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Download The Discoverers: A History of Man's Search to Know His World and Himself Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Discoverers: A History of Mans Search to Know His World and Himself Audiobook, by Daniel J. Boorstin
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (5,228 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Daniel J. Boorstin Narrator: Christopher Cazenove Publisher: The Publishing Mills Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2002 ISBN:
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The Discoverers is a vivid, sweeping and original history of man's greatest adventure: his search to discover the world around him - the relationship of the heavens to his own planet, the elusive and mysterious dimension of time, the vast and colorful range of plants and animals, the intricate workings of his own body, the surprising variety of human societies past and present. Boorstin's flair for the vivid anecdote, for fresh points of view, and for the dramatic relationship of ideas has made him the most readable of our eminent historians.

The story of our world is not the usual succession of battles and empires and political leaders, but a tale of discoveries and beginnings. The long human quest for what man does not yet know becomes a mystery story played by a vast cast on an ever-changing stage. The heroes of this saga are men with an insatiable hunger for knowledge and the courage to venture into the unknown.

Why didn't the Chinese discover America? Why were people so slow to learn the earth goes around the sun? How and why did we begin to think of species of plants and animals? How, when, and why did people begin digging in the earth to learn about the past? How did the study of economics begin? These are but a few of the fascinating questions answered by Dr. Boorstin, Librarian of Congress Emeritus. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steven | 2/12/2014

    " One of the best books I've ever read. Temendous overview mankind's discoveries. It's divided into broad categories: Time, Earth & Seas, Nature, and Society. I actually read this some 25 years ago and looking at it again, I think it's time to read it a second time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe Paulk | 2/9/2014

    " One of Boorstin's best and most thorough. His explanation of the evolution of the concept of time is brilliant. While it has slow portions, it is well worth the effort put forth. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry | 2/9/2014

    " "A history of man's search to know his world and himself." This book surveys the "pathbreakers" who propelled human knowledge in such areas as medicine, biology, astronomy, anthropology, and most other intellectual disciplines. Boorstin makes a distinction between those who make initial discoveries and those who consolidate and bring forth the full knowledge. He is perhaps overly enamored of Western Europe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phillip | 2/8/2014

    " Daniel Boorstin, native Oklahoman and former head of the Library of Congress, has produced a wonderful history of many types of discoverers who have made contributions to our culture. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin Malone | 2/3/2014

    " I felt the book was a little too Euro-centric, but Mr. Boorstin does give a lot of interesting information about Oriental and Islamic cultures, too. Even with the issue I take with this book, I think it an indispensable sweeping portrait of humanity, and I love that kind of book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colin | 1/26/2014

    " Good read, but some parts are very slow reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aaron Arnold | 1/20/2014

    " The Discoverers is a genial, readable, welcome overview of some of the major scientific discoveries in human history, linked together by theme, and a good candidate for "best book that should have been one of my textbooks in high school but inexplicably wasn't". Boorstin is apparently a generally strong historian, having written several other acclaimed works like the 1974 History Pulitzer winner The Americans, and if that one was anything like this it should be a great read. The Discoverers takes a strongly narrative approach to its scope of inquiry, which endeared it to me. It's divided into four main sections: Time, which discusses the inventions of the calendar and clock; The Earth and Seas, which recounts the refinement of mapping, geography, and exploration; Nature, which covers astronomy, medicine, and physics; and Society, which wraps up the modern era as an age where people have studied themselves and their works in unprecedented detail. These general topics are related to the reader through the stories of the explorers and scientists who uncovered new lands and new knowledge, and Boorstin's smooth writing style and talent for both panoramic surveys and detailed explanations should make the content stick in the mind a bit better than the somewhat disjointed style of most textbooks. 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. The overall lesson is that progress is very difficult: people's prejudices - be they the spontaneous generation, geocentrism, the threefold world map - are almost always seemingly reasonable and justifiable by simple inspection, and it takes a lot of deep thinking and hard work to advance the frontiers of knowledge. Boorstin is able to incite both sympathy for the inhabitants of the old worlds and admiration for the pioneers of the new worlds, while returning again and again to a sentiment we would all do well to remember: "I have observed that the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge. It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever." Well said. Here's hoping that more people read this book, both to celebrate the great scientists and adventurers of the past, and keep in mind that spirit of discovery. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ignacio De leon | 1/18/2014

    " Erudite work about history, told from a very original standpoint. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 1/18/2014

    " Very informative book that tells you things that you might have wanted to know but had no idea where to go to find them out. For example, how did people figure out how to measure time properly. I have some bones to pick, e.g. "the discovery of the social sciences" is a little flat-footed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mediocrates | 12/26/2013

    " Everyone should read this. More than once. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 12/17/2013

    " All the tidbits you never really knew you cared about, but are glad that you found out you do! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Pouy | 12/10/2013

    " This is the first book of a Trilogy ("The Creators" and "The Seekers" are the other two). All are very well researched and written. Sure, we learned about most of this is school, but Boorstin's narrative adds enough detail and anecdote to pump up the interest level. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian Lee | 12/6/2013

    " #33 THE DISCOVORIES: A History Of Man's Search To Know His World And Himself by Daniel J. Boorston. Durfee's top 50 non-fiction books countdown. Pretty much a history of everything in the world (a very thick book needless to say). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steve Marzelli | 11/9/2013

    " This was too much like a text book for my taste. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy Molino | 10/8/2013

    " Thoroughly enjoyable and educational. In particular I like how the scope of the book's subject is laid out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jordan | 10/5/2013

    " Definitely an interesting book. Fascinating history of the numerous discoveries made. And if I had an awesome memory, I could spout off hundreds of cool facts. The book seemed to run on a bit at times, but I guess not everything will be interesting to everyone. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna Mcallister | 6/5/2013

    " I had to read this book for a class, and didn't think I would like it much, but in the end I really enjoyed it and learned a lot along the way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 5/24/2013

    " I loved this book...my favorite part is the chapter on the Mind/Memory. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles | 2/24/2013

    " A monumental achievement. Well worth the reading. It wasn't as compellingly written as I might have liked. It took me a good while to get through it. But it's a great reference work. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie Bell | 11/24/2012

    " Simply fabulous and definitely right up my alley! All the great advancements of mankind all in one book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 SD Mittelsteadt | 11/13/2012

    " I've been reading this book for about 10 years.....a constant work in progress....but fantastic and fascinating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becky | 7/27/2012

    " This book is fascinatingly interesting, but it will put you to sleep if you are not careful! One of the few history books I've actually enjoyed "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Porter | 6/16/2012

    " A lovely book. I just reread it after 15 years, and it's a lucid and compelling as ever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rudolfo | 5/2/2012

    " Short details on the most interesting discoveries made by man. A few pages the author has written on his favourite ones. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Projwal Shrestha | 2/6/2012

    " A fascinating read. The author takes the reader from the beginning of time as humans know it, to the discoveries of australia, and america. A magical journey "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tyler Malone | 1/21/2012

    " A little out of date, but a great big book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rick | 11/16/2011

    " A staggeringly broad and rich description of the history of exploration. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 ddjiii | 8/28/2011

    " I remember working my way through this tome when I was about fourteen and it was all basically new information. As I recall it's not just who thought of what, but the connections between them. Now I want to re-read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steven | 6/27/2011

    " One of the best books I've ever read. Temendous overview mankind's discoveries. It's divided into broad categories: Time, Earth & Seas, Nature, and Society. I actually read this some 25 years ago and looking at it again, I think it's time to read it a second time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 6/13/2011

    " I loved this book...my favorite part is the chapter on the Mind/Memory. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Projwal | 4/4/2011

    " A fascinating read. The author takes the reader from the beginning of time as humans know it, to the discoveries of australia, and america. A magical journey "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin | 1/12/2011

    " I wish I could give this book more stars. A brilliant, satisfying read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kayoko | 11/10/2010

    " A history book.... and almost 1000 pages long. It went up and down in interest since some of the sections are so detailed and long-winded... But it's good right now! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gwen | 7/22/2010

    " A mind-stretching overview of mankinds's quest to learn about our world from the earliest tmes to present day. In the process I learned so much myself. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 4/25/2010

    " Can't read it through... can't put it down. Like peanuts on the table I keep them near and consume a little at a time. This book has been on my bedside and in the bathroom for reading for a long time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 3/14/2010

    " Nice treatment of the major discoverers in history. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Julia | 2/17/2010

    " I've never taken so long to finish a book but I told myself I would read it and I made it through the thing... lets not mention it took me 2 years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gideon | 2/13/2010

    " Boorstin is so good at the general historical overview. Not too heavy on the historical details, but ample to bring out the specific cultures, periods, and change makers. I highly recommend. I also bought the audio version and enjoyed it (though it was abridged). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 SD | 1/13/2010

    " I've been reading this book for about 10 years.....a constant work in progress....but fantastic and fascinating. "

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About the Author
Author Daniel J. Boorstin

Daniel J. Boorstin was born in 1914 and educated at Harvard, Yale, and Oxford. He is Librarian of Congress Emeritus, having directed the US national library from 1979-1987. He had previously been Director of the National Museum for History and Technology and of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. He taught at the University of Chicago for twenty-five years.

About the Narrator

Christopher Cazenove (1943–2010), one of England’s finest actors, starred on stage and television in the United States and Great Britain. His motion-picture credits include A Knight’s Tale, Eye of the Needle, Children of the Full Moon, and Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill. He played Ben Carrington on television’s Dynasty.