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Democracy, Esther, Mont Saint Michel and Chartres, The Education of Henry Adams Hardcover – November 15, 1983

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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  • William James : Writings 1902-1910 : The Varieties of Religious Experience / Pragmatism / A Pluralistic Universe / The Meaning of Truth / Some Problems of Philosophy / Essays (Library of America)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Pure delight. -- USA Today

[O]ne sees the full range of Henry Adams ... The apparatus prepared by Ernest and Jayne Samuels is illuminating. -- Language and Literature

From the Publisher

The Library of America is an award-winning, nonprofit program dedicated to publishing America's best and most significant writing in handsome, enduring volumes, featuring authoritative texts. Hailed as "the most important book-publishing project in the nation's history" (Newsweek), this acclaimed series is restoring America's literary heritage in "the finest-looking, longest-lasting edition ever made" (New Republic).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1246 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (November 15, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940450127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940450127
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
While Adams novels (Democracy and Esther) may be lightweight, the other two works included in this volume are two of the best non-fiction American books ever. Adams has the kind of intellect that seems capable of encompassing everything. Like Joseph Campbell or Harold Bloom, Adams often leaves the reader in awe of how much he knows and how he is able to make the connections that so clearly illuminate everything he touches upon. This is one of my favorite volumes in the Library of America series, and I know that anyone who appreciates intelligence, wit, and charm in a writer will enjoy reading it.
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The Library of America is one of the best organizations. Here at last are both novels, his interesting autobiography, and Mont St Michel all under one roof.
"Democracy" is one of the best political novels of all time and speaking as a denizen of the nation's capital, very little has changed. Esther is attempt deal with the "woman question." Clearly the inspiration of both books is Mrs. Henry Adams. Known as "Voltaire in petticoats" (Henry James), she later tragically took her own life following a period of depression. The death of his wife led to Henry Adams' retirement from public life. This subject is covered in Ernest Samuels' wonderful biography (which I also recommend).
I suggest a look at his biography since the subject of Marion Clover Adams is avoided entirely in "The Education of Henry Adams." Henry Adams may not discuss his wife, but he does touch on nearly everything else of importance in his autobiography. "Growing up Adams," life in Europe with Garibaldi's forces, life at the British legation in London during the Civil War are all addressed. The best and probably the most key chapter in the book is the one entitled "The Virgin and Dynamo." Adams uses the 1876 cenntenial fair as a departure to meditate of the impact of the industrial revolution. Adams believed with the growth of technology that man would somehow outgrow the simple humanity of the Middle Ages (it would have been interesting if Adams had lived long enough to meet someone like Carl Jung to see what he would have to say on this subject!). One of the foremost historians (the Library of America has also issued the history of Jefferson and Madison's Administrations, which is a classic), Adams became interested in the Middle Ages and his survey of the two great cathedrals of France Chartes and Mont St. Michel is the final book in the volume. I cannot recommend this book too highly, it is a must for all fans of Henry Adams and those who would like to experience him for the first time.
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I believe that Henry Adams was an extraordinary visionary and interpreter of the developing world in his age. His interpretation and studies of 12th century religion is fir me deeply inspirational.His writings about Chartes and Mont Saint Michel are a unique gift to our religious understandings.
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