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Book Title: The Discoverers|
The author of the book: Daniel J. Boorstin
Edition: Phoenix Press
Date of issue: May 1st 2001
ISBN 13: 9781842122273
Loaded: 2746 times
Reader ratings: 7.9
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 27.48 MB
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Perhaps the greatest book by one of our greatest historians, The Discoverers: A History of Man's Search to Know His World & Himself is a volume of sweeping range and majestic interpretation. To call it a history of science is an understatement; this is the story of how humankind has come to know the world, however incompletely ("the eternal mystery of the world," Einstein once said, "is its comprehensibility"). Daniel J. Boorstin first describes the liberating concept of time--"the first grand discovery"--and continues through the age of exploration and the advent of the natural and social sciences. The approach is idiosyncratic, with Boorstin lingering over particular figures and accomplishments rather than rushing on to the next set of names and dates. It's also primarily Western, although Boorstin does ask (and answer) several interesting questions: Why didn't the Chinese "discover" Europe and America? Why didn't the Arabs circumnavigate the planet? His thesis about discovery ultimately turns on what he calls "illusions of knowledge." If we think we know something, then we face an obstacle to innovation. The great discoverers, Boorstin shows, dispel the illusions and reveal something new about the world.
Although The Discoverers easily stands on its own, it is technically the first entry in a trilogy that also includes The Creators and The Seekers. An outstanding book--one of the best works of history to be found anywhere. --John J. Miller
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Read information about the authorDaniel Joseph Boorstin was a historian, professor, attorney, and writer. He was appointed twelfth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1975 until 1987.
He graduated from Tulsa's Central High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the age of 15. He graduated with highest honors from Harvard, studied at Balliol College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and earned his PhD at Yale University. He was a lawyer and a university professor at the University of Chicago for 25 years. He also served as director of the National Museum of History and Technology of the Smithsonian Institution.
His The Americans The Democratic Experience received the 1974 Pulitzer Prize in history.
Within the discipline of social theory, Boorstin’s 1961 book The Image A Guide to Pseudo-events in America is an early description of aspects of American life that were later termed hyperreality and postmodernity. In The Image, Boorstin describes shifts in American culture—mainly due to advertising—where the reproduction or simulation of an event becomes more important or "real" than the event itself. He goes on to coin the term pseudo-event which describes events or activities that serve little to no purpose other than to be reproduced through advertisements or other forms of publicity. The idea of pseudo-events closely mirrors work later done by Jean Baudrillard and Guy Debord. The work is still often used as a text in American sociology courses.
When President Gerald Ford nominated Boorstin to be Librarian of Congress, the nomination was supported by the Authors League of America but opposed by the American Library Association because Boorstin "was not a library administrator." The Senate confirmed the nomination without debate.
Boorstin died in 2004 in Washington, D.C.
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