Cleopatra's Nose: Essays on the Unexpected

Overview

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.

This provocative new collection of essays by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Boorstin deals with the challenging themes of discovery and ...

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Cleopatra's Nose: Essays on the Unexpected

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Overview

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.

This provocative new collection of essays by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Boorstin deals with the challenging themes of discovery and surprise in history. In a "personal postscript, " Boorstin gives us a memorable and affectionate portrait of his father and celebrates the amateur spirit in the writing of history.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Librarian of Congress emeritus Boorstin (formerly history, Univ. of Chicago) presents a distillation of his ideas on the role of discovery and surprise in history. Some lesser pieces written for particular occasions and an affectionate but perceptive portrait of his father (and mother) round out this collection. The essays emphasize the unexpected as a major consequence of the path-breaking scientific discoveries and the major social, cultural, and political changes that have reshaped the Western world in the last few centuries. Boorstin delights in paradox: scientific discoveries sometimes only increase our ignorance; the new "kingdom of machines" seemingly contradicts the politics of common sense. The writing is fluid and mellow. Recommended for general and academic libraries.-Harry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., New York
Wall Street Journal
The scope of Boorstin's work is as broad as history itself.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679755180
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Series: Vintage Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,450,370
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
I Realms of Discovery
1 The Age of Negative Discovery 3
2 The Cultures of Pride and Awe 18
3 An Odd Couple: Discoverers and Inventors 31
II Trials of Conscience
4 The Writer as Conscience of the World 41
5 Our Conscience-Wracked Nation 53
III New-World Opportunities
6 Printing and the Constitution 63
7 Roles of the President's House 74
8 The Making of a Capitol 86
9 An Un-American Capital 97
IV The Cautionary Science
10 Tocqueville's America 107
11 Custine's Russia 113
V The Fourth Kingdom
12 Darwinian Expectations 125
13 Statistical Expectations 141
14 Artificial Selection 158
15 The Great Separation 170
VI A Personal Postscript
16 My Father, Lawyer Sam Boorstin 181
17 Land of the Unexpected 191
Acknowledgments 201
Index 203
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