Books: An Intimate History of Humanity
Why I am recommending this book:
It is fascinating and important to inquire into what makes us human and why we do the things we do. Different people with different experiences from different eras are studied in an attempt by the author to begin to understand the history of emotions and social customs.
This groundbreaking book by an internationally renowned historian and prolific author is so wide-ranging in scope that categorizing the various issues and audiences it seeks to address would be difficult. Implicit in Zeldin's work is a challenge to traditional historians who have heretofore pigeonholed their accounts of the human past into discrete cubicles (social, economic, political history, etc.). By contrast, Zeldin attempts a history of human thoughts and feelings unfettered by considerations of historical epoch or culture. Each chapter focuses on a particular thought or feeling, such as toil, the art of conversation, voluntarism, compassion, attitudes on class and social status, and authority. To organize his ideas, Zeldin employs a masterful new technique. After introducing each chapter with a personal vignette based on interviews he has conducted with individuals musing on the meaning of some aspect of their lives, Zeldin traces changes or commonalities in that feeling across time and place. General readers will be inspired by this thought-provoking and immensely readable work.