Naill was an excellent narrator! the book to me was entertaining more than educational due the influence of Nassim Taleb on my thinking involving the legitimacy of any historical arguments of causation made after the fact.
The reader/writer don't dwell too long on any one subject or setting.
But part of that problem is that certain settings were over too quickly.
I just wanted more. But felt satisfied nonetheless.
I only wish the quoted sections weren't read in such ridiculous accents. Otherwise, terrific book.
This is compelling in much the same was as Jared Diamond's book, which this book is, in part, a response to. The ideas are interesting and well-arranged. Ferguson's enthusiasms are infectious; they also make his reading good. The performance loses a star because the accents for quotations are sometimes pretty poorly done.
This was the first title of Ferguson's that I've finished. I thought I would like his ideas more because I learned of him through Dambisa Moyo's 'Dead Aid'.
Ultimately I found that Ferguson goes against anti-imperialist thought so strongly that he barely mentions that elements of the six "killer apps" that lead the West to succeed over "the Rest" were partly due to the immense wealth gained by western powers from their empires. I know I give myself away as a more left-leaning person with this review, but I expected this to be more even-handed than it was. His swipes against Marx and general Communism were more heavy-handed than his dealings with Hitler and the fascist leaders of history. This may be due to the way that Hitler has been described to death already, everywhere else, but it just seemed bizarre to have such heavy disdain in odd places.
Other than showing his biases too strongly at times, Ferguson does write well, and he deals with the topic of the rise of the West, just as the subtitle says he will. I'll probably listen to another, but I'll beware of his pro-imperial tendency.
I agree with the overall premise of the book, and even the conclusions, but the book itself is so meandering and rambling it is a struggle to get through it. Most of the time I found myself asking, "What does this historical story or anecdote have to do with the chapter or the point he is trying to make?" He relays many historical events, which might be very interesting in their own rights, but they seem to rarely have any relevance to the subject matter at hand! Look for the Rodney Stark book on the rise and success of the West...it is much, much better.
After listening to this book, I have decided to become a Tailor and take over the world! I too at one time wore blue jeans.
Ferguson delivers on laying out the ugliness of what Western Civilization has done, from slavery to genocide to Nazism. He clearly points to factors that have given Western Civilization an edge. Often by willingly or unwillingly accepting diversity without denying its own cultural heritage. I would love to see a follow up in light of recent events.
Exceeded my expectations. Even though it confirmed my expectation of American collapse, it was enlightening. I highly recommend this book.
Fascinating overview of the contributing factors to the rise - and potential fall of western civilization. I found the influence of the Protestant work ethic - and the impact on saving - particularly enlightening. The impact of mechanization in clothing manufacture was interesting as well. Certainly mind expanding.