The Lessons of History# Book Summary - The Lessons of History# Book explained in key points
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The Lessons of History# summary

Will Durant and Ariel Durant

The celebrated collection of essays compiling over 5,000 years of history by two of the greatest thinkers of our time

4.5 (51 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

The Lessons of History by Will Durant and Ariel Durant is a thought-provoking analysis of human history and civilization. It explores the recurring patterns and themes of human behavior, providing insights into our past, present, and future.

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    The Lessons of History#
    Summary of 12 key ideas

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    Geography has a big influence on a civilization, but its influence declines as technology advances.

    Think about your hometown. Is it near a river, the sea or a lake? Does it have good railway connections? Answering such simple questions can teach you a lot about a place.

    That’s because a city’s geographical conditions play a big role in its development. This has been true throughout all of human history; settlers have always been attracted to rivers, lakes, oases and oceans, not only because of the water and food they provide but because of transportation and trade, too.

    Consider Mesopotamia. Generally accepted as the cradle of human civilization, it was founded on settlements established between two great rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris. The space between these rivers allowed cultures like the Sumerians and Babylonians to flourish and build their empires.

    Many other empires have been built beside rivers: ancient Egypt has been called the gift of the Nile and ancient Rome grew because of the Tiber, Arno and Po.

    Geographical conditions can change, however. Extreme climates have forced countless civilizations to move and caused others to decline. Civilizations can fall if rain becomes scarce, as happened in parts of Central Asia. When rain becomes too heavy, as it did in parts of Central America, jungles can overgrow and smother entire cities.

    But technology has changed our relationship to geography. As a civilization’s technology for transporting goods improves, it becomes less influenced by geographical factors.

    Cars, trains and especially planes have made it much easier to transport goods. Trade routes aren’t bound to rivers or seas when planes can move goods directly overhead.

    This is why the commercial advantage of countries like England and France began declining as cars, trains and planes were developed. England and France no longer have a great advantage because of their coastlines, while countries like Russia, China and Brazil aren’t impeded by their huge land mass.

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    What is The Lessons of History# about?

    The Lessons of History (1968) gives an overview of more than 5,000 years of human history. It covers changes in morality, religion and governmental systems like socialism and capitalism, and traces the historical trends of war. Along the way, it offers a variety of lessons on what history means for the present.

    The Lessons of History# Review

    The Lessons of History (1968) is a thought-provoking exploration of the patterns and events that have shaped human civilization. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its wide-ranging analysis of historical events, it provides valuable insights into the recurring themes and dynamics that have shaped societies throughout time.
    • The book offers concise and well-researched observations that challenge conventional wisdom and encourage critical thinking about the lessons we can learn from history.
    • By examining the interplay of individual actions and societal forces, it helps readers understand the complexities of historical processes and the impact of personal choices on collective destiny.

    Who should read The Lessons of History#?

    • History and politics enthusiasts
    • Anyone interested in human progress

    About the Author

    Will Durant was a writer, historian and philosopher. Ariel Durant was a researcher and writer. The couple is best known for The Story of Civilization, an eleven-volume overview all of Western history. They were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their work.

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    The Lessons of History# FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Lessons of History#?

    The main message of The Lessons of History is that history repeats itself and provides valuable insights into human behavior and civilization.

    How long does it take to read The Lessons of History#?

    The reading time for The Lessons of History varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Lessons of History# a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Lessons of History is a compelling read for anyone interested in understanding the patterns of human history. It offers thought-provoking insights that make it worth reading.

    Who is the author of The Lessons of History#?

    The authors of The Lessons of History are Will Durant and Ariel Durant.