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
"Thought-provoking and possibly controversial." (Library Journal)
Dick Cheney might enjoy it but it discounts large amounts of actual history and facts so that he can get his narrative to fit.
Keep his politics out of it. It permeates his writing.
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.
This might well be a fantastic book. And I really tried hard to get through it. Niall Ferguson's voice didn't even bother me at first. But as I went on, his reading style grated on my nerves more and more until I finally had to just turn it off. And this never happens to me. Narrators (even bad ones) tend to grow on me as I listen. I'll be returning it.
I know people either love or hate Ferguson. I am in the former camp. I have read most of his books and find them to be very captivating. I think he is one of the best revisionist conservative history writers today.
Haven't seen the print version
The author is an expert in contextualizing developments in the world's cultures in light of their contacts or lack thereof with adjoining or distant cultures, While my college text books gave lip service to the tea road and spice as the driver for western exploration, Ferguson goes the extra mile and a half to provide the cross cultural drivers and inhibitors on all sides. A repeated theme appears; great cultures grow, become entrenched and ossified by their commercial and/or clerical leadership and become vulnerable to outside more flexible models. Japan stagnated under severe hierarchal limits and suspicion of the unknown, China should have controled all of southeast asia, but eschewed naval and territorial expansion by close-minded decree, Britain treated all subject peoples as tools, failing to recognize human value ans aspiration. Each great power carried the seed of its demise in its basic assumptions.
I started listening to Civilization in the car. I bought it last minute as I was about to drive a 9 hour car trip. Within the first 45 minutes I thought I had made a mistake. The tagline "The West and the Rest" reeks of pop culture, and the author sets out to make these grand statements which sound almost like propaganda in their presentation. As I listened I found myself asking "what about (moment in history)" or "that doesn't explain (relevant history icon)" while the author made his points. I was incredibly surprised when, like he could hear me, the author began shooting down my exceptions to his argument. By hour 4, I was enthralled. I still winced every time he managed to get "The West and the Rest" out in context or when quotations all had to be said with appropriate foreign accents, but the ideas and arguments more than made up for it. Brilliant!
Yes. History is the best predictor of the future and this book lays it out perfectly.
None can compare to this one.
Best narrator ever! He really makes it come to life!
Yes. It really makes you stop and think about what's about to happen to Western civilization. History will repeat itself!
This is, by far, the best book and narrator I've experienced in my 65 years on the planet. It needs to have the widest possible exposure!
Different world perspective
Blue jeans. You need to listen to the book to get this.
The too little told story of the German genocide in Namibia.
Anyone interested in world history would enjoy this book immensely.
Personality: Intellectually Driven
The author give a very good explanations of how the western culture became to be, working very well with the intricate links of history. Some opinions where not worth giving but informative after all. Very recommended for the globalist in you!
This book, along with Guns Germs and Steel, Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, and The Human Web, can pretty well educate you as to exactly why things are the way they are. If we in the West want to stay prosperous and safe, we'll do well to pay attention to the "Killer Apps" that Ferguson talks about in the book and to jettison most of the silly stuff of which our political discourse seems to consist of these days.
I both read and listened to the book. It's not a particularly easy listen as you'll encounter lots of unfamiliar names,and some mind expanding vocabulary useage. But it's well worth the effort.
This book is non-fiction. Some of the historical persons discussed are indeed "characters" but none were made up (to my knowledge).
Excellent overview of the rise and global influence of Western Civilization on the globe. From an array of disparate European tribes, the west rose and became global colonial powers. The influence on business, music, clothing, etc. is very broad and evident around the world.
The west continues to have global influence, but, interestingly, some of the factors that contributed to our prominence have begun to ebb in the west while being embraced elsewhere.
Western Civilization - Global Civilization
Just a fantastic thoughtful book with excellent narration - a true gem
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