In the tradition of his own bestselling masterpieces The Story of Civilization and The Lessons of History, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Will Durant traces the lives and ideas of those who have helped to define civilization, from its dawn to the beginning of the modern world.

Heroes of History is a book of life-enhancing wisdom and optimism, complete with Durant's wit, knowledge, and unique ability to explain events and ideas in simple, exciting terms. It is the lessons of our heritage passed on for the edification and benefit of future generations—a fitting legacy from America's most beloved historian and philosopher.

Will Durant's popularity as America's favorite teacher of history and philosophy remains undiminished by time. His books are accessible to readers of every kind, and his unique ability to compress complicated ideas and events into a few pages without ever "talking down" to the reader, enhanced by his memorable wit and a razor-sharp judgment about men and their motives, made all of his books huge bestsellers. Heroes of History carries on this tradition of making scholarship and philosophy understandable to the general reader, and making them good reading, as well.

At the dawn of a new millennium and the beginning of a new century, nothing could be more appropriate than this brilliant book that examines the meaning of human civilization and history and draws from the experience of the past the lessons we need to know to put the future into context and live in confidence, rather than fear and ignorance.
The final and most personal work from Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Will Durant-discovered thirty-two years after his death-is a message of insight for everyone who has sought meaning in life or the council of a wise friend in navigating life's journey.From 1968 to 1978, Will Durant made four public allusions to the existence of Fallen Leaves. One, in 1975, hinted at its contents: "a not very serious book that answers the questions of what I think about government, life, death, and God." And in 1975: "I propose...to answer all the important questions, simply, fairly, and imperfectly." Even into his nineties, he worked on the book daily, writing it out on legal notepads. Upon his death in 1981, no one, not even the Durant heirs, knew if he had completed it, or even if it still existed. Thirty-two years later, in a granddaughter's attic trunk, the manuscript was discovered.Fallen Leaves is Will Durant's most personal book. It is precisely as he described: twenty-two short chapters on everything from youth and old age, religion and morals, to sex, war, politics, and art. The culmination of Durant's sixty-plus years spent researching the philosophies, religions, arts, sciences, and civilizations from across the world, Fallen Leaves is the distilled wisdom of a gifted scholar with a renowned talent for rendering the insights of the past accessible. In its preface Durant mentions that over the course of his career he received letters from "curious readers who have challenged me to speak my mind on the timeless questions of human life and fate." With Fallen Leaves he accepted their challenge. It contains strong opinions, elegant prose, and deep insights into the human condition as only Will Durant could provide, as well as his revealing conclusions about the perennial problems and greatest joys we face as a species.
The Age of Louis XIV is the biography of a period (1648-1715) that Spengler considered the apex of modern European civilization. Central to the book is the "Sun King" himself, Louis XIV, who ruled France for over seventy years, longer than almost any European ruler in history. He is the subject of a character study that runs through seven chapters, revealing the flesh and blood beneath the purple and the crown. From France the narrative passes to the Netherlands, which shows the Dutch opening their dikes to save their land from Louis XIV and sending William of Orange to become king of England and a leader of the European alliance against Louis' hegemony. In England we contemplate the heyday of virtue under the Puritans and study the character of Cromwell. We see Milton's passionate career as part of the vain effort to prevent the Stuart Restoration. We find Charles II, the "Merry Monarch," attend boisterous Restoration plays; we skim the diaries of Evelyn and Pepys; and we follow Jonathan Swift from genius to insanity.Crossing the North Sea we trace the tragic heroism of Charles XII of Sweden and the attempt of Peter the Great to lead Russia from barbarism to civilization. We accompany the noble Sobieski of Poland as he rescues Vienna from the Turks. We visit Italy and Spain. We see the Jews proscribed and impoverished in Europe but 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 its passage from superstition, mythology, and intolerance to education, science, and philosophy, for this was the age of Newton, Leibniz, and Spinoza. The book ends with the sunset of Le Roi Soleil: Louis 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.
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