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)
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.
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!
The liason between chpaters. Conclusion is a fabulous chapter
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.
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.
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