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Upon its publication, George Seldes's The Great Thoughts instantly took its place as a classic--a treasure house of the seminal ideas that have shaped the intellectual history of the world down through the ages.  Seldes, a pivotal figure in the history of American journalism and a tireless researcher, spent the better part of his extraordinary lifetime compiling the thoughts that rule the world, casting his net widely and wisely through the essential works of philosophy, poetry, psychology, economics, politics, memoirs, and letters from the ancient Greeks to the modern Americans.

Now Seldes's splendid and important work has been revised and updated to include the great thoughts that have changed our world in the decade since the book's first appearance.  Quotations from leaders as varied as Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Yitzak Rabin, Newt Gingrich, and Jesse Jackson reflect the radical shifts in the world political scene.  Toni Morrison and Cornel West speak out on the enduring vitality of African-American culture.  Alvin Toffler and Arthur C. Clarke give us a glimpse into the future.  Gloria Steinem and Monique Wittig define the motives and the goals of late twentieth-century feminism.  Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, and Wallace Stegner ponder the meaning of wilderness in an increasingly populated and industrialized world.  These and scores of other thinkers in all major disciplines have added their voices to this new edition of The Great Thoughts.

USA Today praised the first edition of The Great Thoughts as "a browser's delight."  The work of a lifetime, brought up-to-date to reflect the global upheaval of the past decade, The Great Thoughts stands alone as an enduring achievement and an invaluable resource.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345404282
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/21/1996
Edition description: REVISED
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 636,428
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

George Seldes was one of the great muckraking journalists and the author of twenty books, including Witness to a Century.  He began his career as a cub reporter for The Pittsburgh Leader, rose to international correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, and founded his own newspaper, dedicated to the truth.  

George Seldes died at the age of 104 in July 1995.

Read an Excerpt

"...for liberals, black people are to be "included" and "integrated" into "our" society and culture, while for conservatives they are to be "well behaved" and "worthy of acceptance" by "our" way of life. Both fail to see that the presence and predicaments of black people are neither additions to nor defections from American life, but rather constitutive elements of that life .
--Cornel West Race Matters

"Our society forces boys, insofar as it can, to grow up, to endure the pains of growth, to educate themselves to work, to move on. Why aren't girls forced to grow up--to achieve somehow the core of self that will end the unnecessary dilemma, the mistaken choice between femaleness and humanness that is implied in the feminine mystique?"
--Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

"We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do  language. That may be the measure of our lives."
--Toni Morrison

"Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that what have  you had?"
--Henry James, The Ambassadors

"Sex had everything to do with violence, that was true, and marriage was at once a container for the madness between men and women and a fragile hedge against it, as religion was to death, and the laws of physics to the immense quantity of utter emptiness of which the universe was made. But there was nothing at all safe about marriage. It was a doubtful enterprise, a voyage in an untested craft, across a hostile ocean, with a map that was a forgery and with no particular destination but the grave."
--Michael Chabon, "House Hunting"

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Great Thoughts 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
wenestvedt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is all quotes from major historical figures, which I found very useful in high school for use in history papers. Not just "religion is the opiate of the masses"-type stuff, but also more obscure and longer quotes. Not all are uplifting or affirming, either: there are lines from some villians, too, which broadens the book's appeal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first found an earlier edition of this book about 15 years ago at a local secondhand bookstore, I realized that I had found a valuable resource. George Selddes has compiled quotes from as far back as pre-biblical times. I can only hope that further updated editions will continue to be avaiilable even though Seldes himself is no longer alive to see it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book could be equally used as a reference source,as an excellent book to browse, or a book to read cover to cover. It is edited down and includes almost every great thinker worth quoting. The two exceptions to people not covered in this book are Shakespeare and Jesus. There are dozens of sources to find out what Shakespeare said and there is much controversy over what Jesus actually did or did not say. I reccommend this book to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has helped my Debate team so much because it has provided many quotations that have helped us in our debate rounds! I recommend it!