The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant

This is the celebrated collection of essays compiling over 5000 years of history. The two coauthors of the 9000 page, 50 year quest culminating in a 11 volume work called “story of civilizations.” When they were asked on lessons from History, they offered up a survey of history based on Geography, Biology, Race, Character, Morals, Religion, Economics, Socialism, Government, War and growth.

If you were read only one book on history make this the one. IT IS A MUST READ no matter wheater you are a fan of history or not, this little 96 page book is a sweeping course on the BIG LESSONS FROM HISTORY. Do yourself a favor, and BUY THIS BOOK and read it. You will thank yourself.

Big Ideas/Summary points from the book

Human history is a brief spot in space, and its first lesson is in modesty

Westwards the routes of the empire takes, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. Will it go next to China? (he said this in 1930s)

Biology: life is competition, we cooperate to compete better against the other groups. Lesson 2. Selection: Nature has not read the Bill of Rights: leave man free and inequalities will multiply. Lesson 3: Life must breed

Race: Fights the ideas that “All strong characters are race consious and instintively averse to to marriage outside of their racial group. The indian Caste system was the formulation of Aryans from Europe.”
History is color blind and can develop great civilizations under any race. A knowledge of history teaches us that civilization is the product of cooperation, and all people have contributed to it.

Character: No one man however brilliant , can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for these are wisdoms of generations. The conservative who resists change is as valuable as the radical who proposes it. This is the creative tension that creates “whole movements.”

Morals: Sin has flourished in every age. No civlization has made peace with the 10 commandments. Indiviualism will die in America & England as geographical protection diminishes. Sexual license will cure itself from its own excess’

Religion: Heaven & utopia are buckets in a well: when one goes down the other must go up. When religion declines, communism goes up.catholism survives today because it appeals to the imagination and hopes of the poor.
As long as there is poverty there will be gods.

Economics: Concentration of wealth is natural and unevitable, with periodic violently led partial redistribution. In this view all economic history is the slow heartbeat of the social organism.

Socialism:The history of socialism vs capitalism has a historic rhythm; Now the fear of capitalism has compelled socialism to widen freedom, and the fear of socialism has compelled capitalism to increase equality. East is west, west is east, and soon te twain will meet.

Government: When wars dominate – democracies succumb. When race/class wars become hate, one side will overcome the other at the edge of the sword. When there is mis-distribution of wealth, dictatorship will rise in the name os security for all.

War: of last 3241 years only 268 have not seen war – it is a constant of human history. States will unite in basic cooperation only when they are in common attacked from without. Perhaps only when we as a species are attacked from another species, will we ever unite as one planet.

Growth And Decay: Nations die. Old regions grow arid or suffer other change. Resilient man picks up his tools and his arts, and moves on, taking his memories with him. Remember civilizations are generations of the racial soul.

If you were read only one book on history make this the one. IT IS A MUST READ no matter weather you are a fan of history or not, this little 96 page book is a sweeping course on the BIG LESSONS FROM OUR SHARED 5000 Year HISTORY. Do yourself a favor, and BUY THIS BOOK and read it. You will thank yourself.