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Hardcover The Age of Reason Begins: A History of European Civilization in the Period of Shakespeare, Bacon, Montaigne, Rembrandt, Galileo, and Descartes: Book

ISBN: 0671013203

ISBN13: 9780671013202

The Age of Reason Begins: A History of European Civilization in the Period of Shakespeare, Bacon, Montaigne, Rembrandt, Galileo, and Descartes:

(Book #7 in the The Story of Civilization Series)

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Book Overview

Volume VII surveys the turbulent century of religious strife and scientific progress from the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558 to the death of Descartes in 1650 - a century marked by such... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The Durant's make history fascinating

I have just read the 7th volume of the amazing Story of Civilization, and continue to be impressed with this series. This volume focuses on European civilization from 1558 - 1648 and focuses on such great minds as Shakespeare, Bacon, Montaigne, Rembrandt, Galileo and Descartes. From a political perspective, it focuses on the reigns of Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, and James I of England; Philip II, III, and IV of Spain; Henry III, IV, and Richelieu in France; and the interesting histories of the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, and Russia. The book also touches on the Islamic world at this time. Durant's prose is very readable and it is also easy to see his likes and dislikes of the characters in history. I personally like to be able to understand how an historian feels about his subject and I have learned to respect his opinions. I'm amazed at how bloody this part of European history was. I knew that the time of the reformation was filled with wars, but didn't realize how long it lasted after the reformation. This volume also shows how difficult it is for man to accept change, though this time frame does begin to show some positive ideas being accepted. From a religious freedom perspective, it is incredible how difficult and painful of a process it was to arrive at the freedoms we take for granted. Reading history really makes me grateful for what we are blessed with. I highly recommend this series and volume to anyone wanting to understand the story of our civilization. It is filled with beauty and horror. Let us learn from the lessons of history.

The Seventh Volume of The Story of Civilization!

In this, the seventh volume of the unparalleled series "The Story of Civilization," Dr. Will & Ariel Durant have compiled a compelling rendition of historical fact covering nearly a century of Europe's past from the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558 A.D. to the death of Descartes in 1650 A.D.. The reader will be treated to vivid historical recounts concerning: Phillip II of Spain and his "invincible armada." Elizabeth I of England, the "Virgin Queen." The Hapsburg Family. The Thirty-Years' War. The Puritan Revolution in England. Spain's fierce struggle to subdue the Netherlands. Europe's disillusionment following the brutalities of the religious wars. Cardinal Richelieu of France. And much, much more including plates and maps. The Durants have created a prose which is free-flowing and easy to understand. This book, designed to stand alone or within the series, is a masterpiece of historical accuracy to be enjoyed by professional and layperson alike. I rate it as five stars. Superb!

Attack of deconstructivist, relativistic nonsense

Fortunately, a PH.d is not required to both enjoy and be educated by the Durants monumental achievement. They are the authors who literally built the Simon & Schuster company. (I hope Carly Simon sends flowers to their graves every year as they largely generated her families fortune!)It is important to remember that Will Durant was an experimental academic himself (c.f. the "Ferrer School"); and he knew that nothing was so stupid that it could not be found in Academe or academics. He himself is amazingly free of this crippling disease of "institutional" scholar an expert in philosophy as well as history. He was born in 1885, and educated at a time when Truth was still a concept (self-serving misreadings of Nietzche aside) and historians were unafraid to voice opinions other than one's attacking anything and everything not conforming the usual left-wing fad of the moment.The aesthetic is indeed stunning. The flow or eloquence is rarely interuppted over nearly 70,000 pages of written text. Of course mistakes of detail abound. As I've said in other reviews, the biggest problem area is that of the military. Too often the Durants take, especially ancient, but also more recent military histories at face value. This was due to two reasons: little interest in detailed military history and preference for things "cultural." And sensing their weakness in battle narratives (as opposed to say Keegan or Tuchman or Gibbon), they are largely absent; the concentration is on their causes and effects; the effects of battles nearly always being ephemeral.To condemn them for "lack of perspective" or "bias" is to reveal one's own. Unlike some reviews, the Durants made every effort to balance controversies by offering both sides. If they drew a conclusion contrary to your sacred cow, it is not an indicator of bias or error (much tho' the Left attempts to conflate the two). In certain obviously indefensible activities (the Spanish Inquisition, the genocide of Jews before the First Crusade, the Church's deepfrying heretics, Louis XIV's brutal expulsion of the French protestants (Huguenot, a corruption of a German word, "eidgenossen") the Durants' condemn it with the precision of Gibbon and the moral outrage of Barbara Tuchman or Robert Conquest.Somethings are evil and can never be anything else. To forget that is to invite the next generations of Lenins, Stalins or Hitlers.The Durants understood the role "bias" far better than a thousand puerile academic critiques (tho' I realize that is largely a redundant remark) and compensated for it by the effort as well as their method of "integral history" which seeks to weave the entire history of European civilization into one seamless, if not stream of conscious, narrative flow.It succeeds brilliantly and one finds it difficult to believe that any other such "generalists"--historians these days tending to bury into the infinitesimal and cherish minutiae, thus condemning themselves to present and future obloquy--w

Another excellent volume of the series...

Will and Ariel Durant shine again in their seventh book of their history of European civilization. The given detailed attention to Shakespeare, Elizabeth I, Henri Quarte, Phillip II, Montaigne and many others.The prose sparkles with wit, verve, pith and an unflagging interest and love for the subject of history and the homeland of my ancestors. Highly recommended.

Great read and great reference

7th volume in Durant's great Story of Civilization, this chronicles European history from the reign of Elizabeth I to the Thirty Years War, including the stories of Mary Queen of Scotts, Henry IV of France, and Cardinel Richelieu.
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