Best Arthur Herman books

How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It

Arthur Herman

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An exciting account of the origins of the modern world

Who formed the first literate society? Who invented our modern ideas of democracy and free market capitalism? The Scots. As historian and author Arthur Herman reveals, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Scotland made crucial contributions to science, philosophy, literature, education, medicine, commerce, and politics—contributions that have formed and nurtured the modern West ever since.

Herman has charted a fascinating journey across the centuries of Scottish history. Here is the untold story of how John Knox and the Church of Scotland laid the foundation for our modern idea of democracy; how the Scottish Enlightenment helped to inspire both the American Revolution and the U.S. Constitution; and how thousands of Scottish immigrants left their homes to create the American frontier, the Australian outback, and the British Empire in India and Hong Kong.

How the Scots Invented the Modern World reveals how Scottish genius for creating the basic ideas and institutions of modern life stamped the lives of a series of remarkable historical figures, from James Watt and Adam Smith to Andrew Carnegie and Arthur Conan Doyle, and how Scottish heroes continue to inspire our contemporary culture, from William “Braveheart” Wallace to James Bond.

And no one who takes this incredible historical trek will ever view the Scots—or the modern West—in the same way again.

The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization

Arthur Herman

Best price for this book: $ 9.59

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Arthur Herman has now written the definitive sequel to his New York Times bestseller, How the Scots Invented the Modern World, and extends the themes of the book—which sold half a million copies worldwide—back to the ancient Greeks and forward to the age of the Internet. The Cave and the Light is a magisterial account of how the two greatest thinkers of the ancient world, Plato and Aristotle, laid the foundations of Western culture—and how their rivalry shaped the essential features of our culture down to the present day.
 
Plato came from a wealthy, connected Athenian family and lived a comfortable upper-class lifestyle until he met an odd little man named Socrates, who showed him a new world of ideas and ideals. Socrates taught Plato that a man must use reason to attain wisdom, and that the life of a lover of wisdom, a philosopher, was the pinnacle of achievement. Plato dedicated himself to living that ideal and went on to create a school, his famed Academy, to teach others the path to enlightenment through contemplation.
 
However, the same Academy that spread Plato’s teachings also fostered his greatest rival. Born to a family of Greek physicians, Aristotle had learned early on the value of observation and hands-on experience. Rather than rely on pure contemplation, he insisted that the truest path to knowledge is through empirical discovery and exploration of the world around us. Aristotle, Plato’s most brilliant pupil, thus settled on a philosophy very different from his instructor’s and launched a rivalry with profound effects on Western culture.
 
The two men disagreed on the fundamental purpose of the philosophy. For Plato, the image of the cave summed up man’s destined path, emerging from the darkness of material existence to the light of a higher and more spiritual truth. Aristotle thought otherwise. Instead of rising above mundane reality, he insisted, the philosopher’s job is to explain how the real world works, and how we can find our place in it. Aristotle set up a school in Athens to rival Plato’s Academy: the Lyceum. The competition that ensued between the two schools, and between Plato and Aristotle, set the world on an intellectual adventure that lasted through the Middle Ages and Renaissance and that still continues today.
 
From Martin Luther (who named Aristotle the third great enemy of true religion, after the devil and the Pope) to Karl Marx (whose utopian views rival Plato’s), heroes and villains of history have been inspired and incensed by these two master philosophers—but never outside their influence.
 
Accessible, riveting, and eloquently written, The Cave and the Light provides a stunning new perspective on the Western world, certain to open eyes and stir debate.

Praise for The Cave and the Light
 
“A sweeping intellectual history viewed through two ancient Greek lenses . . . breezy and enthusiastic but resting on a sturdy rock of research.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“Examining mathematics, politics, theology, and architecture, the book demonstrates the continuing relevance of the ancient world.”Publishers Weekly
 
“A fabulous way to understand over two millennia of history, all in one book.”Library Journal
 
“Entertaining and often illuminating.”The Wall Street Journal


From the Hardcover edition.

1917: Lenin, Wilson, and the Birth of the New World Disorder

Arthur, PhD Herman

Best price for this book: $ 19.49

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This is the story of two men, and the two decisions, that transformed world history in a single tumultuous year, 1917: Wilson’s entry into World War One and Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution. 

 

In April 1917 Woodrow Wilson, champion of American democracy but also segregation; advocate for free trade and a new world order based on freedom and justice; thrust the United States into World War One in order to make the “world safe for democracy”—only to see his dreams for a liberal international system dissolve into chaos, bloodshed, and betrayal. 

 

That October Vladimir Lenin, communist revolutionary and advocate for class war and “dictatorship of the proletariat,” would overthrow Russia’s earlier democratic revolution that had toppled the all-power Czar, all in the name of liberating humanity—and instead would set up the most repressive totalitarian regime in history, the Soviet Union.

 

In this incisive, fast-paced history, New York Times bestselling author Arthur Herman brilliantly reveals how Lenin and Wilson rewrote the rules of modern geopolitics. Through the end of World War I, countries only marched into war to increase or protect their national interests.  After World War I, countries began going to war over ideas.  Together Lenin and Wilson unleashed the disruptive ideologies that would sweep the world, from nationalism and globalism to Communism and terrorism, and that continue to shape our world today. 

 

Our New World Disorder is the legacy left by Wilson and Lenin, and their visions of the perfectibility of man. One hundred years later, we still sit on the powder keg they first set the detonator to, through war and revolution.  

 

Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II

Arthur Herman

Best price for this book: $ 11.58

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • SELECTED BY THE ECONOMIST AS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Remarkable as it may seem today, there once was a time when the president of the United States could pick up the phone and ask the president of General Motors to resign his position and take the reins of a great national enterprise. And the CEO would oblige, no questions asked, because it was his patriotic duty.
 
In Freedom’s Forge, bestselling author Arthur Herman takes us back to that time, revealing how two extraordinary American businessmen—automobile magnate William Knudsen and shipbuilder Henry J. Kaiser—helped corral, cajole, and inspire business leaders across the country to mobilize the “arsenal of democracy” that propelled the Allies to victory in World War II.
 
“Knudsen? I want to see you in Washington. I want you to work on some production matters.” With those words, President Franklin D. Roosevelt enlisted “Big Bill” Knudsen, a Danish immigrant who had risen through the ranks of the auto industry to become president of General Motors, to drop his plans for market domination and join the U.S. Army. Commissioned a lieutenant general, Knudsen assembled a crack team of industrial innovators, persuading them one by one to leave their lucrative private sector positions and join him in Washington, D.C. Dubbed the “dollar-a-year men,” these dedicated patriots quickly took charge of America’s moribund war production effort.
 
Henry J. Kaiser was a maverick California industrialist famed for his innovative business techniques and his can-do management style. He, too, joined the cause. His Liberty ships became World War II icons—and the Kaiser name became so admired that FDR briefly considered making him his vice president in 1944. Together, Knudsen and Kaiser created a wartime production behemoth. Drafting top talent from companies like Chrysler, Republic Steel, Boeing, Lockheed, GE, and Frigidaire, they turned auto plants into aircraft factories and civilian assembly lines into fountains of munitions, giving Americans fighting in Europe and Asia the tools they needed to defeat the Axis. In four short years they transformed America’s army from a hollow shell into a truly global force, laying the foundations for a new industrial America—and for the country’s rise as an economic as well as military superpower.
 
Featuring behind-the-scenes portraits of FDR, George Marshall, Henry Stimson, Harry Hopkins, Jimmy Doolittle, and Curtis LeMay, as well as scores of largely forgotten heroes and heroines of the wartime industrial effort, Freedom’s Forge is the American story writ large. It vividly re-creates American industry’s finest hour, when the nation’s business elites put aside their pursuit of profits and set about saving the world.

Praise for Freedom’s Forge
 
“A rambunctious book that is itself alive with the animal spirits of the marketplace.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“A rarely told industrial saga, rich with particulars of the growing pains and eventual triumphs of American industry . . . Arthur Herman has set out to right an injustice: the loss, down history’s memory hole, of the epic achievements of American business in helping the United States and its allies win World War II.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Magnificent . . . It’s not often that a historian comes up with a fresh approach to an absolutely critical element of the Allied victory in World War II, but Pulitzer finalist Herman . . . has done just that.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


From the Hardcover edition.

To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World

Arthur Herman

Best price for this book: $ 6.57

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To Rule the Waves tells the extraordinary story of how the British Royal Navy allowed one nation to rise to a level of power unprecedented in history. From the navy's beginnings under Henry VIII to the age of computer warfare and special ops, historian Arthur Herman tells the spellbinding tale of great battles at sea, heroic sailors, violent conflict, and personal tragedy -- of the way one mighty institution forged a nation, an empire, and a new world.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

Douglas MacArthur: American Warrior

Arthur Herman

Best price for this book: $ 10.11

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A new, definitive life of an American icon, the visionary general who led American forces through three wars and foresaw his nation’s great geopolitical shift toward the Pacific Rim—from the Pulitzer Prize finalist and bestselling author of Gandhi & Churchill

Douglas MacArthur was arguably the last American public figure to be worshipped unreservedly as a national hero, the last military figure to conjure up the romantic stirrings once evoked by George Armstrong Custer and Robert E. Lee. But he was also one of America’s most divisive figures, a man whose entire career was steeped in controversy. Was he an avatar or an anachronism, a brilliant strategist or a vainglorious mountebank? Drawing on a wealth of new sources, Arthur Herman delivers a powerhouse biography that peels back the layers of myth—both good and bad—and exposes the marrow of the man beneath.

MacArthur’s life spans the emergence of the United States Army as a global fighting force. Its history is to a great degree his story. The son of a Civil War hero, he led American troops in three monumental conflicts—World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Born four years after Little Bighorn, he died just as American forces began deploying in Vietnam. Herman’s magisterial book spans the full arc of MacArthur’s journey, from his elevation to major general at thirty-eight through his tenure as superintendent of West Point, field marshal of the Philippines, supreme ruler of postwar Japan, and beyond. More than any previous biographer, Herman shows how MacArthur’s strategic vision helped shape several decades of U.S. foreign policy. Alone among his peers, he foresaw the shift away from Europe, becoming the prophet of America’s destiny in the Pacific Rim.

Here, too, is a vivid portrait of a man whose grandiose vision of his own destiny won him enemies as well as acolytes. MacArthur was one of the first military heroes to cultivate his own public persona—the swashbuckling commander outfitted with Ray-Ban sunglasses, riding crop, and corncob pipe. Repeatedly spared from being killed in battle—his soldiers nicknamed him “Bullet Proof”—he had a strong sense of divine mission. “Mac” was a man possessed, in the words of one of his contemporaries, of a “supreme and almost mystical faith that he could not fail.” Yet when he did, it was on an epic scale. His willingness to defy both civilian and military authority was, Herman shows, a lifelong trait—and it would become his undoing. Tellingly, MacArthur once observed, “Sometimes it is the order one disobeys that makes one famous.”

To capture the life of such an outsize figure in one volume is no small achievement. With Douglas MacArthur, Arthur Herman has set a new standard for untangling the legacy of this American legend.

Praise for Douglas MacArthur

“This is revisionist history at its best and, hopefully, will reopen a debate about the judgment of history and MacArthur’s place in history.”New York Journal of Books

“Unfailingly evocative . . . close to an epic . . . More than a biography, it is a tale of a time in the past almost impossible to contemplate today as having taken place, with MacArthur himself as a figure perhaps too remote to understand, but all the more important to encounter.”The New Criterion

“With Douglas MacArthur: American Warrior, the prolific and talented historian Arthur Herman has delivered an expertly rendered, compulsively readable account that does full justice to MacArthur’s monumental achievements without slighting his equally monumental flaws.”Commentary


From the Hardcover edition.

Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator

Arthur Herman

Best price for this book: $ 10.85

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A re-interpretation of one of the most hated figures in American history shows that many of McCarthy's general suspicions about security risks and communist infiltration did have a basis in truth.

The Idea of Decline in Western History

Arthur Herman

Best price for this book: $ 35

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Looks at individuals associated with theories of the West's decline, and discusses the impact these theories have on the way we view modern problems, including the environment and race relations

Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age

Arthur Herman

Best price for this book: $ 9.99

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In this fascinating and meticulously researched book, bestselling historian Arthur Herman sheds new light on two of the most universally recognizable icons of the twentieth century, and reveals how their forty-year rivalry sealed the fate of India and the British Empire.

They were born worlds apart: Winston Churchill to Britain’s most glamorous aristocratic family, Mohandas Gandhi to a pious middle-class household in a provincial town in India. Yet Arthur Herman reveals how their lives and careers became intertwined as the twentieth century unfolded. Both men would go on to lead their nations through harrowing trials and two world wars—and become locked in a fierce contest of wills that would decide the fates of countries, continents, and ultimately an empire. Here is a sweeping epic with a fascinating supporting cast, and a brilliant narrative parable of two men whose great successes were always haunted by personal failure—and whose final moments of triumph were overshadowed by the loss of what they held most dear.

What Life Was Like: At Empire's End : Austro-Hungarian Empire Ad 1848-1918

Arthur Herman

Best price for this book: $ 30

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Describes life in the Austro-Hungarian empire during the second half of the nineteenth century, exploring the culture of the capital city of Vienna and discussing events leading to the break-up of the empire after World War I.