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Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud (Anglais) Broché – 26 septembre 2006


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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“This is a grand book...The history of ideas deserves treatment on this scale.” (Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Evening Standard (London))

“A superior specimen, with numerous interesting factoids...thought-provoking short essays.” (John Derbyshire, New York Sun)

“A masterpiece of historical writing.” (John Gray, Professor of European Thought, London School of Economics, New Statesman)

“[An] extraordinary new book....This is the history of ‘ideas’ as it has never been presented before.” (Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph (London))

Présentation de l'éditeur

Peter Watson's hugely ambitious and stimulating history of ideas from deep antiquity to the present day—from the invention of writing, mathematics, science, and philosophy to the rise of such concepts as the law, sacrifice, democracy, and the soul—offers an illuminated path to a greater understanding of our world and ourselves.



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Première phrase
In 1936, a collection of papers by Sir Isaac Newton, the British physicist and natural philosopher, which had been considered to be 'of no scientific value' when offered to Cambridge University some fifty years earlier, came up for auction at Sotheby's, the international salesroom, in London. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: 48 commentaires
101 internautes sur 111 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Every person that would like to call him/herself educated should read this book 16 septembre 2005
Par A. de Wet - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
An absolutely amazing book. It has illuminated so many cause and effect chains for me that I can hardly believe how much I've learnt in such a short time. If history at school could be presented from this angle, it would fundamentally increase the general understanding of who, what and where we are.

Watson is a great writer that conveys an incredible amount of information with a story teller's flair. Quite an investment in time, worth every second.
43 internautes sur 46 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A book on History from a different perspective... 19 mars 2006
Par Fernando Berzal Galiano - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is a fantastic book that covers how ideas have developed through History and explains a lot of things about ourselves, members of the Western world in the 21st century.

If you are like me, you didn't enjoy your History classes much when they were all about the particular (and too often unrelated) dates of political and military events. Fortunately, brilliant historians such as Peter Watson know how to weave countless facts into an engaging history, from Gilgamesh to the Cavendish Laboratory at the dawn of the 20th century.

Don't you know what Gilgamesh is? Maybe you should take a look at this book and enjoy yourself learning and thinking about things you might have taken for granted and never questioned.

This book is highly recommended for those who, keeping an open mind, want to be aware of how humans have evolved through History and would like to get to the roots of our many habits and traditions.

I wish all educated people could enjoy the insightful comments and innumerable associations of ideas that Peter Watson shares with us in his delightful history of ideas.

Maybe the most encompassing book on History ever written. Certainly the best I have ever read. A book on History from a different perspective.
34 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A university education in itself 2 janvier 2006
Par Douglas Hainline - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is a splendid book. People who did not have a chance to go to university will find, after reading it, that -- if they couldn't before -- they can now hold their end up in a conversation with any history or social science major. Indeed, if they pay close attention to what they read here, they can probably dominate the conversation!

But if you did go to university, here is the chance to (1) fill in all the gaps, those courses you didn't have time to take or slept through, and/or (2) if you are "of a certain age" catch up with what's been happening in your field (and others) since you graduated.

Mark Steyn had a column recently in which he attacked the author for saying that monotheistic religion had been a bad idea, historically. Be that as it may, this is a splendid book, and my only question is: how the devil did the man find time to write it? Or did he have a mulit-disciplinary army of graduate students reading hundreds of books and summarizing them?

If I only bought one book this year, this would be it.
46 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An exceptional book 12 décembre 2005
Par birdmanct - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is the history book I've always wanted to read, not a history of war but a history of ideas. A look at the index gives you an inkling of what's in store for the fortunate reader. It's size is a bit intimidating, but the scope and depth of the material demands it.

I thought the NY Times interview [panned by 'Texan' below] was inciteful and funny. To rate a book you clearly haven't read based on a reply in an interview is to deliberately mislead the literate people who would enjoy this book. Please ignore Texan's "review", and do read this book.
19 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Long and Short of It 2 janvier 2007
Par Dorothy H. Papp - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Ideas, A History of Thought and Invention from Fire to Freud is an amazing book. Peter Watson knows his brief and can explain some of the most difficult ideas ever conceived by man in words that make them understandable to the popular reader. No, he makes them more than understandable - he makes them fascinating and relevant, showing how they have shaped the fabric of human life to this very day.

Watson's capacity to discuss some of the key controversies of modern science in an even-handed manner is almost as impressive as his scholarship. Nonetheless, it is worth pointing out that it is impossible to publish a book of this scope that will not be out of date in some respects within months. The artifacts reflecting python worship 70,000 years ago in Botswana and found by Sheila Coulson from the University of Oslo, for instance, is strong support for the view that abstract thought emerged gradually in Africa and at a far earlier date than those arguing for a genetic change in European Homo sapiens 40,000 year ago. Nor, perhaps, may the discovery of Homo floresiensis face us with the challenges of explaining how a different human species with such a small brain reached the Indonesian island where their skeletons were found.

It is a surprise that a book about the power of ideas throughout human history should close suggesting that there is probably no such thing as the Platonic "inner self." While discoveries of modern neuroscience are making this an increasingly respectable position to argue, Watson's defense of his view is surprisingly poor.

Despite its riveting interest, actually reading this book is a challenge. Its 822 8x10" pages weigh over 8 pounds, which makes cumbersome bedside reading. The Big Bang to Now: A Time Line, the slim volume by T. H. Sissons, covers much of the same ground as Watson's book but in far less detail. For those not sure they are ready for a heavyweight like Watson or for anyone looking for a quick overview alongside Watson's estimable tome, The Big Bang to Now may be either a good starter or accompaniment.
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