The Matrix of Western Culture: Perspectives on History, the Arts, and Ideas by Arthur Wenk
According to his bio, Arthur Wenk has been a jack-of-all trades in the academic world. He has been a musicologist, calculus teacher, and psychotherapist. He has written several books and public lectures ranging from a detective book series featuring a musicologist sleuth, to lectures on graphing calculators and parenting.
His current project is very intriguing to me. This is a book looking at the different periods in history, and highlighting major cultural contributions for each period. He highlights the music, art, mathematics, and literature for each era, and includes a perspective, drawing these cultural contributions to the mindset of the people at the time.
Wenk’s beginning in Ancient history is obviously broader, as it would be difficult to break Ancient Greece or Rome into eras for a project like this. As he moves closer to modern times however, he begins to break the chapters up into centuries. One of the aspects he looks at is the connection of the many forms of art within an era; as he states it, the way artists speak to each other within the century. This is an interesting perspective and gives you another way to look at the contributions of history.
At the end of the book, he includes pictures of major pieces from each period discussed, as well as a copy of the matrix he used to outline this book. These are great additions to help you visualize what you are reading, though I think it might be better served to include the pictures with the chapters. All in all this book was both informative and interesting, and I believe it could be a useful tool for individual research. I would definitely recommend this book to someone wanting to learn about the different centuries of the past.
*I received a free copy of this book from Story Cartel in exchange for my review.*
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