I have more than 2,000 books in my library, and I cherish none more than this great compendium of Western intellectual thought.
The book has 102 chapters, covering every imaginable topic under the sun: such as Justice, War, Peace, Liberty, Freedom, Sin, the World, Intellect, Knowledge, and dozens more. Each chapter is about five pages, two columns each, of dense thought expressed throughout the ages -- from Plato through James, from Homer through Tolstoy, from Copernicus through Einstein -- highlighting the best that ever has been imagined or thought.
The author synthesizes the great and important ideas arising over the eras, taking no sides, but expositing the different and divergent ideas these great thinkers committed to writing for posterity's benefit. It's like reading the whole library of the Great Books of Western Civilization in a thematic, rather than, serialized, manner.
I've grown accustomed to reading a chapter a day, and then rereading these chapters as ideas pop up in other contexts. In these chapters I find such disparate sages as Jane Austin, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Aquinas, Descartes, Aristotle, Darwin, and everyone else who has something to contribute. This tome is truly encyclopeadic and catholic in scope and reference.
If I had the time and the means, I would read these original sources for myself and develop a card catalogue of the massive resources for the mere pleasure of knowledge for its own sake. But as time doesn't permit such a rigorous endeavor, I find Adler's synthesis to be the next best thing.
This book will be a great resource for the whole family, especially adults and adolescents just beginning their studies. It will be of great value to those of college-level, where many students are bereft of these great ideas, cast aside for more "politically correct" authors and ideas. This book is a suitable bromide against the myopia of modernity and its tendencies toward nihilism. Above all, it is the best that has ever been thought or said.