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The Uses Of The Past: Profiles Of Former Societies
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The Uses Of The Past: Profiles Of Former Societies

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  38 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
With the vision of both historian and philosopher, Herbert Muller surveys the golden ages of past societies in a search for a pattern or a lesson that can be meaningful today. He analyzes the spirit and contribution of the Byzantine Empire, Israel, Greece, and Rome; Western Christendom, including the Age of the Enlightenment; 'Holy Russia,' Byzantine and Marxist; and the m ...more
Hardcover, 394 pages
Published November 1st 1984 by Dissertations-G (first published 1952)
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Mike Hetteix
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anachronicists
Recommended to Mike by: The Strand Dollar Bin
Found this in the dollar bin at the Strand -- I allways wind up bying a huge stack when I get waylaid there, but this might have been the best of the bunch. Herbert's able to sum up pithily and profoundly the differences civilization and history can have on the soul -- by extrapolation, & reading into the blanks, the intrepid reader can come closer to qualifying what it is that civilzation and history do not change about us, what people like to call human nature. Theres a terrific chapter he ...more
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, re-read
The author was a professor of history at Cornell, Purdue and Indiana universities. His book examines the formation of Western (European and American) civilization and its predicament at the beginning of the Cold War with the threat of nuclear global destruction. Does civilization have any value if it ends in the annihilation of humanity? The first three chapters are a prelude to a tour through the development of the Judaeo-Christian religions, the influence of ancient Greece and Rome, the rise o ...more
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic, though somewhat outdated survey of history written with exactly the sweeping generalizations and uncomfortable certainties one would expect from a mid-twentieth century historian. As a lover of this sort of thing, I couldn't be happier. If you're the type to read poorly bound, thin-margined yellowing history paperbacks produced in a bygone era, you'll be smitten. If you're looking for something more objective, less certain and perhaps more cautious, steer clear.
An interesting book. It's a bit dated in its perspective (written in the 1950's). I enjoyed the way the author analyzed and contrasted different civilizations and cultures in history. The going wasn't always so easy but the book has something to say even in contemporary times. I learned some new things from this work its reading was worth it.
May 09, 2008 is currently reading it
So far this is an intrguing blend of history and philosophy, and seems like a reaction to Toynbee more than anything else. Will update - got it for a dime at a local library book sale, and the first 80 pages have literally fallen out.
Gary Turner
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very educational book. Touches on most of our cultures. This book should peek ones interest in more reading on the subject.
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