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  • Published: 30 July 2024
  • ISBN: 9781761348099
  • Imprint: Penguin Random House Australia Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • RRP: $37.99
Categories:

The Soul

A History of the Human Mind




The Soul is a history of the human mind, from the earliest expression of self-consciousness to its unshakeable belief in the great religions and political systems.

Everyone thinks they have one, but nobody knows what it is.

For thousands of years the soul was an ‘organ’, an entity, something that was part of all of us, that survived the death of the body and ventured to the underworld, or to heaven or hell.

The soul could be saved, condemned, tortured, bought.

And then, mysteriously, the ‘soul’ disappeared. The Enlightenment called it the ‘Mind’. And today, neuroscientists demonstrate that the mind is the creation of the brain.

The ‘religious soul’ lives on, in the minds of the faithful, while the secular ‘soul’ means whatever you want it to mean.

In The Soul: A History of the Human Mind critically acclaimed historian Paul Ham embarks on a journey that has never been attempted: to restore the idea of the soul to the human story and to show how belief in, and beliefs arising from, the soul/mind are the engines of human history.

The Soul tells the story of the inner ‘I’, the strange essence of ourselves, and how it has been animated, immortalized, loved, armed, inflamed, enslaved, illuminated and enlightened over 250,000 years: from the dawn of self-consciousness among the earliest Sapiens to the ancient Hindu and Egyptian ideas of immortality and rebirth; from the Jewish self-conception of the ‘Chosen’ to the Ancient Chinese and Greek theories of soul; from the rise of the Christian spirit that broke the Roman Empire to the Islamic conquests and crusading Christians; from the divided souls of the Reformation to the ‘rational’ soul/mind of the Enlightenment; from the missionary spirit that harvested souls for western empires to the earliest recognition of the souls/minds of women.

We enter the dark night of the soul under totalitarian rule; contemplate the harrowing and fragmentation of the modern mind; and glimpse the rise of the synthetic spirit of artificial intelligence.

The Soul is much more than a mesmerizing narrative and uniquely accessible way of explaining the human story. It transforms our understanding of how history works. It persuasively demonstrates that the beliefs of the soul/mind are the engines of human history.

  • Published: 30 July 2024
  • ISBN: 9781761348099
  • Imprint: Penguin Random House Australia Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • RRP: $37.99
Categories:

About the author

Paul Ham

Paul Ham is the author of Hiroshima Nagasaki (2011), Vietnam: The Australian War (2007) and Kokoda (2004). Vietnam won the New South Wales Premier’s Prize for Australian History and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Prize for Non-Fiction (2008). Kokoda was shortlisted for the Walkley Award for Non-Fiction and the New South Wales Premier’s Prize for Non-Fiction.

Sandakan: The Untold Story of the Sandakan Death Marches, was published in 2012 and was shortlisted for the 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for History.
His last book was 1914: The Year The World Ended.
A former Sunday Times correspondent, with a Master’s degree in Economic History from the London School of Economics, Paul now devotes most of his time to writing history. He lives in Paris and Sydney with his family.

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Video
Paul Ham - The Soul

Paul Ham discusses his upcoming book, The Soul - https://www.penguin.com.au/books/the-soul-9780143781363 The Soul is a history of the human mind, from the earliest expression of self-consciousness to its unshakeable beliefs in the great religions and political systems.