Historical Context

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

The growth of nationalism was one of the most important developments in nineteenth- and twentieth- century Western...

(The entire section is 663 words.)

Literary Style

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Simile and Analogy
Toynbee frequently makes use of similes and analogies in which two apparently dissimilar things are compared....

(The entire section is 793 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Gargen, Edward T., ed., The Intent of Toynbee’s History, Loyola University Press, 1961, pp. 1–46.


(The entire section is 273 words.)


(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Brewin, Christopher. “Arnold Toynbee, Chatham House, and Research in a Global Context.” In Thinkers of The Twenty Years’ Crisis: Inter-War Idealism Reassessed, edited by David Long and Peter Wilson. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. The years between the two world wars have been called the “idealistic” phase of international-relations theory. This collection of essays examines works written during that period, including Toynbee’s writings, to analyze their utopian elements and to determine if “idealistic” is an accurate description.

Herman, Arthur. “Welcoming Defeat: Arnold Toynbee.” In The Idea of Decline in Western History. New York: Free Press, 1997. Herman, a program coordinator at the Smithsonian Institution, analyzes the writings of Toynbee and other intellectuals who have depicted the decline of Western civilization.

Mason, Henry. Toynbee’s Approach to World Politics. New Orleans, La.: Tulane University Press, 1958. Critical analysis of Toynbee’s political theories, including both positive and negative evaluations of his methodology. Surveys his study of international affairs. The appendix covers general reception and specific criticisms of A Study of History.

O’Hagan, Jacinta. “The Patriarchal Civilization: Arnold Toynbee’s Conception of the West.” In Conceptualizing the West in International Relations: From Spengler to Said. New York: Palgrave, 2002. Analyzes how Toynbee and thinkers such as Oswald Spengler and Edward Said have conceived of Western civilization and the role that these conceptions have played in global relations.

Perry, Marvin. Arnold Toynbee and the Western Tradition. New York: Peter Lang, 1996. Provides an explication of A Study of History, describing Toynbee’s ideas about the nature, evolution, and destiny of Western civilization. Assesses Toynbee’s intellectual importance, discusses his critics and admirers, and analyzes the relevance of his ideas at the end of the twentieth century.

Samuel, Maurice. The Professor and the Fossil: Some Observations on Arnold J. Toynbee’s “A Study of History.” New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956. Evaluates A Study of History and concludes that much of the work is meaningless, that many of Toynbee’s historical facts are inaccurate, and that purposeful omissions create a distorted picture.

Tomlin, E. W. F., ed. Introduction to Arnold Toynbee: A Selection from His Works. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. Defines and clarifies key phrases used repeatedly in A Study of History. Each selection includes the editor’s description of the work, its background, and the major principles it contains.

Compare and Contrast

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

1950s: The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union dominates the political landscape of the world.


(The entire section is 255 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Why has the West assumed such a dominant role in the world today? Is the West a force for good? If it is, why do many other countries,...

(The entire section is 223 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Journalist Robert D. Kaplan, in The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War (2000), argues that the post-Cold War...

(The entire section is 187 words.)