From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present

By Jacques Barzun
Read by Edward Lewis

40.22 Hours 03/17/2001 unabridged
Format:
  • Regular Price: $39.95

    Special Price $19.98

    ISBN: 9781470887414

  • Regular Price: $69.95

    Special Price $34.98

    ISBN: 9780786190737

Drawing on a lifetime of studies across a broad territory, highly regarded cultural historian and critic Jacques Barzun here synthesizes the sum of his discoveries and conclusions about the whole of Western culture since 1500. The triumphs and defeats of five hundred years form an inspiring saga which modifies the current impression of Western history as one long tale of oppression by white European males. Women and their deeds are prominent, and freedom (even in sexual matters) is not an invention of the last decades. And when Barzun rates the present not as a culmination of history, but as a decline, he is in no way a prophet of doom. Instead, he shows that decadence is the normal close to a great period, and a necessary condition of the creative novelty that will burst forth—tomorrow, or the next day.

Learn More
Membership Details
  • Only $12.99/month gets you 1 Credit/month
  • Cancel anytime
  • Hate a book? Then we do too, and we'll exchange it.
See how it works in 15 seconds

Summary

Summary

A New York Times Bestseller

A 2000 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

An ALA Notable Book Finalist for Nonfiction

Drawing on a lifetime of studies across a broad territory, highly regarded cultural historian and critic Jacques Barzun here synthesizes the sum of his discoveries and conclusions about the whole of Western culture since 1500.

The triumphs and defeats of five hundred years form an inspiring saga which modifies the current impression of Western history as one long tale of oppression by white European males. Women and their deeds are prominent, and freedom (even in sexual matters) is not an invention of the last decades. And when Barzun rates the present not as a culmination of history, but as a decline, he is in no way a prophet of doom. Instead, he shows that decadence is the normal close to a great period, and a necessary condition of the creative novelty that will burst forth—tomorrow, or the next day.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“A stunning five-century study of civilization’s cultural retreat.” New York Times
“Barzun, the renowned cultural critic, historian, and former Columbia provost and professor, offers much more than a summation of his life’s work in this profound, eloquent, often witty historical survey. A book of enormous riches…[and] a book to be reckoned with.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The fast-paced reader provides a stimulating experience for listeners interested in an expert’s view of history from unusual and clever angles.” AudioFile
“Others have written about the end of western culture, but none with more cogent erudition than Barzun. With a poise born of decades of distinguished scholarship, Barzun recounts the religious, political, artistic, and social revolutions that shaped western culture…An impressive culmination to a lifetime of serious reflection.” Booklist (starred review)
“To hear [this recording] is like attending a fast-paced seminar from a professor with a lively and fertile mind…A magnificent book, ably read by Edward Lewis.” Library Journal
“This lively and opinionated survey of western culture marks the capstone of the noted scholar’s intellectual career…An extraordinary achievement by one of the glittering minds of our time.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Jacques Barzun

Jacques Barzun (1907–2012) was born in France and came to the United States in 1920. After graduating from Columbia College, he joined the faculty of the university, becoming Seth Low Professor of History and, for a decade, dean of faculties and provost. The author of some thirty books, he received the Gold Medal for Criticism from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, of which he was twice president.

Titles by Author

Details

Details

Available Formats : CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 40.22
Audience: Adult
Language: English