The Terror of History by Teofilo F. Ruiz

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Synopsis

This book reflects on Western humanity's efforts to escape from history and its terrors--from the existential condition and natural disasters to the endless succession of wars and other man-made catastrophes. Drawing on historical episodes ranging from antiquity to the recent past, and combining them with literary examples and personal reflections, Teofilo Ruiz explores the embrace of religious experiences, the pursuit of worldly success and pleasures, and the quest for beauty and knowledge as three primary responses to the individual and collective nightmares of history. The result is a profound meditation on how men and women in Western society sought (and still seek) to make meaning of the world and its disturbing history.

In chapters that range widely across Western history and culture, The Terror of History takes up religion, the material world, and the world of art and knowledge. "Religion and the World to Come" examines orthodox and heterodox forms of spirituality, apocalyptic movements, mysticism, supernatural beliefs, and many forms of esotericism, including magic, alchemy, astrology, and witchcraft. "The World of Matter and the Senses" considers material riches, festivals and carnivals, sports, sex, and utopian communities. Finally, "The Lure of Beauty and Knowledge" looks at cultural productions of all sorts, from art to scholarship.

Combining astonishing historical breadth with a personal and accessible narrative style, The Terror of History is a moving testimony to the incredibly diverse ways humans have sought to cope with their frightening history.

 

About Teofilo F. Ruiz

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Teofilo F. Ruiz is Distinguished Professor of History and of Spanish and Portuguese at UCLA. His many books include "Spain's Centuries of Crisis" and "From Heaven to Earth". In 2007, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and selected as one of UCLA's Distinguished Teachers.
 
Published September 6, 2011 by Princeton University Press. 200 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Travel, Law & Philosophy, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Terror of History

Publishers Weekly

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This unkempt, often personal book opens up a fresh and profound historical topic: how people in the West have compensated for the terrors of life: death, pain, accident, horror, and the like. But UCLA

Jun 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Terror of History

Publishers Weekly

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This unkempt, often personal book opens up a fresh and profound historical topic: how people in the West have compensated for the terrors of life: death, pain, accident, horror, and the like. But UCLA

Jun 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Terror of History

ForeWord Reviews

If there is an element missing here it is his failure to pay sufficient attention to the great mass of people who come to terms with being human early on and who don’t fret much about it afterward.

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