This seventh volume of
Will and Ariel Durant’s renowned Story of Civilization chronicles the history of European
civilization from 1558 to 1648.
The Age of Reason Begins brings together a fascinating
network of stories in the discussion of the bumpy road toward the
Enlightenment. This is the age of great monarchs and greater artists—on the one
hand, Elizabeth I of England, Philip II of Spain, and Henry IV of
France; on the other, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Montaigne, and Rembrandt. It also
encompasses the heyday of Francis Bacon, Galileo, Giordano Bruno, and Descartes, the
fathers of modern science and philosophy. But it is equally an age of extreme
violence, a moment in which all Europe was embroiled in the horrible Thirty
Years’ War—in some respects, the real first world war. This chapter
in cultural history is one that can’t be missed.
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