Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780753820896

Price: £18.99

ON SALE: 26th July 2006

Genre: Society & Social Sciences / Society & Culture: General

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A highly ambitious and lucid history of ideas from the very earliest times to the present day.

‘A masterpiece’ NEW STATESMAN

‘An extraordinary new book … This is the history of “ideas” as it has never presented before’ SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

In this hugely ambitious and exciting book Peter Watson tells the history of ideas from prehistory to the present day, leading to a new way of telling the history of the world. The book begins over a million years ago with a discussion of how the earliest ideas might have originated. Looking at animal behaviour that appears to require some thought: tool-making, territoriality, counting, language (or at least sounds), pairbonding.

Peter Watson moves on to the apeman and the development of simple ideas such as cooking, the earliest language, the emergence of family life. All the obvious areas are tackled: the Ancient Greeks, Christian theology, the ideas of Jesus, astrological thought, the soul, the self, beliefs about the heavens, the ideas of Islam, the Crusades, humanism, the Renaissance, Gutenberg and the book, the scientific revolution, the age of discovery, Shakespeare, the idea of Revolution, the Romantic imagination, Darwin, imperialism, modernism, Freud right up to the present day and the internet.

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This lively book may stimulate the intellectually curious as they seek to understand the history of the mind
Here is an original perspective on the history of the world... All the important ideas are discussed, from the Ancient Greeks right up to the present day and the internet.
It would be a dull reader that failed to be stimulated either by the questions it raises or by the answers it gives to all sorts of questions that one would never have thought of asking
An extraordinary new book ... This is the history of "ideas" as it has never presented before
A superior specimen, with numerous interesting factoids...thought-provoking short essays
A masterpiece of historical writing ... In IDEAS, Watson gives us an astonishing overview of human intellectual development which covers everything... In a book of such vast scope, a reader could easily get lost, but the narrative has a powerful momentum...For those who want something more engaging than the dreary Plato to Nato narrative that dominates conventional histories of ideas, this wide range of reference will be invaluable
This is a grand book ... The history of ideas deserves treatment on this scale
Thought-provoking ... comprehensive, incisive and stimulating ... a hugely readable and information-packed tome
Watson has an excellent eye for vivid detail and brings dusty names from the archive to life ... One is left gasping in admiration