The Final Word from “One of the Outstanding Historians of the Generation and, Indeed, of Our Time”
In a career spanning more than sixty-five years, John Lukacs has established himself as one of our most accomplished historians. Now, in the stimulating book History and the Human Condition, Lukacs offers his profound reflections on the very nature of history, the role of the historian, the limits of knowledge, and more.
Guiding us on a quest for knowledge, Lukacs ranges far and wide over the past two centuries. The pursuit takes us from Alexis de Tocqueville to the atomic bomb, from American “exceptionalism” to Nazi expansionism, from the closing of the American frontier to the passing of the modern age.
Lukacs’s insights about the past have important implications for the present and future. In chronicling the twentieth-century decline of liberalism and rise of conservatism, for example, he forces us to rethink the terms of the liberal-versus-conservative debate. In particular, he shows that what passes for “conservative” in the twenty-first century often bears little connection to true conservatism.
Lukacs concludes by shifting his gaze from the broad currents of history to the world immediately around him. His reflections on his home, his town, his career, and his experiences as an immigrant to the United States illuminate deeper truths about America, the unique challenges of modernity, the sense of displacement and atomization that increasingly characterizes twenty-first-century life, and much more. Moving and insightful, this closing section focuses on the human in history, masterfully displaying how right Lukacs is in his contention that history, at its best, is personal and participatory.
History and the Human Condition is a fascinating work by one of the finest historians of our time. More than that, it is perhaps John Lukacs’s final word on the great themes that have defined him as a historian and a writer.
What They're Saying...
“One of the more incisive historians of the twentieth century.”
— Washington Times
“[A] master historian.”
— Historically Speaking
“One of the outstanding historians of the generation and, indeed, of our time.”
— Jacques Barzun, author of From Dawn to Decadence
“John Lukacs is inimitable; no other elder of our profession can handle such a variety of problems, persons, and episodes with a touch so personal and an intelligence so profound.”
— Geoffrey Best, author of Churchill: A Study in Greatness
“One of the most powerful, as well as one of the most learned, minds of the century.”
— Conor Cruise O’Brien, author of The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography of Edmund Burke
“In a field dominated by ideologues who view human beings as simply cogs in the great historical machine, Lukacs restores man to his central place in history and reminds us of the grave moral responsibilities that accompany our free will.”
— Scott P. Richert, executive editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture
“John Lukacs is an original. . . . He is a marvelously agile writer who provides the reader great pleasure while he takes him plumbing for the truth.”
— Witold Rybczynski, author of Home: A Short History of an Idea