I began to plan this book in the closing years of the nineteenth century. It has thus been nearly seventy years in preparation. During those years I have witnessed more vital changes in the affairs of men that had taken place in all the previous years of the history of civilization. I have seen the advent of the automobile, the airplane, radio, television, atomic power, the age of space. I have seen electric power spread across the country, industry rise to levels of production beyond nineteenth-century dreams, science and technology enjoy an almost explosive development.
I have seen old nations disappear, new nations arise, jungles give way to paved roads, cities burgeon where sleepy villages once stood. And I have seen people adapt themselves to all these changes and go right on being people, just as they have been for uncounted thousands of years.