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The Seekers: The Story of Man's Continuing Quest to Understand His World
Daniel J. Boorstin
From The Publisher:
Throughout history, from the time of Socrates to our own modern age, the human race has sought the answers to fundamental questions of life: Who are we? Why are we here?
In his previous national bestsellers, The Discoverers and The Creators , Daniel J. Boorstin first told brilliantly how we discovered the reality of our world, and then he celebrated man's achievements in the arts. He now turns to the great figures in history who sought meaning and purpose in our existence.
Boorstin says our Western culture has seen three grand epics of Seeking. First there was the heroic way of prophets and philosophers--men like Moses or Job or Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, as well as those in the communities of the early church universities and the Protestant Reformation--seeking salvation or truth from the god above or the reason within each of us.
Then came an age of communal seeking, with people like Thucydides and Thomas More and Machiavelli and Voltaire pursuing civilization and the liberal spirit.
Finally, there was an age of the social sciences, when man seemed ruled by the forces of history. Here are the absorbing stories of exceptional men such as Marx, Spengler, and Toynbee, Carlyle and Emerson, and Malraux, Bergson, and Einstein.
These great thinkers still have the power to speak to us, not always so much for their answers as for their way of asking the questions that never cease either to intrigue or to obsess us.
In this impressive climax to a monumental trilogy, Daniel J. Boorstin once again shows that his ability to present challenging ideas, coupled with sharp portraits of great writers and thinkers, remains unparalleled.
"Daniel J. Boorstin's unexcelled intellectual career began at an extraordinary high level fifty years ago and has steadily ascended ever since. It is too soon to say that it has reached its apogee with The Seekers. However, this completion of a trilogy on humanity's quest for understanding confirms Boorstin's rank as one of the giants of twentieth-century American scholarship."
George F. Will
"Boorstin reminds us what intellectual history on the grand scale looks like....The Seekers is an impressive conclusion to a grand trilogy .... The three books together bring to mind a monumental library whose facade is decorated by statues of Moses, Socrates and Newton and whose reading room is framed by murals depicting the Progress of Technology and Law. In an age of Alexandrian pedantry and narrow specialization in the academy, Boorstin has slowly and carefully built a Library of Alexandria open to the public, a library, that is, without walls."
The New York Times Book Review, Michael Lind
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About the Author
Daniel J. Boorstin is also the author of The Americans, a trilogy that won the Francis Parkman Prize, the Bancroft Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize. In 1989, he received the National Book Award for lifetime contribution to literature. He was the director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, and for twelve years served as the Librarian of Congress. He lives with his wife and editor, Ruth F. Boorstin, in Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
A Personal Note to the Reader
BOOK ONE: AN ANCIENT HERITAGE
BOOK TWO: COMMUNAL SEARCH
BOOK THREE: PATHS TO THE FUTURE
Some Reference Notes
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