Book Forum

Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950

(HarperCollins, 2003)

October 28, 2003 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EST

1st floor/Wintergarden

Featuring the author Charles Murray, W.H. Brady Scholar in Culture and Freedom, American Enterprise Institute.

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Human Accomplishment is a unique account of human excellence, from the age of Homer to our own time. Employing techniques that historians have developed over the last century but have rarely applied to books written for the general public, Murray compiles inventories of the people who have been essential to the stories of literature, music, art, philosophy, and the sciences—a total of 4,002 men and women from around the world, ranked according to their eminence.

Charles Murray takes on some controversial questions: Why has accomplishment been so concentrated in Europe? Among men? Since 1400? He presents evidence that the rate of great accomplishment has been declining in the last century, asks what that means, and offers a framework for thinking about the conditions under which the human spirit has expressed itself most gloriously.