Among philosophers of history, Arnold Joseph Toynbee is unique in having made a profound appeal to scholars and general readers alike. His most impressive work is his twelve-volume A Study of History, which received immediate acclaim from historians and philosophers of history and afforded exciting reading to thousands who read the work through abridgements.
Toynbee, born in London on April 14, 1889, was educated at Winchester and then at Balliol College, Oxford. His academic record enabled him to be a scholar at both schools. From 1912 to 1915 he was a fellow and tutor at Balliol. Later in his life, when his scholarly activities had given him distinguished status among commentators on history, he was awarded various honorary degrees from Oxford, Birmingham, Columbia, Cambridge, and Princeton Universities.
During World War I Toynbee worked at various governmental jobs, including a period with the British Foreign Office in 1918 as a member of the staff in the political intelligence department. He was a member of the Middle Eastern Section of the British Delegation to the Peace Conference in Paris in 1919.
Having engaged in the practical application of his knowledge of Middle Eastern affairs, Toynbee returned to academic life in his position as Koraes Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language, Literature, and History at London University from 1919 to 1924. Recognition of his increasing expertise in his fields...
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McNeill, William. Arnold J. Toynbee: A Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. Written at the request of Toynbee’s son, this is the authoritative biography.
Perry, Marvin. Arnold Toynbee and the Western Tradition. New York: P. Lang, 1996. Places Toynbee’s work in the context of his time.
Thompson, Kenneth W. Toynbee’s Philosophy of World History and Politics. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985. Relies on extracts from Toynbee’s writings.
Toynbee, Arnold. Arnold Toynbee: A Selection from His Works, edited by E. W. F. Tomlin. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. Defines and clarifies key phrases used repeatedly by Toynbee.
Toynbee, Arnold. “The Way to Coexistence.” UNESCO Courier, February, 1994. A concise article.
Urban, G. R. Toynbee on Toynbee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974. Urban presents the published result of radio discussions with Toynbee.