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The Decline of the West, Vol 1: Form and Actuality

4.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  198 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Oswald Spengler was born in 1880 at Blankenburg, Germany. He studied mathematics, philosophy, and history at Munich and Berlin. Except for his doctor's thesis on Heraclitus, he published nothing before the first volume of The Decline of the West, which appeared when he was thirty-eight. The Agadir crisis of 1911 provided the immediate incentive for his exhaustive investiga ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published June 12th 1945 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published 1918)
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At a casual glance Oswald Spengler is smarter than me. He comes across encyclopedic in his knowledge, and has very strong opinions on lots of topics, but after a while, as he moves through all different areas of knowledge and you (well me, the reader) finally starts to be confronted with works that he (because this is me I'm not very coyly talking about in the third person) knows something about that you (well me again) realize, that's not actually accurate, hmmm I wonder how many more things I' ...more
Nov 25, 2010 Dave added it
My caveat to what I say is that I did not read this cover-to-cover. I also can't claim to understand all of his arguments. I would be surprised if many did, because one would have to be familiar with an almost wholly new vocabulary for thinking about history to fully understand him. Besides that, his familiarity with the culture of the last 3500 years far, far, exceeds mine.

Still, despite his controversial reputation (or perhaps because of it) this is worth whatever you can glean from it.

1. Spen
Wyatt Kaldenberg
Apr 15, 2011 Wyatt Kaldenberg rated it it was amazing
A four volume book. It's hard to start reading, but once you do it's hard to put down. I don't agree with all of Spengler's philosophy, but after reading this Four Volume Set, you will never look at history and society the same way. It explains what is wrong with our culture.
Frank Roberts
Having enjoyed the columns of the Online writer who goes by the nom de plume of Spengler, I decided to read the original works of the man himself. This is volume one of his masterwork The Decline of the West, and I am moving directly on to volume two.

Spengler's thesis is that a Culture is an organic growth--it comes into being, it flourishes, and eventually it dies. On the way to oblivion it passes through a phase as a Civilization--an organized, ossified construct that is the inheritor of the L
Jun 28, 2013 Lisa rated it did not like it
Shelves: 501-book-list
Awful drivel. Clearly outdated and his arguments are far from true especially on science. Come on the guy states that Western physics is drawing near to the limit of its possibilities at the same time the greatest physicist (Einstein) of ever was doing his research. I honestly didn't understand much of this book mostly things are Faustian (I still have no idea what that is) or not Faustian. A philosophy based on a fictional character I believe. And there hasn't been anything good in Italy since ...more
Angel Pradel
Dec 31, 2015 Angel Pradel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un espíritu de fin de era se extiende. No con los mismos argumentos que propone Spengler; pero esta jeremiada por la civilización occidental se siente cierta, próxima.

Como dice Reverte:

"La otra actitud razonable, creo, es adiestrar a los jóvenes pensando en los hijos y nietos de esos jóvenes. Para que afronten con lucidez, valor, humanidad y sentido común el mundo que viene. Para que se adapten a lo inevitable, conservando lo que puedan de cuanto de bueno deje tras de sí el mundo que se extingu
Carlos Nouaille
Sep 30, 2014 Carlos Nouaille rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nuestra cultura se muere. Una idea inquietante y apasionante al mismo tiempo. Oswald Spengler cree que cada cultura se fabrica su arte, sus ciencias, sus mitos, y que todo nuestro mundo no es más que un reflejo de nuestra religión y de nuestra forma de concebir el alma.

Aunque las ideas de este libro son poderosas y pueden cambiar la forma en que miras todo lo que te rodea, se hubiera agradecido una mejor capacidad de síntesis por parte de Spengler. Todo ha quedado expuesto de forma magistral en
Aug 22, 2007 Clint rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't really know how much of this book I really believe is true, but man it sure puts some interesting ideas into your head.
Scott Kleinpeter
Borges said it best.
Jay Daze
This and volume II sit on my bookshelf and have for a very long time. I've put them on my 'to read' shelf, but to be honest they might just be books that hibernate in the dark areas of my bookcase... who knows if I will ever read it. I probably will leaf through, maybe after I finish writing this.


So I read the introduction and really enjoyed bits of it, but in the end have decided to set it aside again. There are lines of deep insight, set beside stuff that sounds like utter n
Mar 27, 2013 Sean rated it it was ok
Mar 21, 2014 IVU rated it liked it
Сетих се отново за това произведение на Шпенглер, когато Морис Фадел ни даде да пишем за “Краят на демоктратичните ценности” и реших да я прочета по-задълбочено. Знам, че книгата е много популярна и много дискутирана, но лично аз я намирам за доста остаряло четиво. Изкуството не е мъртво и прогресът не доведе до упадък.
Книгата се намира трудно на пазара и тук там се явява по някой спекулант, който я продава скъпо. Има по две копия от двата тома в библиотеката на НБУ.
May 03, 2014 Zach rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
I certainly disagree with his ideas, and not just with his conclusions, but with much of his evidence. And, unlike other authors whom I've had the pleasure of reading and disagreeing with, he's borderline unreadable (a fact that he would no doubt be proud of - he accuses Schopenhaur of being "too accessible to the mediocre mind.") There are some nuggets, some interesting ideas here and there, but as far as explanatory historical systems go, he's got nothing on Toynbee and I don't even like Toynb ...more
May 12, 2013 Zane added it
Shelves: quit
Can't get past the style, which resembles gibberish to me. Maybe I just don't have the background or fortitude to grapple with the esoteric references. In any case, not my cup of tea. Too many books out there that I will enjoy more...
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Oswald Spengler was born in 1880 in Blankenburg (then in the Duchy of Brunswick, German Empire) at the foot of the Harz mountains, the eldest of four children, and the only boy. His family was conservative German of the petite bourgeoisie. His father, originally a mining technician, who came from a long line of mineworkers, was a post office bureaucrat. His childhood home was emotionally reserved, ...more
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