Arnold Joseph Toynbee (1889–1975) was a British historian. His most famous work, A Study of History, was published in twelve volumes between 1934 and 1961 and traces the development of about two dozen civilizations. In it, Toynbee famously posits world history as a succession of civilizations rather than states, that these civilizations pass through stages of development, and that the demise of civilizations owes to moral or religious failures rather than external ones.