event in modern history—and at the same time a continuation of Durant's monumental work of history, "The Story of Civilization."

A history of European civilization from Wyclif to Calvin, it seeks to recapture and illuminate the living drama of an age as beset with revolution as our own. Durant finds social revolution accompanying religious revolution in nearly every phase of the Reformation, and it is from this untraditional standpoint of two concurrent dramas that he has written this book.

Durant begins by considering religion in general, its functions in the soul and the group, and the conditions and problems of the Roman Catholic Church in the two centuries before Luther. He observes England, Germany, and Bohemia rehearsing the ideas and conflicts of the Lutheran Reformation, and he considers sympathetically the efforts of Erasmus for the peaceful self-reform of the Church.

In Book II the Reformation proper holds the stage, with Luther and Melanchthon in Germany, Zwingli and Calvin in Switzerland, Henry VIII in England, Knox in Scotland, and Gustavus Vasa in Sweden. Book III looks at "the strangers in the gate": Russia and the Ivans and the Orthodox Church; Islam and its challenging creed, culture, and power; and the struggle of the Jews to find Christians in Christendom.

Book IV goes behind the scenes to study the law and economy, morals and manners, art and music, literature, science, and philosophy of Europe in the age of Luther. In Book V Dr. Durant makes an experiment in empathy—an attempt to view the Reformation from the standpoint of the imperiled Church. He admires the quiet audacity with which she weathered the encompassing storm. In a brief epilogue he considers the Renaissance and the Reformation, Catholicism and the Enlightenment, in the large perspective of modern history and thought. Durant makes an honest effort to be impartial on a highly controversial subject, although he admits that "nothing is so irritating as impartiality."

In The Reformation Dr. Durant once again illuminates and humanizes, with eloquence, scrupulous but luminous scholarship, and calm wisdom, the men behind the faiths and embattled forces of their time. The age was one of towering personalities, and Durant has made nearly all of them the subject of revealing vignettes: Wyclif, Huss, Joan of Arc, Villon, Ferdinand and Isabella, Columbus, Magellan, Erasmus, Luther, Dürer, Holbein, Calvin, Knox, Francis I, Charles V, Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medici, Henry VIII, Thomas More, "Bloody Mary" (who, in her early reign, is here called "the gentle Queen"), Ivan the Terrible, Hafiz, Tamerlane, Suleiman the Magnificent, Rabelais, Hans Sachs, Gutenberg, Copernicus, Vesalius, Leo X, Saint Ignatius Loyola, Saint Teresa of Avila. Here are kings and popes, rebels and heretics, geniuses and destroyers, saints and cynics, artists, philosophers, and scientists—the makers and movers of their time seen both intimately and in their power and glory.

Durant lightens his thousand pages with occasional smiles. "Men lie most when they govern states." Cellini "had little praise for others after meeting his own needs." In the martial fourteenth century "a natural death was a disgrace that no man could survive." The invention of printing "provided, after speech, a readier instrument for the dissemination of nonsense than the world has ever known until our time." He is often eloquent, as in the opening pages on the function of religion and in the closing lines of Chapter XXV, where he feels that his "ink is running dry" and mourns "the maddening stinginess of time."

"The present is the past rolled up for action, and the past is the present unrolled for our understanding." Throughout the book this majestic sense of continuity and perspective, of the eternal and the ephemeral, guides Durant as, considering the Age of the Reformation, he attempts to unravel the present into its constituent past.

The Reformation is Volume VI in Durant's "The Story of Civilization," which began with Our Oriental Heritage (published in 1935) and has progressed with The Life of Greece (1939), Caesar and Christ (1944), The Age of Faith (1950), and The Renaissance (1953). The series has met with extraordinary critical acclaim (see back of jacket for tributes) and wide reader acceptance. Individual volumes have been translated into a total of twenty-two different languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, and several Indian dialects. Dr. Durant plans to conclude the series in 1962 with a seventh volume, The Age of Reason, which will bring the story down to Napoleon and 1800.

#8 30-10-2010 23:46:57


Re: The Story of Civilization

Volume 7 : The Age of Reason Begins

The Story of Civilization VII: The Age of Reason Begins … son-Begins


This book continues the life work of what may now be called the Durant family in writing the history of civilization. The six volumes previously published (listed on the back of this jacket) carried the story of mankind from the earliest beginnings of Asiatic civilization to the death of Calvin in 1564. Volume VII, The Age of Reason Begins, surveys the turbulent century of religious strife and scientific progress from the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558 to the death of Descartes in 1650 —a century marked by such great names as Bacon, Shakespeare, Galileo, and Rembrandt.

The table of contents of The Age of Reason Begins reveals a wealth of famous personalities and great events. Book I, "The English Ecstasy," opens with a portrait of the fascinating Queen Elizabeth. It studies Sidney, Raleigh, Spenser, Marlowe, Jonson, and Donne, and undertakes a fresh review of Shakespeare. In history, it covers the loves and death of Mary Queen of Scots, and that creative conflict between King and Parliament which ended with the victory of Parliament and the execution of the King. And it sounds the basic theme of the volume by carefully analyzing the philosophy of Francis Bacon, the "Chanticleer of Reason."

Book II, "The Faiths Fight for Power," surveys the life and culture of Continental Europe from the accession of Philip II in 1556 to the close of the Thirty Years' War in 1648. We see the Catholic Church in its vigorous recovery under Sixtus V; we watch the astonishing infiltration of the Jesuits in Europe, and their communistic organization of Paraguay; we assist with Monteverdi at the birth of opera; we follow Tasso in his poetic flights from Jerusalem to insanity; and we study the development of the baroque style, as Bernini plants his majestic colonnade before St. Peter's in Rome.

Dr. and Mrs. Durant turn to the complex history of Spain — Philip II, the Armada, the Inquisition. They examine the golden age of Spanish literature and art, with the works of Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Calderón, El Greco, Velázquez and Murillo. In France they survey the intrigues of Catherine de Médicis, the adventures of Henry IV, the statesmanship of Cardinal Richelieu, the artistic creations of Corneille in the theater and Poussin in art. Twenty lively and scandalous pages are devoted here to Montaigne, whom Sainte-Beuve called "the wisest Frenchman who ever lived."

This too was the supreme age of the Netherlands, in their heroic defense against Philip II and Alva. It was the age of Rubens and Vandyck, of Frans Hals and Rembrandt.

Indeed, nothing is missing from this chronicle of events, personalities, ideas, and art. The authors study Sweden and Denmark, and Christina, the philosopher-queen; Poland making her peace with the Church; Russia in her "Time of Troubles," with the death of Boris Godunov and the rise of the Romanov dynasty; Turkey in the decline of the Seraglio and the defeat of Lepanto; Persia under Shah Abbas the Great. ... In Germany we pass through the horrors of the Thirty Years' War to the assassination of Wallenstein, the death of Gustavus Adolphus, and finally the Peace of Westphalia, in which the warring powers and faiths join to reconstruct an exhausted continent.

Amid the conflict of armies and creeds, the authors show us in Book III the development of science and the resurrection of philosophy. This was the age of Kepler and Galileo, of Bruno and Descartes, the birth of the compound microscope, the telescope, the thermometer, and the barometer, the invention of the logarithmic and decimal systems, the discovery of the planetary orbits and laws. Slowly, science and philosophy were vanquishing superstition; modern Europe and the modern mind were taking form.

* * *

Lavishly illustrated, fully indexed and annotated, this seventh volume of THE STORY OF CIVILIZATION — perhaps the best-known history of government, literature, morals, religion, science, philosophy, and an ever written — is an essential part of the library of anyone who seeks to know the wisdom and the lessons of the past. It is another major chapter in the famous series that has now become a permanent institution of learning, knowledge, and enlightenment, read throughout the world, and translated into most of the major languages of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It is a gift for the years.

#9 30-10-2010 23:49:07


Re: The Story of Civilization

Volume 8 : The Age of Louis XIV

The Story of Civilization VIII: The Age of Louis XIV … -Louis-XIV


In 1926 Will Durant achieved world-wide renown by his now classic Story of Philosophy. Thirty-seven years and two million copies later, he and his wife have won still greater acclaim by their Story of Civilization— the series on which they have labored together since 1921 and which has been published in ten languages. They have applied philosophy to history by their "integral method" of seeing each period in "total perspective" (which is their definition of philosophy): i.e., presenting in one integrated narrative all the facets of an age — government, economy, religion, morals, manners, literature, art, music, science, and philosophy.

In 1935 Volume I appeared as Our Oriental Heritage; since then, volumes on Greece, Rome, the Age of Faith, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the age of Elizabeth I have appeared; and now comes Volume VIII, The Age of Louis XIV. Like its predecessors, this book is an independent and self-contained whole; it is the biography of a period (1648-1715) which Spengler considered the apex of modern European civilization. "Some centuries hence," Frederick the Great correctly predicted to Voltaire, "they will translate the good authors of the time of Louis XIV as we translate those of the Age of Pericles or Augustus." Those authors are lovingly treated here: Pascal and Fénelon, Racine and Boileau, Mme. de Sévigné and Mme. de La Fayette, and, above all, the philosopher-dramatist Molière, exposing the vices and hypocrisies of the age.

The "Sun King" himself is the subject of a character study that runs through seven chapters, revealing the flesh and blood beneath the purple and the crown. He is seen at his worst in his struggle with Jansenists and Huguenots; at his best in his patronage of literature and art; and at his most human in his love affairs with Henrietta Anne of Orléans, Louise de La Vallière, Mme. de Montespan, and Mme. de Maintenon.

From France the narrative passes to the Netherlands, stops at the domestic idyls of Vermeer, and sees the Dutch opening their dikes to save their land from Louis XIV, and sending their Stadholder to England to become its king.

In England we study the strange character of Cromwell, watch him struggling with the socialists in his army, and contemplate the heyday of virtue under the Puritans. We see Milton's passionate career as a literary aspect of the effort to prevent the Stuart Restoration. We find Charles II a lustily "Merry Monarch," with more manners than morals. We attend some boisterous Restoration plays, skim the diaries of Evelyn and Pepys, and trace the trajectory of Jonathan Swift from Stella to Vanessa, from genius to insanity.

Crossing the North Sea we follow the tragic heroism of Charles XII, and the attempt of Peter the Great to lead Russia from barbarism to civilization. We accompany the noble Sobieski to his rescue of Vienna from the Turks. We visit Italy again, and Spain. We see the Jews proscribed and impoverished, rising to riches in Amsterdam, and following Sabbatai Zevi in a desperate hope of regaining Palestine and freedom.

All this forms the background for the "intellectual adventure" of the European mind in this age — its passage from superstition, mythology, and intolerance to education, science, and philosophy. This was the age when Newton and Leibniz gave simultaneous birth to calculus, and when Newton bound the planets and the stars with a chain of universal gravitation. Toward the end of the volume the authors spread themselves out on their favorite subject — philosophy — and devote a full chapter, with special love and care, to Spinoza.

As the book began with the Sun King ascendant and triumphant, so, after a tour of ten countries, ten sciences, and a hundred geniuses, it ends with the sunset of Le Roi Soleil, the twilight of a god: Louis punished for his aggressions by a swarm of enemies gathering around him; fighting till his people are destitute and disillusioned, till his treasury and his heart are empty; dying defeated and repentant, begging his grandson and successor not to imitate his taste for splendor and war; and followed in his funeral by the insults of the crowd. Unwittingly he had prepared for Voltaire and the Revolution.

#10 30-10-2010 23:51:24


Re: The Story of Civilization

Volume 9 : The Age of Voltaire

The Story of Civilization IX: The Age of Voltaire … f-Voltaire


The Age of Voltaire is the penultimate volume in the monumental Durant series chronicling The Story of Civilization, representing almost fifty years of dedicated research, exacting scholarship and creative and inspiring authorship. It is by far the best known, most popular and most comprehensive history of mankind now available, forming a vast panoramic picture of civilization, from the earliest days to the French Revolution. The nine volumes already published, now available in ten languages, have won the authors international acclaim and have become "basic books" in millions of homes the world over, constituting the foundation of a liberal education. It is not just the clarity, the "wisdom winged with wit" of their writing, their brilliant mastery of complex fact, that have won the Durants so great a global readership; it is, above all, their method—for it is the aim of Dr. and Mrs. Durant to present each period of history in total perspective, giving the reader an integrated and unified narrative of all the facets of a given age or culture — including government, economy, religion, morals, manners, literature, art, music, science and philosophy. Their history is not a chronicle of battles, dates, kings and events, though these have their places in it; it is a record of man's great achievements, failures and hopes, in short, the whole vast heritage of countless generations and cultures which we call civilization.

This latest volume, The Age of Voltaire, is, like its predecessors, an independent and self-contained whole. It is the biography of a great man and the great period of history which he embodied, the story of the revolution in thought and spirit mat was the forerunner of the French Revolution.

The volume begins with the youth of Voltaire, and describes the French Regency, a period of corruption and debauchery marching hand in hand with polished manners and elegant art. Here is the saga of John Law, the affable Scots banker whose system plunged France into bankruptcy. Here are the incomparable artists of the Regency, brushing to one side the ornate gilding and the sedate phrases of the Sun King's now unfashionable age, to create a new world of simplicity, sensuality and skepticism: Watteau, the painter; Lesage, the satirist; and the young Voltaire himself, brilliant, dangerously satiric, moving from the court to the salons and the theater, and from them to the Bastille.

We follow Voltaire's banishment to England, and study with him the flowering of the Augustan Age. Five chapters describe the civilization of England under the first two Georges, already swiftly changing with the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, already noted for its prosperity, its laws and its self-absorption. In politics it is the age of Robert Walpole and the elder Pitt; in religion, the age of Wesley; in philosophy, the age of Hume; in literature, the age of Pope, Richardson, Fielding and Smollett. We examine London in the early part of the eighteenth century, its manners and morals, its laws and punishments; we study the painting of Hogarth and the music of Handel.

Returning to France with Voltaire, the Durants describe the France of Louis XV, the complex relationships between nobility, clergy, bourgeoisie and peasantry, in which lay the seeds of revolution. They provide a brilliant picture of the fabulous court in the reign of Mme. de Pompadour; they put into perspective the writings of Montesquieu, including the Persian Letters and Spirit of Laws; they show us the art of Boucher and the triumph of rococo; the acting of Adrienne Lecouvreur, the works of Marivaux, Crébillon fils and the Abbé Prévost. They describe Voltaire's idyll with Mme. du Chatelet in Cirey, and his departure for Germany in 1750.

With that departure we move east, crossing Germany from the Rhine to Berlin, studying the life and art of the major cities on the way. The Durants explore the career and music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and delineate the struggle between Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, and Maria Theresa of Austria. They trace the youth, the accession and the Machiavellian diplomacy of the Prussian King, and his admiration for and quarrel with Voltaire. In Frederick the Great we see, as Voltaire did, the age-old German conflict between art and war. Leaving Germany, we travel with Voltaire to his sanctuary in Switzerland, and examine the history, the religious conflicts, and the singular independence of that remarkable country.

Three extensive chapters discuss the growth of knowledge in the eighteenth century, the "scholarly revelation" of alien cultures and the expanding quest of science. Here are accounts of the life and works of such men as Euler, Lagrange, Joseph Priestley, Lavoisier, Herschel, Laplace, Linnaeus and Buffon, as well as such quacks as Mesmer....

The culminating chapters relate the "Attack upon Christianity" by the French philosophes: the atheism and communism of the priest Meslier, the materialism of La Mettrie, the Encyclopédie of Diderot, the atheism of d'Holbach, the campaign of Voltaire and his associates to "Ecraser l'Infâme," a campaign which reached its triumph in the fall of the Jesuits and the "retreat of religion" in the decades just before the Revolution.

Finally, the Durants have provided a unique and altogether unexpected pleasure for the reader, an "Epilogue in Elysium," recording an imaginary discus-ion between Pope Benedict XIV and Voltaire, a dialogue on the significance and value of religion, which probes deeply and brilliantly both sides of such a discourse-at-the-summit.

#11 30-10-2010 23:53:47


Re: The Story of Civilization

Volume 10 : Rousseau and Revolution

The Story of Civilization X: Rousseau and Revolution … Revolution


The publication of Rousseau and Revolution is more than a cause for pleasure for the hundreds of thousands of readers of The Story of Civilization. It is a major event, for it marks the conclusion of a lifetime's work and the completion of what is certainly the most ambitious, widely read and best-known work of history in our time. With this volume Will and Ariel Durant bring to a splendid finale their "magnificent and monumental" ten-volume chronicle — over four decades in work — of our cultural, political, philosophical, religious and social heritage, from its roots in ancient Oriental and Greek society to the shaping of the modern world.

Rousseau and Revolution, ranging over a Europe in ferment, centers on the passionate rebel-philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the great exponent of the Romantic impulse toward self-exploration and social revolt, who contended with the great rationalist, Voltaire, for the mind of Europe; who condemned civilization as a disease, glorified the noble savage, proclaimed to the world with equal intensity his own love affairs and the natural Rights of Man, and who became the patron saint of the French Revolution and of its progeny — the worldwide social upheavals of two centuries.

With Rousseau as its focal point, the Durants' incomparable narrative progresses across a whole continent—to a Spain convulsed by the horrors of war, witnessed and preserved for our eternal outrage by Goya; to the Italy of Vivaldi and Tiepolo, of Casanova and Cagliostro; to the Imperial Russian court of Catherine the Great; to Poland, destroyed as a political entity, reborn as a romantic dream of nationalism.

The Durants show us the tragic reign of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II and paint for us a vivid and enduring portrait of the life and work of Mozart. We see Frederick the Great rebuilding Prussia, while Germany, still a mass of separated states, undergoes an epochal intellectual revolution — in science and philosophy with Immanuel Kant, in literature with the protean figures of Goethe and Schiller.

We feel again the ancient struggle of the Jews for existence and opportunity; we examine the tribulations of such republics as Switzerland and the Netherlands, of such monarchies as Denmark and Sweden; we study the bright career of Gustavus III and the splendor of the Swedish enlightenment.

Crossing the North Sea to England, we observe, beneath the delectable surface of aristocratic life as caught on the glowing canvases of Reynolds and Gainsborough, beneath the intellectual bonhomie of the London beloved of David Garrick and Samuel Johnson, a rising storm: the King at odds with Parliament, Parliament with the people, Britain with her colonies ... and the first disturbing wave of the Industrial Revolution that is to engulf and change the world.

The circle is closed in the France of Marie Antoinette — with the death of the octogenarian Voltaire, his intellect undimmed; with the breakdown and death of Rousseau; with the complex roots of the Revolution winding deep into every stratum of society; and finally with the storming of the Bastille. An old civilization dies in the birth pangs of the new as the Durants' great chronicle of 4,000 years that shaped our world is brilliantly concluded.

#12 30-10-2010 23:56:15


Re: The Story of Civilization

Volume 11 : Age of Napoleon

The Story of Civilization XI: Age of Napoleon … f-Napoleon


IN THIS triumphant and massive work, perhaps the finest to date in the long careers of Will and Ariel Durant, whose multivolumed Story of Civilization has reached hundreds of thousands of readers and established itself as one of the greatest and most enduring classics of history, the central figure is Napoleon, the archetypal hero, whose restless, ambitious and intelligent mind dominated his age and has never ceased to fascinate the world he helped to fashion in the course of his ambitions. To his enigmatic character and incredible career the Durants have brought the full range of their genius and skill— never has the Emperor been portrayed more fully, never have his gifts, faults, complexities and achievements been so brilliantly illuminated or so intimately described.

Yet if Napoleon Bonaparte is the central figure of this engrossing narrative, even he, heroic and unique, is dwarfed by the age which took his name: for the Durants have re-created the life, the history, the arts, the science, the politics, the philosophy, the manners and morality, the very spirit of the turbulent epoch that began with the French Revolution, ended with the fall of the Emperor, and ushered in the modern world. It was an age that opened with a feudal peasantry in revolt, and ended with the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and "modern" thought, an age in which ancient monarchies were transformed into modern states, an age that included great warriors like Napoleon and Wellington, great artists such as Chateaubriand, Byron, William Blake, Jane Austen, Wordsworth, Beethoven, Turner, Coleridge, Shelley, great philosophers such as Fichte, Hegel, Godwin, Malthus, Bentham, great scientists such as Jenner, Dalton, Rumford and Davy, great men of politics such as the younger Pitt, Charles James Fox, Metternich, Talleyrand, Mirabeau, Marat, powerful monarchs such as Paul I of Russia, Alexander I of Russia, George III of England, Francis II of Austria, the hopeful, exiled Bourbons, and the protean Emperor himself....

To this vast task, the Durants have brought their special talents, describing every advance in art, industry, thought and science, creating unforgettable portraits of great men and women, describing with practiced ease and polish the turmoil of a renascent France, the golden age of English power and elegance, the agony of Russia at war with Napoleon and herself, the decline of ancient Austria, the struggle of Prussia to regain her status as a great power, the emergence from the long wars of Napoleon's age (and from the artistic, cultural and philosophical ferment of his time) of a new world. Their book, the eleventh volume of The Story of Civilization, is at once a masterpiece and an enduring classic, as breathlessly readable in narrative as it is informative in fact.

#13 30-10-2010 23:59:32


Re: The Story of Civilization

The Lessons of History

AUDIO … Jn3FmDf1mq
PDF … of-History


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, statesmen, 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.

Author : Will and Ariel Durant

Last edited by Dejuificator (31-10-2010 00:00:27)

#14 31-10-2010 16:08:51


Re: The Story of Civilization

Heroes of History

Will Durant - Heroes of 166.4 MB!GYEBRQ4A!eJi4z07QX … vSgcCaJyCw


A Brief History of Civilization front Ancient Times to the Dawn of the Modern Age

This brilliant book examines the meaning of human civilization and history. Drawing from the experience of the past, it serves as an accessible guide to put the future in context. These are the lessons we need to know to live in optimistic confidence, rather than fear and ignorance.

Four years before his death, Will Durant began work on an abbreviated version of his highly acclaimed 11-volume series, The Story of Civilization. The manuscript was recently discovered by Durant scholar John Little. The wit, knowledge, and unique ability of Durant to explain events and ideas are now passed on for the benefit of future generations - a fitting legacy from America's most beloved historian.

Heroes of History first answers the question, what is civilization? It then explores the contributions of great minds from China and India through Egypt, the Greek and Roman empires, the Renaissance and the Reformation, and concludes with Shakespeare and Bacon. It offers the keyhole through which we can spy, in Durant's words,

...a special Country of the Mind, wherein a thousand saints, statesmen, inventors, scientists, poets, artists, musicians, lovers, and philosophers still live and speak, teach and carve and sing.

Will Durant (1885-1981) was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize (1968) and the Medal of Freedom (1977). He and his wife, Ariel, spent over 50 years writing The Story of Civilization. Throughout his life, Durant was passionate in his quest to bring philosophy out of academia and into the lives of everyone.

John Little, compiler of Heroes of History (published in print by Simon & Schuster, 2001), is the world's foremost authority on the Durants' lives, work, and philosophy. Little's introduction to this book reveals the story of its development.

Grover Gardner, with a distinguished career reading audiobooks, has been named by AudioFile magazine as a "Voice of the Century."

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