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The Discoverers


The history of man's greatest adventures

Audience Grades 9-12; used in Classical Conversations communities in Challenge IV
Accessibility Most students will require minimal guidance
Preparation None required
Ease of Use Regular print; easy to read
Author Daniel J. Boorstin
Page Count 768
Format Perfect bound; paperback
Publication Date 1985

General Description

Perhaps the greatest book by one of our greatest historians, The Discoverers is a volume of sweeping range and majestic interpretation. To call it a history of science is an understatement; this is the story of how humankind has come to know the world, however incompletely.

Daniel J. Boorstin first describes the development of time--"the first grand discovery"--and continues through a study of earth and the seas, of nature, and of society. The approach is idiosyncratic, with Boorstin lingering over particular figures and accomplishments rather than rushing on to the next set of names and dates.

Boorstin asks (and answers) questions such as: Why didn't the Chinese "discover" Europe and America? Why didn't the Arabs circumnavigate the planet? His thesis about discovery ultimately turns on what he calls "illusions of knowledge." If we think we know something, then we face an obstacle to innovation. The great discoverers, Boorstin shows, dispel the illusions and reveal something new about the world.