Angels and ages: a short book about Lincoln, Darwin, and modern life

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Publisher:
Alfred A. Knopf,
Pub. Date:
2009.
Language:
English
Description
On a memorable day in human history, February 12, 1809, two babies were born an ocean apart: Abraham Lincoln in a one-room Kentucky log cabin; Charles Darwin on an English country estate. It was a time of backward-seeming notions, when almost everyone still accepted the biblical account of creation as the literal truth and authoritarianism as the most natural and viable social order. But by the time both men died, the world had changed: ordinary people understood that life on earth was a story of continuous evolution, and the Civil War had proved that a democracy could fight for principles and endure. And with these signal insights much else had changed besides. Together, Darwin and Lincoln had become midwives to the spirit of a new world, a new kind of hope and faith.Searching for the men behind the icons of emancipation and evolution, Adam Gopnik shows us, in this captivating double life, Lincoln and Darwin as they really were: family men and social climbers; ambitious manipulators and courageous adventurers; the living husband, father, son, and student behind each myth. How do we reconcile Lincoln, the supremely good man we know, with the hardened commander who wittingly sent tens of thousands of young soldiers to certain death? Why did the relentlessly rational Darwin delay publishing his “Great Idea” for almost twenty years? How did inconsolable grief at the loss of a beloved child change each man? And what comfort could either find—for himself or for a society now possessed of a sadder, if wiser, understanding of our existence? Such human questions and their answers are the stuff of this book.Above all, we see Lincoln and Darwin as thinkers and writers—as makers and witnesses of the great change in thought that marks truly modern times: a hundred years after the Enlightenment, the old rule of faith and fear finally yielding to one of reason, argument, and observation not merely as intellectual ideals but as a way of life; the judgment of divinity at last submitting to the verdicts of history and time. Lincoln considering human history, Darwin reflecting on deep time—both reshaped our understanding of what life is and how it attains meaning. And they invented a new language to express that understanding. Angels and Ages is an original and personal account of the creation of the liberal voice—of the way we live now and the way we talk at home and in public. Showing that literary eloquence is essential to liberal civilization, Adam Gopnik reveals why our heroes should be possessed by the urgency of utterance, obsessed by the need to see for themselves, and endowed with the gift to speak for us all.
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ISBN:
9780307270788
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Grouped Work ID f7567e19-496f-4c9b-eda3-046d2e20c506
full_title angels and ages a short book about lincoln darwin and modern life
author gopnik adam
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-08-14 05:04:35AM

Solr Details

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author Gopnik, Adam.
author_display Gopnik, Adam
available_at_arlington Aurora Hills, Central
collection_arlington Adult Nonfiction
detailed_location_arlington Aurora Hills Adult Nonfiction, Central Adult Nonfiction
display_description On February 12, 1809, two men were born an ocean apart: Abraham Lincoln in a one-room Kentucky log cabin; Charles Darwin on an English country estate. Each would see his life's work inspire a stark change in mankind's understanding of itself. In this bicentennial twin portrait, Adam Gopnik shows how these two giants, who never met, altered the way we think about death and time--about the very nature of earthly existence.
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itype_arlington Hardback
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literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_arlington 973.7092 GOPNI
owning_library_arlington Arlington Public Library, Aurora Hills, Central, Cherrydale, Columbia Pike, Connection Crystal City, Detention Center, Glencarlyn, Local History, Plaza, Shirlington, Westover
owning_location_arlington Aurora Hills, Central
primary_isbn 9780307270788
publishDate 2009
record_details ils:.b13090215|Book|Books|1st ed.|English|Alfred A. Knopf,|2009.|211 p. ; 24 cm.
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subject_facet Civilization, Modern, Liberalism, Naturalists -- England -- Biography, Presidents -- United States -- Biography
title_display Angels and ages : a short book about Lincoln, Darwin, and modern life
title_full Angels and ages : a short book about Lincoln, Darwin, and modern life / Adam Gopnik
title_short Angels and ages :
title_sub a short book about Lincoln, Darwin, and modern life