Christopher Dawson was one of the most profound historians of his day, with an acute understanding of the ideas and culture movements behind the making of Western society. The Movement of World Revolution, originally published in 1959, explores many of the themes Dawson considered most important in his lifetime: the religious foundation of human culture, the central importance of education for the recovery of Christian humanism, the myth of progress, and the dangers of nationalism and secular ideologies. Dawson's concern was not so much a solution to the political, social, or economic problems of his day, but rather an understanding of the present as it had evolved from the past as well as the charting of a path into the future.
In this work, Dawson argued that the modern period was "not a metaphysical age, and in the East no less than in the West men are more interested in subsistence and coexistence than in essence and existence." Dawson believed a reduction of culture to material and technological preoccupations would ultimately end in an impoverishment of life. His solution was a return to a renewed Christendom, one not marked by an alliance with secular powers but rather arising out of an organic, spiritual foundation. The Movement of World Revolution is remarkably prophetic in anticipating many of the contemporary struggles about the role of religion in the modern state.
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"With a vision and flexibility not always apparent in cultural historians, Dawson dedicates the same ample scholarship and perceptive intelligence to the West's relations with non-Western peoples in a period of violent world-wide revolution. By doing so he deepens our understanding of the changes shaking the world and widens our vision of the tasks before us. . . . This study of the movement of ideas that made Europe enables Dawson to give a far deeper and more satisfying account of the West's impact on the outside world than is possible in the usual brisk history of Western colonialism and Eastern change."--New York Times Book Review