Rousseau and Revolution, vol. 10 of The Story of CivilizationWill and Ariel Durant
Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction (1968).
The author/book that has inspired me the most is Will Durant's eleven volume magnum opus: The Story of Civilization. This work is one of the greatest examples of conveying the history of western civilization in a way that is intriguing, engaging, dramatic, and emotional. Durant weaves together all the great figures (good and bad) in history and humanizes them with all the complexities, emotions, and desires that make each one unique and important. His prose is elegant, his dictation is masterful and his puns are plentiful. These works have illuminated my mind, enlightened my fantasy for our potential as humans, and is possibly the greatest story ever told.