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Civilization: The West and the Rest | [Niall Ferguson]

Civilization: The West and the Rest

The rise to global predominance of Western civilization is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five hundred years. All over the world, an astonishing proportion of people now work for Western-style companies, study at Western-style universities, vote for Western-style governments, take Western medicines, wear Western clothes, and even work Western hours. Yet six hundred years ago the petty kingdoms of Western Europe seemed unlikely to achieve much more than perpetual internecine warfare. It was Ming China or Ottoman Turkey that had the look of world civilizations.
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Publisher's Summary

The rise to global predominance of Western civilization is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five hundred years. All over the world, an astonishing proportion of people now work for Western-style companies, study at Western-style universities, vote for Western-style governments, take Western medicines, wear Western clothes, and even work Western hours. Yet six hundred years ago the petty kingdoms of Western Europe seemed unlikely to achieve much more than perpetual internecine warfare. It was Ming China or Ottoman Turkey that had the look of world civilizations. How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed?

In Civilization: The West and the Rest, bestselling author Niall Ferguson argues that, beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts that the Rest lacked: competition, science, the rule of law, consumerism, modern medicine, and the work ethic.

©2011 Niall Ferguson (P)2011 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Thought-provoking and possibly controversial." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (776 )
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Performance
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  •  
    niall chicago, IL, United States 05-11-13
    niall chicago, IL, United States 05-11-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bigotry in a thin disguise"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Dick Cheney might enjoy it but it discounts large amounts of actual history and facts so that he can get his narrative to fit.


    What could Niall Ferguson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Keep his politics out of it. It permeates his writing.


    Any additional comments?

    Too much of the author superimposing his conclusion over cherry picked facts that suit his narrative. If you plan to read this then PLEASE make sure its not your only source for the subject in question.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay A. Cohen Santa Clara, CA USA 03-18-13
    Jay A. Cohen Santa Clara, CA USA 03-18-13 Member Since 2004

    Padre Cohen

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting POV, Unsubstantiated Speculation"

    Whether or not one agrees with Niall Ferguson, he's always interesting. "Civilization: The West and the Rest" is an entertaining look at why Western Civilization developed its preeminent world position, a look at history through different eyes. He weaves historical facts into well thought out theory. But, a few premises are too narrow to be the full truth, particularly his praise of Martin Luther who was a despicable, neurotic bigot. Still, I recommend the book because it's thought stimulating. Mr. Ferguson reads somewhat speedily, but he's one articulate man.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc-Fr WEXFORD, PA, United States 10-26-12
    Marc-Fr WEXFORD, PA, United States 10-26-12 Member Since 2008

    French professor, ebook creator, and bien d'autres choses (lots of other things). Franceinfo.us. Fan of 19th-20th Cent French & European Fiction, western thought (homer to heidegger), Rushdie, Murakami....

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not detailed enough"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I think this might be interesting for someone who knows less about western civ. The author jumps all over the map and uses examples that are not particularly well supported in detail.


    What could Niall Ferguson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I would have like a more scholarly book. This is more for the general public


    What didn’t you like about Niall Ferguson’s performance?

    He's a bit overly bubly and strident for my taste. More serious tone?


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry United States 03-09-12
    Jerry United States 03-09-12
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    "The West rapidly becoming rest?"

    While not necessarily agreeing with all of Ferguson's assumptions and paradigms, "Civilization" does an excellent job of giving the listener a context in which our current economic problems are really allowing past "Western Excellence" in what he defines as "six killer apps" entropy--by all sorts of moral decay, while other nations, are adopting those apps and making them the basis of expanding economic growth.

    Ferguson's narration and various voices of his quotations bring the book to life.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. Connelly Philadelphia, PA 01-31-12
    H. Connelly Philadelphia, PA 01-31-12 Member Since 2003

    Mojo Risen

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brits Only"

    This book is really a pro-Britain history of how they did everything. Americans are credited with little and even the French get credit for winning our revolution, "the French victory at Yorktown." The narrator was the GEICO gecko. It's OK, a 3 of 5 but did not hold up to my expectations.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JimsPenName Eagan, MN, United States 01-07-13
    JimsPenName Eagan, MN, United States 01-07-13 Member Since 2011

    JimBobBillyJoeJackJasonTom

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    "I just want to give a star rating. If you force me"
    Would you listen to Civilization again? Why?

    I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Civilization?

    I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.


    What does Niall Ferguson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.


    Any additional comments?

    I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.

    0 of 6 people found this review helpful
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