THE LIVING PAST: 7000 Years of Civilization by Ivar Lissner
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THE LIVING PAST: 7000 Years of Civilization

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As a resuscitation of modern man's immediate forebears, combining the best in historical and archaeological scholarship, one must admit that this book possesses the pulsating vitality the title promises. The aliveness is due almost wholly to Lissner's perspective and intellectual agility. He is brilliant in juxtaposing facts, at springing from the dusty bowels of a tomb to the icy judgments of a scientist; he blends his own wisdom and humanity in an instant with distant events- or with the polychrome woodcuts of the Japanese. If he has a keen eye for an adulterous episode, a murder or an emasculation, it is not by sensationalism but by his balancing and juggling, his superb flair for style in the deeper sense, which rescues this book from that oblivion too often asigned to books about the ancients in their oblivion. The Egyptians, Sumerians, Hittites, the Indians and Chinese, the Polynesians and aborigines of Australia, the Carthaginians, Greeks and Romans may- in the past- have been wrung dry, but here they are brought to life. With less specific detail, but on a grander scale, this accomplishes what Ceram's Gods, Graves and Scholars achieved. Could well be a major dark horse fall item, and go on to a lasting market. It has already been a best seller in the author's native Germany.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1957
Publisher: Putnam