- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Printing edition (November 6, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743226127
- ISBN-13: 978-0743226127
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Heroes of History: A Brief History of Civilization from Ancient Times to the Dawn of the Modern Age Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 6, 2001
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
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
From Publishers Weekly
This posthumous collection of essays by a Pulitzer Prize winner targets those who don't know much about history. Durant, who died in 1981 at the age of 96, is best known for the multivolume history of the world, The Story of Civilization, he wrote with his wife, Ariel. In these recently discovered essays, he again displays his talents for popularizing history, most notably a remarkable ability to summarize complicated thoughts and events in a few succinct words: this book of "heroes" covers figures ranging from Nero to Shakespeare and spans more than 2,000 years. After the first three essays, on Confucius, Buddha and Egypt's Ikhnaton, Durant turns his attention to Greece, Rome and the rise of the West. He devotes several chapters to Jesus and his followers over the centuries, asserting that the study of religion "sheds more light upon the nature and possibilities of man and government than the study of almost any other subject or institution open to human inquiry." Moreover, Durant derives moral and aesthetic satisfaction from religious expression: "To have conceived and adored [Mary], and raised a thousand temples in her honor, is one of the redeeming features of the human race." And Jesus's "presence and his faith were themselves a tonic; at his optimistic touch the weak grew strong." After a discussion of the medieval Church's crackdown on heretics, Durant observes simply, "Freedom is a luxury of security." This book is likely to find a wide audience among those looking for an introduction to world history, but the absence of a bibliography and source notes may denote to scholars a certain lack of rigor. Agent, John Little.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Browse award-winning titles. See more