The Discoverers by Daniel Boorstin, published in , is a solid, thoroughly researched and well documented series of 82 essays on the history of human. In Boorstin’s bestseller The Discoverers, the achievements of Galileo, Columbus, Darwin, Gutenberg and Freud emerged as upwellings of creativity and. In the compendious history, Boorstin not only traces man’s insatiable need to know, but also the obstacles to discovery and the illusion that.

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The Discoverers By: Daniel J. Boorstin

Facinating view of the key people whose discoveries made a significant change in the history and culture of the world. Once a member of the Communist Party in the s he grew to distrust all forms of fanaticism and political ideology and sought to show how such fanaticism was always detrimental to human progress.

We see the vast scope of our knowledge base. Boorstin successfully converting this vast ocean into a story each of us can enjoy. I like the way that he treats the “story of progress” as the stories of people, both because he’s a great humanist, sensitive to the struggles of people to shrug off constraints of ignorance and see a little farther, and also because that way he’s better able to impart just how difficult those struggles were.

Just as with the discovery of new lands, the discovery of the macro and microscopic realms were inhibited by the doctrinaire Church, the widespread presumption of already knowing, and reliance on intuition. This new reality can be described as a type of deconstructionisma movement Boorstin opposed for that very reason. The general populace spoke local dialects. What this book does is show that everything evolves. He explained that each soul was by nature a “fiery breath” tending to rise to the heavens, yet as a soul lowered into the earthly atmosphere it tended to become damp and heavy.


The Emperor of China ordered all observers in the imperial observatory to keep their business secret ” Not to tell any common people about what they did for a living”. This book is about discovery and those interested in a deeper understanding of why the West rose to prominence should look to Civilization: A truly encylcopedic view of the history of discovery – well worth reading.

It’s a book to keep handy on a shelf and dip into whenever and for whatever reason. Covering time, the earth and the seas, nature and society, he gathers and analyzes stories of the man’s profound quest to understand his world and the cosmos. Herodotus described the Tower of Babel as a pile of solid towers, each slightly smaller than the one on which it rested.

Grossly underestimating the distance to Asia, he was lucky America was there. It spends time on the scientific revolution of Copernicus through Newton, it goes into Darwin and Lyell.

The Discoverers: A History of Man’s Search to Know His World and Himself by Daniel J. Boorstin

Japan was able to make mainsprings for spring driven clocks. For example, within Book One: He was an armchair traveller and pursuer of knowledge who was curtailed only by his life’s circumstances from being an adventurer and discoverer himself.

Boorstin’s reliance on biographic sketches of ‘men of genius’ sometimes neglects the broader social context that lead to the discoveries, and sometimes neglects detailing previous advances a particular discoverer was drawing upon. Aug 22, Stuart Lutzenhiser rated it liked it Shelves: The astonishing thing is that these borstin were made at all.

The Witness of the Naked Eye. Schlesinger, Jr and Brian Barry wrote of potential dangers it posed to a continuing liberal society. The Missionary Clock One need not be astonished that the Chinese sages did not make these steps. The ” Chinese Caesar”King Cheng, booratin within 25 years to unify a half-dozen Chinese provinces into a single great empire, with a vast hierarchy of bureaucrats. I found this book very challenging to read. This journey is about us, after all.


Rather it was the extension of the uniqueness of the person discoverees and ever.

Open Sesame to China. Overwhelming at times, but the prose was extremely readable and you don’t need to have prior extensive knowledge to know boorsgin this journey is about.

From Experience to Experiment

How could these be stored for easy retrieval? The influence of the ancient Greek physician Galen on anatomy is the most striking example. Jun 10, Todd N rated it it was amazing.

In a good number of them I either found the answer to some question I had always wondered about, or found intriguing discussion of something it had never really occurred to me to wonder about — such as why there are seven days in a week, when nothing in nature dictates it.

Caught in the Cross Fire.

Genoa’s first mechanical public clock was made in Milan. The role of religion and culture is another recurring theme.

He crafted devices to measure pulse and temperature. It took me about six weeks to read this book because I wanted to take my time with it. Boorstin documents in wonderful conversational and personal prose the historical process of discovery of the heavensearth and man – of himself and his place in the cosmos.

Archived from the original on This is not comprehensive history but a well balanced narrative.

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