An original history of man's greatest adventure: his search to discover the world around him. In the compendious history, Boorstin not only traces man's insatiable need to know, but also the obstacles to discovery and the illusion that knowledge can also put in our way. Covering time, the earth and the seas, nature and society, he gathers and analyzes stories of the man's profound quest to understand his world and the cosmos.
In Boorstin's 1983 bestseller The Discoverers , the achievements of Galileo, Columbus, Darwin, Gutenberg and Freud emerged as upwellings of creativity and courage, ingenious acts of revolt against ingrained habit. This richly illustrated two-volume edition reveals the world as known to the discovers themselves. We see the tools of discovery--Egyptian obelisks, early clocks, Leeuwenhoek's microscope, Mercator's maps, botanical drawings from James Cook's voyages--and glimpse the social, cultural and political background, made concrete in 550 pictures including paintings, sculpture, engravings and architecture. A photograph of 15th-century cast bronze type from Korea underscores an Eastern invention that could have changed the course of printing, perhaps of science and culture. In a feast for the mind and eye, itself a delightful adventure in discovery, Boorstin, librarian of Congress emeritus, profiles--and places in context--scores of innovators who broke with dogma and tradition.