Welcome to the web site of the Will Durant Foundation, the authoritative source for information about the life, legacy and teachings of Pulitzer Prize and Medal of Freedom winning writers/philosophers/historians, Will and Ariel Durant. For over half a century the Durants have been teaching people the wonder and benefit of our human heritage.

One of the most gifted prose stylists of the 20th century, Will Durant viewed history not as a dreary succession of impersonal dates and reigns, but as taking place through human beings who loved, fought, dreamed and achieved. We at the Will Durant Foundation encourage you to explore the Durants' writings and teachings in greater detail and at your own pace.

Their books have sold millions of copies and their influence and insights are more vital today than at any other point in our history. The Durants spent over fifty years researching and writing about human behavior in their critically acclaimed eleven-volume The Story of Civilization. His first book, The Story of Philosophy (1926), is credited as the work that launched Simon & Schuster as a major publishing force and that introduced more people to the subject of philosophy than any other book before or since. In our own era, new presentations of Dr. Durant's writings (such as Heroes Of History and The Greatest Minds And Ideas Of All Time) and the concentrated lore of their audio recordings, have allowed Will and Ariel Durant to continue to speak to students, teachers, parents, children, journalists, businesspeople, intellectuals and all who hunger for a deeper meaning to existence and a more civilized approach to living and dealing with one another.

Possessed of an unparalleled insight into the human condition, the Durants brought their vast knowledge to bear on mankind's greatest issues of concern and did so in a way that was always enlightening and life affirming, revealing history to be not (as some have contended) meaningless, but the very map of human character; the best educator and guide to the present ailments of our time. As Dr. Durant wrote:

It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment. The present is merely the past rolled up and concentrated in this second of time. You, too, are your past; often your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been; because of your heredity stretching back into forgotten generations; because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. So with a city, a country, and a race; it is its past, and cannot be understood without it.

Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts - between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war. This is the more dramatic side of history; it captures the eye of the historian and the interest of the reader. But if we turn from that Mississippi of strife, hot with hate and dark with blood, to look upon the banks of the stream, we find quieter but more inspiring scenes: women rearing children, men building homes, peasants drawing food from the soil, artisans making the conveniences of life, statesmen sometimes organizing peace instead of war, teachers forming savages into citizens, musicians taming our hearts with harmony and rhythm, scientists patiently accumulating knowledge, philosophers groping for truth, saints suggesting the wisdom of love. History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks.

Welcome again to the Will Durant Foundation - your doorway to self-discovery.

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The content of this website, unless otherwise noted, is copyrighted © 2006 John Little and the Estate of Will Durant

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