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

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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.
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About the author

Will Durant (1885–1981) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize (1968) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977). He spent more than fifty years writing his critically acclaimed eleven-volume series, The Story of Civilization (the later volumes written in conjunction with his wife, Ariel). A champion of human rights issues, such as the brotherhood of man and social reform, long before such issues were popular, Durant’s writing still educates and entertains readers around the world.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Apr 23, 2002
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Pages
351
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ISBN
9780743229104
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Civilization
History / General
History / World
Philosophy / History & Surveys / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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How did we get here?

David Fromkin provides arresting and dramatic answers to the questions we ask ourselves as we approach the new millennium. He maps and illuminates the paths by which humanity came to its current state, giving coherence and meaning to the main turning points along the way by relating them to a vision of things to come. His unconventional approach to narrating universal history is to focus on the relevant past and to single out the eight critical evolutions that brought the world from the Big Bang to the eve of the twenty-first century.

He describes how human beings survived by adapting to a world they had not yet begun to make their own, and how they created and developed organized society, religion, and warfare. He emphasizes the transformative forces of art and the written word, and the explosive effects of scientific discoveries. He traces the course of commerce, exploration, the growth of law, and the quest for freedom, and details how their convergence led to the world of today.

History's great movements and moments are here: the rise of the first empires in Mesopotamia; the exodus from Pharaoh's Egypt; the coming of Moses, Confucius, the Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad; the fall of the Roman Empire; the rise of China; Vasco da Gama finding the sea road to India that led to unification of the globe under European leadership. Connections are made: the invention of writing, of the alphabet, of the printing press, and of the computer lead to an information revolution that is shaping the world of tomorrow. The industrial, scientific, and technological revolutions are related to the credit revolution that lies behind today's world economy. The eighty-year world war of the twentieth century, which ended only on August 31, 1994, when the last Russian troops left German soil, points the way to a long but perhaps troubled peace in the twenty-first.

Where are we now? The Way of the World asserts that the human race has been borne on the waters of a great river--a river of scientific and technological innovation that has been flowing in the Western world for a thousand years, and that now surges forward more strongly than ever. This river highway, it says, has become the way of the world; and because the constitutional and open society that the United States champions is uniquely suited to it, America will be the lucky country of the centuries to come. Fromkin concludes by examining some of the choices that lie ahead for a world still constrained by its past and by human nature but endowed by science with new powers and possibilities. He pictures exciting prospects ahead--if the United States takes the lead, and can develop wisdom on a scale to match its good fortune.
History is the mighty Tower of Experience, which Time has built amidst the endless fields of bygone ages. It is no easy task to reach the top of this ancient structure and get the benefit of the full view. There is no elevator, but young feet are strong and it can be done. -Hendrik Van Loon, in the Foreword to The Story of Mankind It was intended for children, and of course much of the science is hopelessly out of date, but this ambitious, even audacious attempt to offer an overview of the entirety of human history remains a breathtaking work today. A 1921 bestseller, The Story of Mankind won the first Newbery Medal in 1922, and it is no wonder: the book-which begins with the origin of life itself on our planet and the arrival of the earliest protohumans on the scene and ends with "The Last Fifty Years, Including Several Explanations and an Apology"-is abundant with an offbeat charm and packed with the author's own beautiful illustrations and maps that are alive with a fresh, delectable humor. As a document of early modern science writing, it is invaluable. As a delightfully entertaining read, it is not to be missed. AUTHOR BIO: Dutch-American author and educator Hendrik Willem van Loon (1882-1944) sold more than six million books during his lifetime, including The Story of the Bible (1923), Tolerance (1925), and America (1927). After studies at Harvard, Cornell, and the University of Munich, he had a diverse career as a popular professor of European history at Cornell and of social sciences at Antioch College, an Associated Press correspondent in revolutionary Russia and World War I Belgium, and associate editor of the Baltimore Sun from 1923 to 1924. In appreciation for his dedicatedanti-Nazi writing during World War II, he was awarded the Order of Knight of the Netherlands Lion.
This is a completely new and updated edition of J. M. Roberts and Odd Arne Westad's widely acclaimed, landmark bestseller The Penguin History of the World.

For generations of readers The Penguin History of the World has been one of the great cultural experiences - the entire story of human endeavour laid out in all its grandeur and folly, drama and pain in a single authoritative book. Now, for the first time, it has been completely overhauled for its 6th edition - not just bringing it up to date, but revising it throughout in the light of new research and discoveries, such as the revolution in our understanding of many civilizations in the Ancient World. The closing sections of the book reflect what now seems to be the inexorable rise of Asia and the increasingly troubled situation in the West.

About the authors:

J.M. Roberts, CBE, published The Penguin History of the World in 1976 to immediate acclaim. His other major books include The Paris Commune from the Right, The Triumph of the West (which was also a successful television series), The Penguin History of Europe and The Penguin History of the Twentieth Century. He died in 2003.

Odd Arne Westad, FBA, is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics. He has published fifteen books on modern and contemporary international history, among them The Global Cold War, which won the Bancroft Prize, and Decisive Encounters, a standard history of the Chinese civil war. He also served as general co-editor of the Cambridge History of the Cold War.

Reviews

'A work of outstanding breadth of scholarship and penetrating judgements. There is nothing better of its kind' Jonathan Sumption, Sunday Telegraph

'A stupendous achievement' A.J.P. Taylor

'A brilliant book ... the most outstanding history of the world yet written' J.H. Plumb

New York Times Bestseller

A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?

Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?

Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.

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