BOOKS: The book that shook

BOOKS: The book that shook - 'Written with the same sensitivity and perception as The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran but with a modern edge, Theodore Zeldin's An Intimate History of Humanity provides an enlightening insight into facing personal fears and escapi

by JAMES VAILE, MD of Expedia.co.uk
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

'Written with the same sensitivity and perception as The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran but with a modern edge, Theodore Zeldin's An Intimate History of Humanity provides an enlightening insight into facing personal fears and escaping regret. My time for reading is limited, so when I pick up a book it has to grab my attention, and this timeless work captured my imagination straight away.

Drawing on many sources, Zeldin weaves a complex tapestry of human experience, charting individual mini-histories and exploring their relationship with 'the attitudes inherited from origins long forgotten'.

The chapter that shook me most probes travel, from pilgrimage to the 400 million people that now travel between continents each year. Zeldin concludes that travellers 'have been a nation of a special kind, without frontiers'. I am an obsessive travel addict and this chapter reminded me that 'just as an actor is most successful when he enters into a character and discovers something of himself in the part he plays', so the traveller can grow through experiencing different cultures.'

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