Acknowledged as one of the greatest achievements of modern scholarship, Arnold Toynbee's A Study of History is a ten-volume analysis of the rise and fall of human civilizations. Contained in two volumes, D.C. Somervell's abridgement of this magnificent enterprise preserves the method, atmosphere, texture, and, in many instances, the very words of the original. First published in 1947 and 1957, these two volumes are themselves a great historical achievement. Volume 2, which abridges Volumes VII-X of Toynbee's study, includes sections on Universal States, Universal Churches, Heroic Ages, Contacts Between Civilizations in Space, Contacts Between Civilizations in Time, Law and Freedom in HIstory, The Prospects of the Western Civilization, and the Conclusion.
Of Somervell's work, Toynbee wrote, "The reader now has at his command a uniform abridgement of the whole book, made by a clear mind that has not only mastered the contents but has entered into the writer's outlook and purpose.
``Kennedy, a history professor at Yale, here assesses the interaction between economics and strategy over the past five centuries,'' reported PW , concluding that ``the book is a vigorous entry in the debate over the extent to which national wealth should be used for military purposes.''