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The Seekers

The Story of Man's Continuing Quest to Understand His World

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Throughout history, from the time of Socrates to our own modern age, the human race has sought the answers to fundamental questions of life: Who are we?  Why are we here?

In his previous national bestsellers, The Discoverers and The Creators , Daniel J. Boorstin first told brilliantly how e discovered the reality of our world, and then he celebrated man's achievements in the arts.  He now turns to the great figures in history who sought meaning and purpose in our existence.

Boorstin says our Western culture has seen three grand epics of Seeking.  First there was the heroic way of prophets and philosophers--men like Moses or Job or Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, as well as those in the communities of the early church universities and the Protestant Reformation--seeking salvation or truth from the god above or the reason within each of us.

Then came an age of communal seeking, with people like Thucydides and Thomas More and Machiavelli and Voltaire pursuing  civilization and the liberal spirit.

Finally, there was an age of the social sciences, when man seemed ruled by the forces of history.  Here are the absorbing stories of exceptional men such as Marx, Spengler, and Toynbee, Carlyle and Emerson, and Malraux, Bergson, and Einstein.

These great thinkers still have the power to speak to us, not always so much for their answers as for their way of asking the questions that never cease either to intrigue or to obsess us.

In this impressive climax to a monumental trilogy, Daniel J. Boorstin once again shows that his ability to present challenging ideas, coupled with sharp portraits of great writers and thinkers, remains unparalleled.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 31, 1998 – In The Discoverers (1983), Boorstin introduced readers to scientists, explorers, historians and other pursuers of knowledge. Ten years later, The Creators did the same for innovators in art. "We glory in their discoveries and creations," he writes in the introduction to his latest, "But we are all Seekers. We all want to know why." Starting from that perhaps overbroad premise, Boorstin begins with an examination of Hebrew prophets and Greek philosophers--those who seek from a higher authority and those who seek from within. From this point on there are rather few religious seekers; instead most are philosophers of systems, of systems for discovering truth (the reason of Descartes, the empiricism of Locke, the individual experience of Kierkegaard) or for describing it (the encyclopedia of Diderot, the cultural cycles of Spengler, Hegel's World-Spirit). Certain subjects seem rather out of place, and chapters like that on H.G. Wells and John Reed, another on Oliver Wendell Holmes and E.O. Wilson; and individual chapters on Samuel Beckett, Lord Acton and Andre Malraux, have the feel of an insatiable polymath's chapbook. There are many movements, many people and many big ideas here, all expounded with Boorstin's characteristic enthusiasm and breadth of knowledge. It's perhaps inevitable that in such a broad survey some simplification would slip in--e.g., identifying 13th-century universities as centers for training gentlemen, rather than for offering professional training in theology, law and medicine. But what Boorstin does so well is bring together many ideas that fertilize and cross-fertilize the reader's imagination and curiosity. Author tour.
The Seekers
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  • $8.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: World
  • Published: Dec 03, 1998
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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