This book is the culmination of 15 years of research and travels that have taken the author completely around the world twice. Its purpose has been to try to understand the role of cultural differences within nations and between nations, today and over the centuries of history, in shaping the economic and social fates of peoples and of whole civilizations. Focusing on four major cultural areas—that of the British, the Africans (including the African Diaspora), the Slavs of Eastern Europe, and the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere—Conquests and Cultures reveals patterns that encompass not only these people but others and helps explain the role of cultural evolution in economic, social, and political development.
Thomas Sowell has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst, and other academic institutions, and his Basic Economics has been translated into six languages. He is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has been published in both academic journals and such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine, and Fortune, and he writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country.
©1998 Thomas Sowell (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Sowell writes…with grace and clarity.” (Washington Times)
“Thomas Sowell is, in my opinion, the most original and interesting philosopher at work in America. I have learned a great deal from him and his new book is full of insights and wisdom.” (Paul Johnson, author of Modern Times)
“Sowell's scholarship is evident as he examines the interplay of religion, language, education, technology, and other factors in the development of nations….this book bears comparison to Fernand Braudel's A History of Civilization. Its readable style and impressive scope make it suitable for all libraries.” (Library Journal)
I greatly admire and hold Dr. Sowell's intellect in the highest regard, that said, this book contains some glaring historical omissions and errors. Granted Dr. Sowell is an economist and observer current events par excellent, and not an historian, some of the errors regarding the plans Indian, too much, for example: Dr. Sowell blames the near extinction of the plains buffalo on the Indians, with repeating rifles on horseback. The true destruction of Buffalo was brought about by the government, The railroads, and The cattle / beef industry. The omitted; The Seminole & Creek wars, and President A. Jackson's pro-slavery (prototype Democrat), and Spanish Florida. I listened to this, the last book of the trilogy first, so I can't comment on the whole, regardless of my above comments, I still like the book overall, and learned a lot. The book was well worth my time listening to it.
F.C. Howland Jr.
Thomas Sowell explains historical events in such a way that distills the course of human events. When done listening to this book you will not only understand the world as it is but how it affects the world around us.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
Conquests and Cultures explains how warfare has helped advance culture throughout the ages. It provides excellent arguments and examples to support its message. Definitely worth listening to, but consider buying a physical copy if you can.
I'm not a big fan of history, but this was extremely interesting.
The rise and influence of the British. Very interesting!
He deserves some award. He could have narrated paint drying and I would listen.
How we got where were are today.
Very informative and backed by historical evidence.
Above average. It is so good to get a macro perspective on history. We spend so much time looking at history through a microscope and making judgments as to the right or wrong of each situation that we completely miss the good or bad of the results on society as a whole.
There were many of them relating to the long term benefits of conquests of various peoples even though the immediate effect on the conquered may have been terrible.
He reads much better than I do but beyond that, he frees the mind to think about what is being said.
It greatly broadened my perspective on history.
I'm looking forward to other Thomas Sowell books.
The reader's voice is similar to Thomas Sowell's, so it wasn't hard to imagine the author speaking it. I had encountered some of the content in other books and essays by Mr. Sowell. It might have been better to read than listen to, because some of the passages present some statistics that are hard to keep track of unless you are looking at a page.
If you don't care about why economy's collapse, this is not the book for you. If you are not a fan of history, this is not the book for you. If you, however, desire to gain a great depth of knowledge concerning how people-groups are conquered and changed this book deserves your attention.Sowell's reputation does not need to be lauded by this little known reviewer. It stands on it's on. Reading this book only enhances that reputation. He relates information that could be somewhat stale in a fast-paced entertaining way.
It may seem an odd comparison but Neil Postman's book "Technopoly" kept coming to mind at different junctures in this volume. Postman writes:
"And so two opposing world-views -- the technological and the traditional -- coexisted in uneasy tension. The technological was the stronger, of course, but the traditional was there -- still functional, still exerting influence, still too much alive to ignore,"
Sowell shows this tension repeatedly as he moves from conquest to conquest.
Robertson Dean reads with intensity bringing one into the flow of information with ease.
Understand how the world has changed, and why.
A beautiful analysis of cultures and their tendency to influence people across generations. I'd recommend this one to anyone interested in learning about how other people think and approach things
Culture matters. Geography matters. Cross pollination of ideas and inventions matter. Simple blame games are insufficient for making economic and technical progress. Sowell gives great information on how progress has been made. He has made history relevant to current issues in development and diplomacy.
This book was quite dry, exacerbated by the narrator's monotonous and emotionless voice. There is less big-picture details about conquest (though there are a handful of good ones) and much more of histories of various peoples, most of which you can learn from much better sources. There is little weaving it all together, as I was expecting.
Further, the author is incredibly biased, continually referring to those who haven't adopted the Western way as "backwards". It's incredible to me that somebody who posits to have such a handle on something as large as conquest can completely overlook the incredible environmental destruction caused by Western culture as well as its homogenization of everything. By the 20th time he's used the word "backward" with regards to a culture that in many ways could be superior to ours (though obviously not technologically), I was starting to tune out and began anticipating the end. So much culture and knowledge has been lost all around the world thanks to Western "progress", yet the author hardly mentions as much and seems to think that only materialism, consumption, environmental neglect, and soulless homogenization matter.
Finally, the conclusion spends a lot of time on race which seems out of place.
In the end, I would say you can get much better insights from authors like Jared Diamond and those similar.
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