Starting with Galileo and his effect on history, Ortega y Gasset, acclaimed as the greatest intellectual force in modern Spain and one of the outstanding minds of our century, traces the transition in man's philosophy and reasoning, going further back to the change from paganism to Christianity and from the Greeks to the present. The present here is a period of disorientation rather than desperation. Wandering easily back and forth, his approach, as once described by himself, is that of ""marching seven times 'round the walls of Jericho"", and is effected to orient the reader to the present by a review of the past, believing that all movements characteristic of this moment are extreme and historically false and headed for failure since all extremism inevitably fails. The ending is abrupt -- without conclusions -- but this work should rank, for the layman, among the best of his efforts; for the philosopher and historian it should have its special importance. A posthumous work from the 1940's (the author died in 1955), this, in content, precedes the previous Man and People (1957) and is translated by Mildred Adams.