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Arnold J. Toynbee

Historian Arnold J. Toynbee

Profession: Historian


Biography: Economic historian noted for his social commitment.

Toynbee was perhaps the world’s most read and discussed scholar in the 1940s and 1950s producing a large number of papers and presentations.

He is best known for his 12-volume "A Study of History" (1934–61), which studied the rise and fall of 26 civilizations and concluded that how they responded to challenges was key to their success or failure.

His work though lost favor among both the general public and scholars by the 1960s, due to the religious and spiritual outlook that permeates most of his work.

Thus Toynbee's work has been seldom read or cited in recent decades.

Born: April 14, 1889
Birthplace: London, England

Generation: Lost Generation
Star Sign: Aries

Died: October 22, 1975 (aged 86)

Historical Events

  • 1947-03-17 Arnold J. Toynbee appears on the front cover of Time magazine

Quotes by Arnold J. Toynbee

  • "Some historians hold that history ... is just one damned thing after another." - History
  • "Of the twenty or so civilizations known to modern Western historians, all except our own appear to be dead or moribund, and, when we diagnose each case, in extremis or post mortem, we invariably find that the cause of death has been either War or Class or some combination of the two." - Civilization
  • "The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play." - Work Life Balance, Work

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