Oswald Spengler, one of the most controversial historians of the
twentieth century, was born in Blankenburg, Germany, in 1880. He
studied mathematics, philosophy, and history in Munich and Berlin.
Except for his doctor's thesis on Heraclitus, he published nothing
before the first volume of The Decline of the West, which
appeared when he was thirty-eight. The Agadir crisis of 1911
provided the immediate incentive for his exhaustive investigations
of the background and origins of our civilization. Spengler chose
his main title in 1912, finished a draft of the first volume two
years later, and published it in 1918. The second, concluding
volume was published in 1922. The Decline of the West was
first published in this country in 1926 (Vol. 1) and 1928 (Vol. 2);
this abridged edition was first published here in 1962.
For many years Spengler lived quietly in his home in Munich, thinking, writing, and pursuing his hobbies-collecting pictures and primitive weapons, listening to Beethoven quartets, and reading the comedies of Shakespeare and Moliere. He took occasional trips to the Harz Mountains and to Italy. In 1936, three weeks before his fifty-sixth birthday, he died in Munich of a heart attack.
"Provocative and often dazzling. . . . An exciting excursion
through history." -Time
"Audacious, profound . . . exciting and magnificent."
-The New Republic
"This grand panorama, this imaginative sweep, this staggering erudition, this Nietzschean prose, with its fine color and ringing force, mark a work that must endure." -The New York Sun
"With monumental learning . . . Spengler surveys man's cosmic march. . . . Always forceful . . . eloquent."
-The New York Times