The Lessons of History

The Lessons of History

It is one of the most interesting non fiction I am reading. The authors, Will and Ariel Durant ,winners of Pulitzer prize for the epitomes they have written on history have presented a crux on how history and the events are affected by various other factors. The factors include Biology, Geology, Religion,Race,Economy,Character etc and they have quoted examples to support their conclusions.

I have always been interested in history and art and this book tells or at least tries to answer what can we expect from historiography. Its not a scientific occupation but its an industry, an art and a philosophy. Industry as in it deals with the collection of the events and facts, art as in it deals with reordering the facts and a philosophical pursuit as we can derive insights out of it.

They also say that absolute history and total facts are always unknown, so studying and making conclusions is relative and can be delusional. SO they have represented their thoughts in these 100 odd pages.

I was under this impression that this whole idea of socialism was coined and propounded by Marx and Engels . But the book quoted several instances which showed it has been in practice for so many ages. Also it was interesting to know that it was England where socialism was expected to control the tun of events, but it turned out to be modern day Russia.

Many more insights.

But I didn’t like the point in which he says that its only one race that has been capable of doing everything and that’s from the Europe, Aryans they are. That they are more mentally and physically stronger than any other humans in the world. What about the great Indian civilizations? what about the Incas of South America? What about the Chinese culture? All of them have had very deep and extensive roots in ruling, government, economy, architecture, literature. Who can forget the majestic kovils of Madurai, Chennai , Kanchipuram , Trichy? Also the machu pichhu in Peru, the splendid bamboo works from mainland China.

But overall, I like this work and has enthused me to take up more non fiction in the near future.

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