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The Seekers: The Story of Man's Continuing Quest to Understand His World Knowledge Trilogy (3) Paperback – October 26, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Boorstin starts with the Biblical conversations with God recorded by the Jewish tradition. To summarize these discussion, Boorstin spends a fair amount of time with the story of Job and the omnipresent fact that bad things happen to innocent people. He concludes that the ancient Hebrews taught their children that no one knows what God knows, so the innocent must push on, must keep the faith.
With this said, he poses the same question (do you know what God knows?) to the Greek tradition, starting with Socrates. Socrates became famous for demonstrating much the same point, interviewing those who claim to know truth, then proving their knowledge was an illusion. Plato, Socrates admirer and evangelist, tried to answer Socrates with his utopian Republic. In Plato's view, no one but philosophers knew the 'truth.' Showing no respect for his elders, Aristotle, a student of Socrates and Plato, chose something of a middle road: scientists know a few things that are true. In this triad of forceful personalities, the rest of the book finds it's structure.Read more ›
The book follows three grand epics of seeking. The first begins with Hebrew prophets and Greek philosophers. The former seeking from a higher authority, and the latter seeking from within. He moves on to the formation of communal experiences of the early church and the Reformation. The last epic is the age of the social sciences. Many stories of many exceptional men are told: their complexities, their understanding of past seekers, and their mistakes made mostly due to being ruled by history.
From the prophets and matchless Grecian trilogy seeking understanding of man's place; to Thomas Moore and Machiavelli pursuing the civil, liberal spirit; to Marx, Spengler, Emerson and Einstein who hone in on their own specialized areas of seeking, The Seekers captures the meaning of its namesake: the ever-elusive definition of life.
If the book has a short-coming, it would be Boorstin's inability to retrieve and contain the many more Seekers of modern thought. However, to include modern-day theorists, philosophers and other seekers would add chapters, getting us nowhere closer to our most coveted definition.
Like the other two books, this volume is essentially a collection of short biographies. This time, the people being written about are primarily philosophers. The problem is that the common theme that ties all these people together is elusive; at the end of the book, I was still unclear what the whole book was about; in parts, it is okay, but as a whole, it is not. It is like connecting the dots when the dots are misnumbered or some are missing: either way, you aren't going to get the right picture.
The other problem is that some portions of the book are tedious to read. I think this ties into my first problem; since I had only vague hints at Boorstin's intention with this book, I found it harder to get through. This isn't a mystery novel; the meaning should not be something that is guessed at.
For those who have read the other books in this trilogy, this book will come as a disappointment. I do give it a weak three stars, however, as there are some chapters that are at least interesting and informative. Overall, however, this book is below average.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This race through nearly 3000 years of philosophical development in not many more than 300 pages is too superficial to be truly satisfying. Read morePublished 11 months ago by John Duncan
Really enjoyed the challenge of this great undertaking of the author. Highly recommend.Published 14 months ago by R. Gilman
A great condensation of the evolution of thinking and philosophy (and religion) of the human race. However, this book is more to be studied -- with a marker and marginal notes --... Read morePublished 16 months ago by J. Bevan
Fabulous! Daniel Boorstin's gift to the curious and knowledge-seeking soul. Together with Discoverers and Creators, this book forms a formidable trilogy that should be the dream of... Read morePublished 17 months ago by S V Chalapathy Rao