At the End of an Age John Lukacs

Publication date:
10 Sep 2003
Yale University Press
240 pages: 216 x 140mm

At the End of an Age isa deeply informed and rewarding reflection on the nature of historical and scientific knowledge. Of extraordinary philosophical, religious, and historical scope, it is the product of a great historian’s lifetime of thought on the subject of his discipline and the human condition. While running counter to most of the accepted ideas and doctrines of our time, it offers a compelling framework for understanding history, science, and man’s capacity for self-knowledge.
In this work, John Lukacs describes how we in the Western world have now been living through the ending of an entire historical age that began in Western Europe about five hundred years ago. Unlike people during the ending of the Middle Ages or the Roman empire, we can know where we are. But how and what is it that we know?

In John Lukacs’s view, there is no science apart from scientists, and all of “Science,” including our view of the universe, is a human creation, imagined and defined by fallible human beings in a historical continuum. This radical and reactionary assertion—in its way a summa ofthe author’s thinking, expressed here and there in many of his previous twenty-odd books—leads to his fundamental assertion that, contrary to all existing cosmological doctrines and theories, it is this earth which is the very center of the universe—the only universe we know and can know.

Selected by Choice as a 2003 Outstanding Academic Title

"Mr. Lukacs is one of the more incisive historians of the 20th century, and especially of the tangled events leading to World War II."?Joseph C. Goulden, Washington Times

"Perhaps no historian has a better right to take stock of our times?and of the state of historical thinking?than Lukacs. . . . A beautifully crafted and unforgettable book, one that every serious historian should read."?Choice

?At the End of an Age is a book that could be written only by a thinker who is coming toward the end of a career of extraordinary scholarship driven by a passion for taking on the really big questions. . . . The book is, at the same time, provocative and inviting, wild and disciplined, adventurous and carefully reasoned. It is hard to imagine a reader coming away from it without thinking differently about things that really matter.??First Things

?He brings to all [his writings] a Central European wit, charm, and realism.??Michael Korda, Harper?s Magazine 

?The mark of a powerful thinker is that he belongs to no party and so can offend anyone. Lukacs certainly lives up to this ideal. . . . At the End of an Age is not really a scholarly book. Lukacs does not make an argument, but rather holds forth with a series of interrelated observations. Yet as he has repeatedly proven in his previous books, he often has the intuitions of a genius. He is very much a voice worth listening to, no matter how eccentric and prickly he occasionally sounds.??Jeet Heer, National Post (Canada)

?The book is . . . a series of reflections on the theory of knowledge, both scientific and historical. . . . The author tackles weighty matters, but he is a consistently engaging writer, and some of his sly asides are among the best parts of the book.??Michael Potemra, National Review

"Like all the great historians, this Hungarian-American [Lukacs], also is a great philosopher of history. He is best known for developing his idea of 'historical consciousness' and as a historian of World War II, the Cold War and democracy in America."?John Seiler, Orange County Register (CA)


?Lukacs is an important scholar and thinker, and any serious student of history or of his writing will find At The End of an Age a revealing look at the principles and beliefs that underlie his work.??Ben Gillies, Ruminator Review

?Lukacs here asks about the philosophical underpinnings of science and history. In a series of essays on the nature of knowledge, Lukacs applies his unconnable good sense to the weighty question of man?s place in the universe.??Matthew Rose, The Weekly Standard

"Provocative. . . . Lukacs?s work provides a valuable framework for understanding the consequences of change that reorders the world and our perceptions of it."?Jim Hoagland, Washington Post

?It is always interesting when the author of an important body of work devotes a book to stating his preconceptions. From each of his previous writings we infer his assumptions relating to the particular subject; from his philosophy as a whole we receive insights that pierce down one level deeper. John Lukacs has written such a book, compact and yet explicit, and we learn what this master historian believes about history and science, about society and religion. It is a welcome and illuminating addition to the shelf of his distinguished studies.??Jacques Barzun 

?Lukacs? little book is slow reading, but it contains more than shelves of other historical works.??Booklist (Starred Review)