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In scope and in vision Dawson's conception of history ranks with the work of men like Spengler, Northrop, and Toynbee. This classic Dawson work is a conspectus of his thought on universal history in all its depth and range. Containing thirty-one essays selected from his writings it gives a clear and fascinating picture of his achievement in helping to widen our perspective In scope and in vision Dawson's conception of history ranks with the work of men like Spengler, Northrop, and Toynbee. This classic Dawson work is a conspectus of his thought on universal history in all its depth and range. Containing thirty-one essays selected from his writings it gives a clear and fascinating picture of his achievement in helping to widen our perspective of world history and in identifying the central determinative importance of religion for the formation of Culture. For breadth of knowledge and lucidity of style [Dawson] has few rivals.... -New York Times Book Review Dynainics of WorldHistory is extraordinarily valuable, because it is much more than a Christopher Dawson compendium, or than an introduction to Dawson. It is a very carefully collected and edited quilt of Dawson's most important writings: a multicolored quilt, rather than a collection of disparate


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In scope and in vision Dawson's conception of history ranks with the work of men like Spengler, Northrop, and Toynbee. This classic Dawson work is a conspectus of his thought on universal history in all its depth and range. Containing thirty-one essays selected from his writings it gives a clear and fascinating picture of his achievement in helping to widen our perspective In scope and in vision Dawson's conception of history ranks with the work of men like Spengler, Northrop, and Toynbee. This classic Dawson work is a conspectus of his thought on universal history in all its depth and range. Containing thirty-one essays selected from his writings it gives a clear and fascinating picture of his achievement in helping to widen our perspective of world history and in identifying the central determinative importance of religion for the formation of Culture. For breadth of knowledge and lucidity of style [Dawson] has few rivals.... -New York Times Book Review Dynainics of WorldHistory is extraordinarily valuable, because it is much more than a Christopher Dawson compendium, or than an introduction to Dawson. It is a very carefully collected and edited quilt of Dawson's most important writings: a multicolored quilt, rather than a collection of disparate

30 review for Dynamics Of World History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Miller

    This was a collection of his essays arranged by topic in a very coherent way. This is the first I have read of his writings and I was blown away. I heard mention of him from time to time and now know why. Such a brilliant mind.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David Withun

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  3. 4 out of 5

    JoséMaría BlancoWhite

    Some chapters, or rather articles, are much more interesting than others, in my point of view. The more interesting ones are so because they are easily understood by general readers like myself. The rest are those articles that seem to address exclusively the academic class and their particular professional concerns. In both cases Dawson writes beautifully and incisively. And most uncanny of all, he had a knack for accurate predicting of future cultural scenarios that affect the West today, whic Some chapters, or rather articles, are much more interesting than others, in my point of view. The more interesting ones are so because they are easily understood by general readers like myself. The rest are those articles that seem to address exclusively the academic class and their particular professional concerns. In both cases Dawson writes beautifully and incisively. And most uncanny of all, he had a knack for accurate predicting of future cultural scenarios that affect the West today, which can only be attributed to his massive knowledge of history and understanding of historical developments. Seldom does one find somebody endowed with both massive knowledge and talent to communicate it. Speaking of the process of secularization of the West in 1942: "There is no longer any need for nationalism or class feeling or economic motives to disguise themselves in the dress of religion, for they have become the conscious and dominant forces in social life. The ideologies which today form the opposite poles of social tension are not religious, but political, national, and economic ones, which have cut across, and largely obliterated the older sociological and religious divisions which separated Catholic and Protestant Europe". In the same article Dawson, with all the dark notes pointed out about our state of affairs in the West, he never seems to lose faith or even to transmit pessimism, even though his message's implications are dark indeed, his tone comes calm and hopeful through all his pages: "...unity by forcing Christians together, as it were, in spite of themselves." This simple sentence is a lesson on how to say a lot in just a few words; and the implications are at the same time tragic and hopeful. And how true they've become! Just look at the shape of the West, especially Europe, since 2001, look into the Muslim macho dictatorships all over the world... Look at this: "The three main substitutes for religion in the modern age, Democracy, Socialism, and Nationalism ... still arouse a genuinely religious emotion. It is religious emotion divorced from religious belief." It is reading Dawson and seeing Europe's malaise at the same time. The Muslim woman-beaters are at the doors of Europe and what do we do? Leave it to the U.N.; we really deserve that Muslims come and take over (but I hope not). An irrefutable message to all hedonists around: "It is the fundamental error of the modern hedonist to believe that man can abandon moral effort and throw off every repression and spiritual discipline and yet preserve all the achievements of culture. It is the lesson of history that the higher the achievement of a culture the greater is the moral effort and the stricter is the social discipline that it demands." If you think the above statement is wrong because you still hang on to Greece as the evidence of a cultured society where pedophiles and sodomites thrive, think twice: "This aversion to marriage and the deliberate restriction of the family by the practice of infanticide and abortion was undoubtedly the main cause of the decline of Greece, as Polybius pointed out in the second century B.C." Dawson sees the whole picture of world history, but never sounds like he is lecturing. He rather sounds like a friendly couch conversationalist. Dawson cannot be easily labeled and done away with, not then, and not even now. He would not fit the strict political categorizations of today, in the sense of being a liberal or a conservative. His vision of the world and world history is honest, calm, and Catholic. Like myself, you may have political differences with Dawson as a result of your own preferences, but his analysis of history strictly speaking, is impeccable. Past and present are so connected in his analyses that you seem both seem to be one, and if you stop to think, that's just how history should be taught: as a unifying frame, not as a sequence of independent events taking place in time. Family plays a big role in Dawson's view of history, as opposed to welfare state, "... the breaking down of the old structure of society and the loss of the traditional moral standards without creating anything which can take their place. As in the decline of the ancient world, the family is steadily losing its form and its social significance, and the state absorbs more and more of the life of its members ... the state educates the children and takes the responsibility for their maintenance and health. Consequently, the father no longer holds a vital position in the family." Weirdly so, I would say, we are looking more and more like the Muslim families, only with the father and mother roles changed. An exaggeration, but one gets the idea.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    A Christian is like a red rag to a bull—to the force of evil that seeks to be master of the world and which, in a limited sense, but in a very real sense, is, as St. John says, the Lord of this world. And not only the individual but the Church as an historic community follows the same pattern and finds its success and failure not where the politician finds them, but where Christ found them.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth

    An engaging collection of essays by Christopher Dawson. Dawson held the chair of Catholic Studies at Harvard, where he was the first to receive the title. Dawson is sometimes described in terms of St. Augustine. His other books of history often emphasize the importance of the pre-Medieval barbarians to Western culture. Dawson here presents his most significant insights into the meaning of world-history. He criticizes pure social science, the idea of progress and outlines the role of religion for An engaging collection of essays by Christopher Dawson. Dawson held the chair of Catholic Studies at Harvard, where he was the first to receive the title. Dawson is sometimes described in terms of St. Augustine. His other books of history often emphasize the importance of the pre-Medieval barbarians to Western culture. Dawson here presents his most significant insights into the meaning of world-history. He criticizes pure social science, the idea of progress and outlines the role of religion for social development. Religion, he thinks, is the cornerstone of any civilization. Culture cannot be divorced from “cult”. Dawson wrote during a time when grandiose tomes of history were being written by intellectual giants from Toynbee to Spengler to Marx. Histories that encompassed every world event, then abstracted historical "theories of everything", included some of the more important books read or written during the first half of the 20th century. In the Dynamics of World History Dawson looks at each of these works in turn, while paying particular attention to St. Augustine who can be said to have invented the genre with The City of God. My favorite essay from the collection is "Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind". Dawson contrasts the baroque or Medieval spirit of Catholicism with the commercial ideals of the merchant middle classes that arose at the time of the Enlightenment or industrial revolution especially. Here is a line that captures the above contrast from Dawson: “The ideal of the bourgeois culture is to maintain a respectable average standard. Its maxims are: “Honesty is the best policy,” “Do as you would be done by,” “The greatest happiness for the greatest number.” But the baroque spirit lives in and for the triumphant moment of creative ecstasy. It will have all or nothing. Its maxims are: “All for love and the world well lost,” “Nada, nada, nada,” “What dost thou seek for, O my soul? All is thine, all is for thee, do not take less, nor rest with the crumbs that fall from the table of thy Father. Go forth, and exult in thy glory, hide thyself in it and rejoice, and thou shalt obtain all the desires of thy heart.” An excellent collection of essays that provide an eclectic introduction to Dawson's thought.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Alfonseca

    This is one of the classic books on philosophy of science, worthy of figuring together with Oswald Spengler's Decline of the West, J.B. Toynbee's Study of history, A.L. Kroeber's Configuration of culture growth and Pitirim Sorokin's Social and cultural dynamics. The book is a collection of papers published by Dawson during over 30 years. They make a coherent set and show an interesting consistency in the author's mindset along all that time. I was shocked when I found some of the ideas I offered i This is one of the classic books on philosophy of science, worthy of figuring together with Oswald Spengler's Decline of the West, J.B. Toynbee's Study of history, A.L. Kroeber's Configuration of culture growth and Pitirim Sorokin's Social and cultural dynamics. The book is a collection of papers published by Dawson during over 30 years. They make a coherent set and show an interesting consistency in the author's mindset along all that time. I was shocked when I found some of the ideas I offered in my book Evolution and human cultures (1979) had previously been suggested by Dawson over 40 years before! Of course, I didn't know when I wrote that book, I've just read Dawson's book now.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    Recommended by James Schall in Another Sort of Learning, Intro to Part 2, as one of Seven Books by Christopher Dawson.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Petro

    Learned, eloquent, and profound. I don't know that I can praise this book highly enough. Though largely forgotten, surely Dawson was one of the brilliant thinkers of the 20th century. Learned, eloquent, and profound. I don't know that I can praise this book highly enough. Though largely forgotten, surely Dawson was one of the brilliant thinkers of the 20th century.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gwen Adams

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pedro Nobre

  12. 5 out of 5

    noblethumos

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  15. 4 out of 5

    Leo

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  18. 4 out of 5

    David

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Franczkuhn

  21. 4 out of 5

    Monica Perez

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susana789

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dillon Debruzzi

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  26. 4 out of 5

    David Sampaio

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erasmus

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Matthys

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael Loflin

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ioseph Bonifacius (Ioannes)

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