A STUDY OF HISTORY by Arnold J. Toynbee


Vols: VII through X
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This does not presume to be a review or even an analysis of the final four volumes of the stupendous study projected in 1921, and in process- with a period of interruption caused by the war- from that day to this. American readers know the earlier volumes chiefly through the abridgement by D. C. Somervell of volumes I through VII, a text which even in that concentrated form changed the thinking and rechanneled the philosophy of history for most readers. The period of relative inactivity, so far as his Study of History was concerned was a period when the world was transformed, when discoveries in archaeology altered conceptions of the ancient world, when the cataclysm of revolution and war gave new dimensions to the modern world, when scientific discoveries gave new dimensions to the spiritual and material universe. Dr. Toynbee felt his way back to his project, recast his plan, and the current four volumes are the outcome. Universal States; Universal Churches; Heroic Ages; Contacts Between Civilizations in Space -- In Time; Law and Freedom in History; The Prospects of the Western Civilization; The Inspiration of Historians- such are the main headings under the basic plan of the book. Conclusions, problematical in 1929, seemed closer of arrival in 1950, unpalatable though they might be. "A now ubiquitous Western Society held the fate of all Mankind in its hands at a moment when one man in Moscow and one man in Washington...could detonate an atom bomb....An inquiry into the prospects of the Western Civilization was a necessary part of a 20th century study of History." To any budding historian or serious scholar, a close study of Toynbee is basic to the challenge historical research poses today.
Pub Date: June 15th, 1954
ISBN: 0195050819
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1954