The Lessons of History

This historical essay updates, corrects and further explains the Durants’ previous Story of Civilization series, offering insights into some of its major themes, events and characters. Originally written in 1968, this book predicts that “a generation of peace” would lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1969, President Richard Nixon began a peace initiative which led to a nuclear arms treaty with the Soviets and an opening of diplomatic talks with China. Almost exactly a generation later, the Soviet Union fell.