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Staring into chaos : explorations in the decline of Western civilization

Author: Bruce Brander
Publisher: Dallas, Tex. : Spence Pub., 1998.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Mr. Brander explores the view that Western civilization is coming to an end, at least in the technological, materialistic, and expansionist form in which it has dominated the world for five centuries. He begins with a survey of some two dozen social thinkers who have sounded warnings of decline since the mid-nineteenth century, among them Tolstoy, Jacob Burckhardt, Henry and Brooks Adams, and Albert Schweitzer.
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Bruce Brander
ISBN: 0965320855 9780965320856
OCLC Number: 37533969
Description: xiii, 418 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: I. The problem of the west. 1. Progress and doubt. Varying views of man's course --
The progress of the west --
The rise of doubt --
Probing the direction of the west. 2. The alarm sounds. Progress disbelieved --
Forecasts of barbarism --
A society sickening --
Utopia revised. 3. Visions of decline. A quest for patterns: Ernst von Lasaulx --
A scientific law of history: Henry Adams --
The law of civilization and decay: Brooks Adams --
The west and Russia I: Nikolai Danilevsky --
The west and Russia II: Walter Schubart --
The coming middle ages: Nikolai Berdyaev --
An ethical solution: Albert Schweitzer --
From dawn to twilight. II. Oswald Spengler, the master doomsayer. 4. Spengler and decline. Oswald Spengler --
The decline of the west. 5. The high cultures. Classical culture --
Arabian culture --
Western culture. 6. Culture and civilazation. The culture phase --
The civilazation phase --
The decline of the west. III. Arnold J. Toynbee, the master historian. 7. Toynbee and history. Arnold J. Toynbee --
A study of history. 8. Civilizations. Genesis --
Growth --
Breakdown --
Disintegration --
Beyond civilization. 9. Prospects for the west. The west in disintegration? --
The coming universal state --
Religion: restoration or purpose. IV. Pitirim A. Sorokin, the master analyst. 10. Sorokin and the crisis of the west. Pitirim A. Sorokin --
Social and cultural dynamics --
The grand changes of culture. 11. Changes in the arts. Painting and sculpture --
Architecture --
Music --
Literature and criticism. 12. Shifting certainties. Changes in accepted truth --
Changes in science. 13. Shifting human bonds. Changes in ethics and law --
Changes in social relationships --
Wars and revolutions. 14. Toward a new civilization. Crisis and transition --
Ordeal to resurrection.
Responsibility: B.G. Brander.

Abstract:

Mr. Brander explores the view that Western civilization is coming to an end, at least in the technological, materialistic, and expansionist form in which it has dominated the world for five centuries. He begins with a survey of some two dozen social thinkers who have sounded warnings of decline since the mid-nineteenth century, among them Tolstoy, Jacob Burckhardt, Henry and Brooks Adams, and Albert Schweitzer. Then, turning to the three greatest theorists of decline, he devotes the largest part of his book to an invaluable distillation of the monumental studies of Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee, and Pitirim Sorokin -- works of breathtaking scope and erudition. Though each of these thinkers approached his subject with the techniques of his particular discipline, the three shared a rare breadth and clarity of vision unencumbered by the ideology of progress.

Readers who feel stranded in a painful and bewildering time, who wonder about the ongoing tidal wave of social change, will find in Staring into Chaos clarification of why change is occurring and where it might lead. And more importantly, they will find reason to hope for the rebirth of the West as a culture of truth and life.

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