A Study of History by Arnold J. Toynbee

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A Study of History is the 12-volume magnum opus of British historian Arnold J. Toynbee, finished in 1961. In this immensely detailed and complex work, Toynbee traces the birth, growth and decay of some 21 to 23 major civilizations in the world. These are: Egyptian, Andean, Sinic, Minoan, Sumerian, Mayan, Indic, Hittite, Hellenic, Western, Orthodox Christian (Russia), Far Eastern (Japan), Orthodox Christian (main body), Far Eastern (main body), Persian, Arabic, Hindu, Mexican, Yucatec, and Babylonic. There are four 'abortive civilizations' (Abortive Far Western Christian, Abortive Far Eastern Christian, Abortive Scandinavian, Abortive Syriac) and five 'arrested civilizations' (Polynesian, Eskimo, Nomadic, Ottoman, Spartan); thirty in all. Toynbee applies his model to each of these civilizations, painstakingly detailing the stages through which they all pass: genesis, growth, time of troubles, universal state, and disintegration.

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The 91st greatest nonfiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 5th on The 50 Best Books of the Century (Intercollegiate Studies Institute)
  2. - 45th on The Modern Library | 100 Best Nonfiction (The Modern Library)
  3. - Recommended Books (Academy of Achievement)

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