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)
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.
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