In the tradition of his own bestselling masterpieces The Story of Civilization and The Lessons of History, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Will Durant here traces the lives and ideas of those who have helped to define civilization, from its dawn to the beginning of the modern world. Four years before his death, Will Durant began work on an abbreviated version of his highly acclaimed eleven-volume series, The Story of Civilization. The project was conceived as a series of audio lectures, but Durant soon realized that the dialogues could be developed into a book that would serve as a wonderfully readable introduction to the subject of history. Durant completed twenty-one of a proposed twenty-three chapters before his death in 1981, at the age of ninety-six. Those chapters span thousands of years of human history -- from Confucius to Shakespeare, from the Roman Empire to the Reformation, finally ending in the eighteenth century. The manuscript was recently found by Will Durant scholar John Little -- twenty years after Durant finished it -- and its discovery is a major event, not only for lovers of his prose, but for students of history and philosophy the world over. Heroes of History is a book of life-enhancing wisdom and optimism, complete with Durant's wit, knowledge, and unique ability to explain events and ideas in simple, exciting terms. It is the lessons of our heritage passed on for the edification and benefit of future generations -- a fitting legacy from America's most beloved historian and philosopher. Will Durant's popularity as America's favorite teacher of history and philosophy remains undiminished by time. His books are accessible to readers of every kind, and his unique ability to compress complicated ideas and events into a few pages without ever "talking down" to the reader, enhanced by his memorable wit and a razor-sharp judgment about men and their motives, made all of his books huge bestsellers. Heroes of History carries on this tradition of making scholarship and philosophy understandable to the general reader, and making them good reading, as well. At the dawn of a new millennium and the beginning of a new century, nothing could be more appropriate than this brilliant book that examines the meaning of human civilization and history and draws from the experience of the past the lessons we need to know to put the future into context and live in confidence, rather than fear and ignorance. Will Durant's work is marked by his own special quality as a writer -- he is tough-minded, optimistic, courageous, and convinced that without a knowledge of the past there is no wisdom to guide us to the future. Heroes of History was his last word on the subject, and much of it has been aimed directly at the doubts and fears of people today. It is a major, and unexpected, literary and historical event. This book is also available on audio tape and CD format, read by Will and Ariel Durant.