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The Lessons of History

Will & Ariel Durant

History repeats itself in the large because human nature changes with geological leisureliness, and man is equipped to respond in stereotyped ways to frequently occurring situations and stimuli like hunger, danger, and sex. But in a developed and complex civilization individuals are more differentiated and unique than in a primitive society, and many situations contain novel circumstances requiring modifications of instinctive response…

A book that’s been recommended & reviewed so many times I didn’t feel the need to read it – thankfully I did. 

A distillation of their 11-volume study of human history, the lessons are aimed toward present affairs and future possibilities. Will Durant previously wrote The Story of Philosophy, setting the philosophical frame through which he examines history.

“We conclude that the concentration of wealth is natural and inevitable, and is periodically alleviated by violent or peaceable partial redistribution. In this view all economic history is the slow heartbeat of the social organism, a vast systole and diastole of concentrating wealth and compulsive recirculation.”