Divine Fury

Divine Fury
Title Divine Fury PDF eBook
Author Darrin M. McMahon
Publisher Basic Books
Pages 362
Release 2013-10-22
Genre History
ISBN 0465069916

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Genius. With hints of madness and mystery, moral license and visionary force, the word suggests an almost otherworldly power: the power to create, to divine the secrets of the universe, even to destroy. Yet the notion of genius has been diluted in recent times. Today, rock stars, football coaches, and entrepreneurs are labeled 'geniuses,' and the word is applied so widely that it has obscured the sense of special election and superhuman authority that long accompanied it. As acclaimed historian Darrin M. McMahon explains, the concept of genius has roots in antiquity, when men of prodigious insight were thought to possess -- or to be possessed by -- demons and gods. Adapted in the centuries that followed and applied to a variety of religious figures, including prophets, apostles, sorcerers, and saints, abiding notions of transcendent human power were invoked at the time of the Renaissance to explain the miraculous creativity of men like Leonardo and Michelangelo. Yet it was only in the eighteenth century that the genius was truly born, idolized as a new model of the highest human type. Assuming prominence in figures as varied as Newton and Napoleon, the modern genius emerged in tension with a growing belief in human equality. Contesting the notion that all are created equal, geniuses served to dramatize the exception of extraordinary individuals not governed by ordinary laws. The phenomenon of genius drew scientific scrutiny and extensive public commentary into the 20th century, but it also drew religious and political longings that could be abused. In the genius cult of the Nazis and the outpouring of reverence for the redemptive figure of Einstein, genius achieved both its apotheosis and its Armageddon. The first comprehensive history of this elusive concept, Divine Fury follows the fortunes of genius and geniuses through the ages down to the present day, showing how -- despite its many permutations and recent democratization -- genius remains a potent force in our lives, reflecting modern needs, hopes, and fears.

A Meaningful World

A Meaningful World
Title A Meaningful World PDF eBook
Author Benjamin Wiker
Publisher InterVarsity Press
Pages 257
Release 2009-09-20
Genre Religion
ISBN 0830874305

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Meaningful or meaningless? Purposeful or pointless? When we look at nature, whether at our living earth or into deepest space, what do we find? In stark contrast to contemporary claims that the world is meaningless, Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt reveal a cosmos charged with both meaning and purpose. Their journey begins with Shakespeare and ranges through Euclid's geometry, the fine-tuning of the laws of physics, the periodic table of the elements, the artistry of ordinary substances like carbon and water, the intricacy of biological organisms, and the irreducible drama of scientific exploration itself. Along the way, Wiker and Witt fashion a robust argument from evidence in nature, one that rests neither on religious presuppositions nor on a simplistic view of nature as the best of all possible worlds. In their exploration of the cosmos, Wiker and Witt find all the challenges and surprises, all of the mystery and elegance one expects from a work of genius.

The Invention of Humanity

The Invention of Humanity
Title The Invention of Humanity PDF eBook
Author Siep Stuurman
Publisher Harvard University Press
Pages 672
Release 2017-02-20
Genre History
ISBN 0674977513

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For much of history, strangers were seen as barbarians, seldom as fellow human beings. The notion of common humanity had to be invented. Drawing on global thinkers, Siep Stuurman traces ideas of equality and difference across continents and civilizations, from antiquity to present-day debates about human rights and the “clash of civilizations.”


Title Madness PDF eBook
Author Roy Porter
Publisher OUP Oxford
Pages 256
Release 2003-03-13
Genre Medical
ISBN 0191622281

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This fascinating story of madness reveals the radically different perceptions of madness and approaches to its treatment, from antiquity to the present day. Roy Porter explores what we really mean by 'madness', covering an enormous range of topics from witches to creative geniuses, electric shock therapy to sexual deviancy, psychoanalysis to prozac. The origins of current debates about how we define and deal with insanity are examined through eyewitness accounts of those treating patients, writers, artists, and the mad themselves.

Rethinking Modern European Intellectual History

Rethinking Modern European Intellectual History
Title Rethinking Modern European Intellectual History PDF eBook
Author Darrin M. McMahon
Publisher Oxford University Press
Pages 318
Release 2014-03
Genre History
ISBN 0199769230

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This book is a collection of essays by leading practitioners of modern European intellectual history, reflecting on the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of the field. The essays each attempt to assess their respective disciplines, giving an account of their development and theoretical evolution, while also reflecting on current problems, challenges, and possibilities.


Title Happiness PDF eBook
Author Darrin M. McMahon
Publisher Grove Press
Pages 572
Release 2006
Genre History
ISBN 9780802142894

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An intellectual history of man's most elusive yet coveted goal. Today, we think of happiness as a natural right, but people haven't always felt this way. Historian McMahon argues that our modern belief in happiness is a recent development, the product of a revolution in human expectations carried out since the eighteenth century. He investigates that fundamental transformation by synthesizing two thousand years of politics, culture, and thought. In ancient Greek tragedy, happiness was considered a gift of the gods. During the Enlightenment men and women were first introduced to the novel prospect that they could--in fact should--be happy in this life as opposed to the hereafter. This recognition of happiness as a motivating ideal led to its consecration in the Declaration of Independence. McMahon then shows how our modern search continues to generate new forms of pleasure, but also, paradoxically, new forms of pain.--From publisher description.

In the Hurricane's Eye

In the Hurricane's Eye
Title In the Hurricane's Eye PDF eBook
Author Nathaniel Philbrick
Publisher Penguin
Pages 384
Release 2018-10-16
Genre History
ISBN 0698153227

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "Nathaniel Philbrick is a masterly storyteller. Here he seeks to elevate the naval battles between the French and British to a central place in the history of the American Revolution. He succeeds, marvelously."--The New York Times Book Review The thrilling story of the year that won the Revolutionary War from the New York Times bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Mayflower. In the concluding volume of his acclaimed American Revolution series, Nathaniel Philbrick tells the thrilling story of the year that won the Revolutionary War. In the fall of 1780, after five frustrating years of war, George Washington had come to realize that the only way to defeat the British Empire was with the help of the French navy. But coordinating his army's movements with those of a fleet of warships based thousands of miles away was next to impossible. And then, on September 5, 1781, the impossible happened. Recognized today as one of the most important naval engagements in the history of the world, the Battle of the Chesapeake—fought without a single American ship—made the subsequent victory of the Americans at Yorktown a virtual inevitability. A riveting and wide-ranging story, full of dramatic, unexpected turns, In the Hurricane's Eye reveals that the fate of the American Revolution depended, in the end, on Washington and the sea.