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

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An original history of man's greatest adventure: his search to discover the world around him.
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The Discoverers

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An original history of man's greatest adventure: his search to discover the world around him.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Boorstin's 1983 bestseller The Discoverers , the achievements of Galileo, Columbus, Darwin, Gutenberg and Freud emerged as upwellings of creativity and courage, ingenious acts of revolt against ingrained habit. This richly illustrated two-volume edition reveals the world as known to the discovers themselves. We see the tools of discovery--Egyptian obelisks, early clocks, Leeuwenhoek's microscope, Mercator's maps, botanical drawings from James Cook's voyages--and glimpse the social, cultural and political background, made concrete in 550 pictures including paintings, sculpture, engravings and architecture. A photograph of 15th-century cast bronze type from Korea underscores an Eastern invention that could have changed the course of printing, perhaps of science and culture. In a feast for the mind and eye, itself a delightful adventure in discovery, Boorstin, librarian of Congress emeritus, profiles--and places in context--scores of innovators who broke with dogma and tradition. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394402291
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/1983
  • Edition description: Special ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 768
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 2.24 (d)

Table of Contents

A Personal Note to the Reader xv
Book 1 Time
Part I The Heavenly Empire
1. The Temptations of the Moon 4
2. The Week: Gateway to Science 12
3. God and the Astrologers 19
Part II From Sun Time to Clock Time
4. Measuring the Dark Hours 26
5. The Rise of the Equal Hour 36
6. Making Time Portable 46
Part III The Missionary Clock
7. Open Sesame to China 56
8. Mother of Machines 64
9. Why It Happened in the West 72
Book 2 The Earth and the Seas
Part IV The Geography of the Imagination
10. The Awe of Mountains 82
11. Charting Heaven and Hell 86
12. The Appeal of Symmetry 92
13. The Prison of Christian Dogma 100
14. A Flat Earth Returns 107
Part V Paths to the East
15. Pilgrims and Crusaders 116
16. How the Mongols Opened the Way 124
17. Missionary Diplomats 128
18. The Discovery of Asia 134
19. The Land Curtain Comes Down 139
Part VI Doubling the World
20. Ptolemy Revived and Revised 146
21. Portuguese Sea Pioneers 156
22. Beyond the Threatening Cape 165
23. To India and Back 172
24. Why Not the Arabs? 178
25. The Chinese Reach Out 186
26. An Empire without Wants 195
Part VII The American Surprise
27. The Wandering Vikings 204
28. Dead End in Vinland 209
29. The Power of the Winds 217
30. "The Enterprise of the Indies" 224
31. Fair Winds, Soft Words, and Luck 231
32. Paradise Found and Lost 235
33. Naming the Unknown 244
Part VIII Sea Paths to Everywhere
34. A World of Oceans 256
35. The Reign of Secrecy 267
36. Knowledge Becomes Merchandise 271
37. The Ardors of Negative Discovery 278
Book 3 Nature
Part IX Seeing the Invisible
38. Into "the Mists of Paradox" 294
39. The Witness of the Naked Eye 305
40. A Vision Troubled and Surprised 312
41. Caught in the Cross Fire 322
42. New Worlds Within 327
43. Galileo in China 332
Part X Inside Ourselves
44. A Mad Prophet Points the Way 338
45. The Tyranny of Galen 344
46. From Animals to Man 351
47. Unseen Currents Within 361
48. From Qualities to Quantities 368
49. "The Microscope of Nature" 376
Part XI Science Goes Public
50. A Parliament of Scientists 386
51. From Experience to Experiment 394
52. "God Said, Let Newton Be!" 401
53. Priority Becomes the Prize 408
Part XII Cataloguing the Whole Creation
54. Learning to Look 420
55. The Invention of Species 429
56. Specimen Hunting 436
57. Stretching the Past 446
58. In Search of the Missing Link 457
59. Paths to Evolution 464
Book 4 Society
Part XIII Widening the Communities of Knowledge
60. The Lost Arts of Memory 480
61. Empire of the Learned 489
62. The Duplicating Impulse 498
63. "The Art of Artificial Writing" 510
64. Communities of the Vernacular 517
65. Transforming the Book 524
66. Books Go Public 533
67. The Island of Islam 539
68. Toward a World Literature 547
Part XIV Opening the Past
69. The Birth of History 558
70. Christianity Gives Direction 566
71. Revising the Record 574
72. Explorers among the Ruins 581
73. "To Wake the Dead" 588
74. Latitudes of Time 596
75. The Discovery of Prehistory 603
76. Hidden Dimensions: History as Therapy 613
Part XV Surveying the Present
77. "All Mankind Is One" 626
78. The Shock of the Primitive 636
79. A Science of Culture 646
80. An Expanding Universe of Wealth 652
81. Learning from Numbers 667
82. The Infinite and the Infinitesimal 675
Some Reference Notes 685
Acknowledgments 715
Index 719
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2012

    How history class should be!

    The story of some of mankind's greatest discoveries written in an engaging narrative.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2011

    My third go around! I just love this well written.

    Daniel Boorstin brings to life the people who made our life what it is today. This book absolutely captivates the reader and it has remained one of my favorite reads since it was published.

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  • Posted April 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Information Overload

    The Discoverers is everything that you needed to know whether you realized it or not. It does not have to be read straight through, you can just open it anywhere and read a bit (I bet you can't stop at one paragraph).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2006

    Exceptional reading

    Beginning a bit slow, this opus provides a comprehensive history of the world. Important figures from all of time and their impact on life as we know abound in this wonderful work. Boorstin writes in a very fluid, easy style. Events are presented in chronological order, tying into each other. Highly recommended for history buffs.

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    Posted December 30, 2011

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    Posted August 5, 2011

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    Posted May 12, 2012

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    Posted June 3, 2011

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    Posted September 23, 2009

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    Posted July 20, 2011

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