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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.

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