Books: The Great Gadfly

THE AGE OF VOLTAIRE by Will & Ariel Durant. 898 pages. Simon & Schusfer. $12.

"What industry, loquacity, pertinacity! He has something to say on nearly everything, and almost always something of still-living interest. There are here many bits of frivolity, triviality, or superficiality ... but no man can be wise through a thousand pages . . ."

Historians Will Durant, 79, and his wife Ariel, 67, are commenting on Voltaire, but this quote could also serve as a fair estimate of the Durants' own achievement in this, the ninth and penultimate volume of...

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