The Story Of Civilization

Anon writes: Having developed a new interest in learning history I picked up Will Durant’s majestic 11-volume Story of Civilization from the first half of the 20th century. I gave up on it in the first pages of volume 1, chapter 1:

“There are no racial conditions to civilization. It may appear on any continent and in any color: at Peking or Delhi, at Memphis or Babylon, at Ravenna or London, in Peru or Yucatan. It is not the great race that makes the civilization, it is the great civilization that makes the people; circumstances geographical and economic create a culture, and the culture creates a type. The Englishman does not make British civilization, it makes him; if he carries it with him wherever he goes, and dresses for dinner in Timbuktu, it is not that he is creating his civilization there anew, but that he acknowledges even there its mastery over his soul. Given like material conditions, and another race would beget like results; Japan reproduces in the twentieth century the history of England in the nineteenth. Civilization is related to race only in the sense that it is often preceded by the slow intermarriage of different stocks, and their gradual assimilation into a relatively homogeneous people.”


About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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