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Arnold J. Toynbee: A Life

by (Oxford University Press)

(21 reviews)

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Arnold Toynbee was one of the most remarkable thinkers of the 20th century, a man of far-reaching imagination, extraordinary erudition, and an infinite capacity for hard work. At the height of his fame, he was the most renowned scholar in the world, acclaimed as the author of the monumental, 10-volume A Study of History. Indeed, such was the regard for his Study that Time magazine, in a cover article on Toynbee published in 1947, declared that he had "found history Ptolemaic and left it Copernican."
In Arnold Toynbee: A Life, William H. McNeill weaves together Toynbee's intellectual accomplishments and the personal difficulties of his private life, providing both an intimate portrait of a leading thinker and a judicious evaluation of Toynbee's work and his legacy for the study of history. McNeill illuminates the strengths and weaknesses of A Study of History as well as the countless other works penned by this prolific writer, examining the responses of other historians (including the devastating attack mounted by Hugh Trevor Roper) and Toynbee's attempts to modify his Study to answer these criticisms. And McNeill also examines Toynbee's tormented personal life, including his troubled marriage to Rosalind Murray (the daughter of Gilbert Murray), and the suicide of his son Anthony. What emerges is both poignant and thought-provoking, a biography and a commentary about how history is written and how it should be pursued.
William McNeill is one of America's most eminent historians, the winner of a National Book Award in 1964 for The Rise of the West, which The New York Times Book Review called "the most learned... the most intelligent... the most stimulating and fascinating book that has ever set out to recount and explain the whole history of the world." In this sympathetic portrait of a life both triumphant and troubled, McNeill brings his skills to bear on one of the greatest figures in his field, illuminating a career of rare accomplishment.

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Additional Info

  • Publication Date: May 24, 1990
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Disabled
  • Print Length: 356 Pages
  • File Size: 2,103 KB

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