With purposeful brevity and intellectual liveliness Philippe Gigantes examines the progress of humanity through the centuries, and behind every critical event, in every culture and every era, he finds repeatedly the same two driving forces—omnivorous human greed and the quenchless thirst for power. In an engaging journey through four millennia Gigantes focuses first on the great rule-makers of history—Moses, Plato, Solon, Jesus, the Brahmans, the Buddha, Lao-tzu, Confucius, and Muhammad—who by the first century A.D. had laid down virtually all the principles that advance a fair and just society. Gigantes then revisits the sometimes destructive deeds and often amazing accomplishments of history’s ruthless rule-breakers. These Grand Acquisitors, as Gigantes calls them, range from the warring chieftains of tribal societies to the robber barons of the nineteenth century and superpower nations of the twentieth. With a kind of historical inevitability, the actions of these dynamic acquisitors result in crusades and jihads, in revolutions and long, bloody military conflicts, in two world wars and catastrophic terrorist attacks. Defying historical orthodoxy, Gigantes argues that we humans have continually failed to benefit from the lessons of our own history. And we continue to invest power in politically and economically greedy acquisitors. In the reasons why, Gigantes hopes we cannot only gain further insight into what lies behind today’s news headlines but also realize the means to a more civilized future.
About Philippe Gigantes
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Published July 23, 2002
by Carroll & Graf.