What to say about this ridiculous book:
I had hoped to learn something new and interesting about the trajectory of history in different parts of the world and found myself listening to a book that is one of the stupidest things ever
In a few phrases, this book is collection of Cheri picked stories weaved together with the concepts of:
A weird Defense of Colonialism
Anglo Saxon chauvinism
British imperialist supremacy and nostalgia
Anger about the forgotten benefits of colonialism to native peoples
Disregard for thoughts of other thinkers including Ghandi with Cheri picked statements
Anti immigrant and anti Muslim sentiment
And Christian supremacy
Not worth the $4.95 I spent on it.
I like this book because it is an overview style. It doesn't get mired in details, it moves along well. The narrator does a great job staying interesting. I also love how far into current history it gets.
Unfamiliar with the author before I started the book and didn't know to expect his political slant. He makes some interesting and well founded points but they're lost in a mess of self congratulatory colonial apologism, religious conservatism and Cold War Era propaganda.
This book avoids the cultural relativism and Western self-hate so prevalent these days, but instead focuses on the cultural elements and institutions that can make any civilization successful.
For every Pakistani. Can't believe it was written in 2011, and I only just found it in 2016. With so many questions and existential crises of the current day, the author paints a hopeful future and an inspiring picture of our history of this world.
Read by the author, this historical account is very Western-centric. The narrator employs accents that mimic racial stereotypes when reading quotes from figures such as Che Guevara (read like Speedy Gonzales), and claims the predominance of Western culture over the last 500 years or so is due to superior religion, politics, fashion and individualism. It's not an especially interesting take, but does shed some insight into the origins of privilege.
What is it about Western civilization that has enabled it to surpass and stay ahead of its eastern counterpart? Niall Ferguson's book attempts to answer his question but naturally a somewhat brief overview of a very complicated and complex issue is what we're left with. There are many interesting insights that Ferguson offers, however, even if one can quibble with certain conclusions he ends up drawing.
As far as the narration goes, Ferguson is very good but whoever does the voice for Bolivar, Freud, and the assorted other national icon manages to butcher the accent of just about all of them.
Wonderful look at ourselves
Could not stop listening
Sad when it ended
The story was interesting but the narration was so strange! Overall, the author himself did a fantastic job but frequently someone else pops in to do quotes with such strange, obviously fake, accents that it is really distracting and leaves you feeling bounced around a bit (and mocked, if you have one of the accents he was trying to imitate)
I wanted to like this book after listening to an interview of the author on Jon Batchelor's podcast. It starts with some big ideas and then spirals into countless granular level incidents that do little more than fill space, providing little substance or insights.
The annoying, hokey accents of historical figures made the narration grating. I wanted to like the book, but advise not bothering.