The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Discoverers demonstrates the truth behind the aphorism that if Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, the face of the world would have been changed. Boorstin goes on to uncover the elements of accident, improvisation and contradiction at the core of American institutions and beliefs.
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Daniel J. Boorstin taught American history for twenty-five years at the University of Chicago, was director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, and, most recently, for twelve years served as the Librarian of Congress.From Booklist:
The amusingly cryptic title of Boorstin's rigorous essay collection comes from a line of Pascal's: "Cleopatra's nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed." This observation appeals to Boorstin's penetrating sense of history and of "the crucial role of the accidental and the trivial." The Librarian of Congress Emeritus and one of the world's most widely read historians, Boorstin is a skilled essayist. Here he revisits his favorite subjects--American history, exploration, science, and technology--but uses them as conduits for fresh perceptions into our fractured era. He begins by putting a spin on his signature theme of discovery by discussing the value of "negative" discoveries: proving that certain things don't exist or aren't possible. This leads to an illuminating piece on the merging of the discoverer and the inventor, a union that gave life to a new personality: the scientist. In the midst of his thoughts on the role of machines in our lives, Boorstin turns his attention to human nature and presents us with two ardent and shrewd essays about conscience. One examines conscience and the art of writing; the other traces the roots of political correctness to a "startling renaissance of the New England conscience." Boorstin forces us to think clearly about the consequences of "Balkanizing" America and the habit of defining ourselves as victims. One of the many pleasures of reading is watching great minds at work; Boorstin's is one of the finest. Donna Seaman
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Book Description Random House Inc, Westminster, Maryland, U.S.A., 1994. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. New. A collection of recent essays by Boorstin illustrating specific subjects over a wide variety of topics that have preoccupied him for several decades on discovery, science, conscience and others. . Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2. Bookseller Inventory # 10150-0032
Book Description Random House, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110679435050
Book Description Random House, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Brand New!. Bookseller Inventory # VIB0679435050