From the May, 2001 issue of Touchstone
A Glorious Revival of History by Gerald J. Russello

A Glorious Revival of History

From Dawn to Decadence: Western Culture from 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life
by Jacques Barzun
San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2000
(877 pages; $36.00, cloth)

reviewed by Gerald J. Russello

Decadence has been a consistent theme of reflection in the West. At almost every point in Western history—even those that we now would consider high points—there have been those looking back to a supposedly higher or better past. This way of thinking is at least as old as the Greeks, who lamented the passing of the Homeric age of heroes. Oswald Spengler famously revived the idea in his Decline of the West, which remains a cl . . .


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