ROUSSEAU AND REVOLUTION by Will & Ariel Durant

ROUSSEAU AND REVOLUTION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

With all the flair we've come to expect from the Lunts of historical scholarship, that chronicle, The Story of Civilization, rings down the curtain with its tenth and final volume, Rousseau and Revolution, a triumphant farewell performance, fully justifying the Durants' ""belief that historiography has been too departmentalized, and that some of us should try to write history whole, as it was lived, in all the facets of the complex and continuing drama."" Around the towering and perplexing personality of Rousseau who set spinning the whirlpool of ideology, both Left and Right, the authors recreate in vivid narrative style the growth of eighteenth century intellectual, moral and political dissent, the summit and decline of autocratic rule, religious disenchantment and democratic stirrings, ""the role of genius in history, of man versus the mass and the state""--in short, that great and continuing debate of which we are now the troubled heirs. The gallery swells with figures as important as the star performer himself: Goethe, Johnson, Voltaire, Catherine and Frederick, Mozart, Kant, Reynolds. The military exploits, the elegance and corruption of court life, the diversity of cultural, economic, and social events, the prejudices and mores of the entire European scene--surely it is a measure of the Durants' comprehensive mastery that so vast a panorama has been handled with so many splendidly interwoven episodes, judicious portraits, and contemporary ramifications.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1967
Publisher: Simon & Schuster