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Civilization Audiobook

Civilization: The West and the Rest

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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

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  •  
    Y. 06-01-13
    Y. 06-01-13
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    "one side of the story..."

    this is a rather patronizing eurocentric view of history. there is nothing particularly unique in the ascendancy of western civilization. Just as the Babylonian, Egyptian, Indian and Chinese civilizations of the past flowered, reached their peaks then declined, so too will western civilization decline and be replaced by another.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paulo Stanford, CA, United States 05-24-13
    Paulo Stanford, CA, United States 05-24-13 Member Since 2012
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    "To understand where we are"
    What made the experience of listening to Civilization the most enjoyable?

    This is a great book, emotionally narrated that helps understanding where we are and why and what comes next. Six apps is what it took for the West to take an unforeseen advantage over much more developed civilizations. But as with almost everything, the current stance is just that, a period in the history; the odds might (will?) change. Nial Fergusson is a passionate historian that helps the reader to connect the dots and bring to a new level of understanding of our common past. A must!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The liason between chpaters. Conclusion is a fabulous chapter


    Have you listened to any of Niall Ferguson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pete 05-17-13
    Pete 05-17-13
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    "Fascinating Insight into Western Civ"
    Any additional comments?

    This book is a fascinating examination of western civilization: its origins, strengths, and weaknesses. As Ferguson sees it, western cultures developed "6 killer applications" that allowed them to succeed as empires. While one might not agree with each and every assertion that Ferguson makes, this book will no doubt stimulate discussion and consideration of these factors. What's more this book does a very nice job taking the history out of the history book and making it relevant to modern events as well as an eye toward the future. This book is well written and interesting. I recommend it for anyone interested in history as well as the intersection of historical processes with current events.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    niall chicago, IL, United States 05-11-13
    niall chicago, IL, United States 05-11-13 Member Since 2009
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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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 05-08-13
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 05-08-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Unbearable narration"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 05-03-13
    Jennifer 05-03-13
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    "It's Niall Ferguson"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bruce TALLAHASSEE, FL, United States 05-02-13
    bruce TALLAHASSEE, FL, United States 05-02-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Better than any of the lectures I took in college!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Civilization to be better than the print version?

    Haven't seen the print version


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Isaiah Cooper 04-09-13
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    "This book altered my perception of history."

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Larry Crestview, FL, United States 03-18-13
    Larry Crestview, FL, United States 03-18-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Best ever!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. History is the best predictor of the future and this book lays it out perfectly.


    What other book might you compare Civilization to and why?

    None can compare to this one.


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

    Best narrator ever! He really makes it come to life!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes. It really makes you stop and think about what's about to happen to Western civilization. History will repeat itself!


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Waunakee, WI, United States 03-18-13
    Cheryl Waunakee, WI, United States 03-18-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Another monumental work by Ferguson"
    If you could sum up Civilization in three words, what would they be?

    Different world perspective


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Blue jeans. You need to listen to the book to get this.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The too little told story of the German genocide in Namibia.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone interested in world history would enjoy this book immensely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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