From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present

Finalist, National Book Awards 2000 for Nonfiction

From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun book cover
ISBN 9780060175863
Harper Perennial | Harper
Jacques Barzun author photo
Jacques Barzun

Born in France in 1907, Jacques Barzun is the author of some thirty books, including the New York Times bestseller From Dawn to Decadence, he received the Gold Medal for Criticism from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, of which he was twice president. More about this author >

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Highly regarded here and abroad for some thirty works of cultural history and criticism, master historian Jacques Barzun has now set down in one continuous narrative the sum of his discoveries and conclusions about the whole of Western culture since 1500.

In this account, Barzun describes what Western Man wrought from the Renaissance and Reformation down to the present in the double light of its own time and our pressing concerns. He introduces characters and incidents with his unusual literary style and grace, bringing to the fore those that have “Puritans as Democrats,” “The Monarch’s Revolution,” “The Artist Prophet and Jester” — show the recurrent role of great themes throughout the eras.

Only after a lifetime of separate studies covering a broad territory could a writer create with such ease the synthesis displayed in this magnificent volume.

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