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Worlds at War: The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West | [Anthony Pagden]

Worlds at War: The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West

In the tradition of Jared Diamond and Jacques Barzun, prize-winning historian Anthony Pagden presents a sweeping history of the long struggle between East and West, from the Greeks to the present day.

The relationship between East and West has always been one of turmoil. In this historical tour de force, a renowned historian leads us from the world of classical antiquity, through the Dark Ages, to the Crusades, Europe's resurgence, and the dominance of the Ottoman Empire, which almost shattered Europe entirely. Pagden travels from Napoleon in Egypt to Europe's carving up of the finally moribund Ottomans - creating the modern Middle East along the way - and on to the present struggles in Iraq.

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Publisher's Summary

In the tradition of Jared Diamond and Jacques Barzun, prize-winning historian Anthony Pagden presents a sweeping history of the long struggle between East and West, from the Greeks to the present day.

The relationship between East and West has always been one of turmoil. In this historical tour de force, a renowned historian leads us from the world of classical antiquity, through the Dark Ages, to the Crusades, Europe's resurgence, and the dominance of the Ottoman Empire, which almost shattered Europe entirely. Pagden travels from Napoleon in Egypt to Europe's carving up of the finally moribund Ottomans - creating the modern Middle East along the way - and on to the present struggles in Iraq.

Throughout, we learn a tremendous amount about what "East" and "West" were and are, and how it has always been competing worldviews and psychologies, more than religion or power grabs, that have fed the mistrust and violence between East and West. In Pagden's dark but provocative view, this struggle cannot help but go on.

©2008 Anthony Pagden; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"An accessible and lucid exploration of the history of the East-West split....Fans of Jacques Barzun and Jared Diamond will be most impressed by Pagden's big picture perspective." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (416 )
5 star
 (125)
4 star
 (161)
3 star
 (85)
2 star
 (30)
1 star
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Overall
3.9 (183 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (186 )
5 star
 (69)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Charles Houma, La 09-28-12
    Charles Houma, La 09-28-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    "Disappointed somewhat:"
    Would you try another book from Anthony Pagden and/or John Lee?

    Not really


    Has Worlds at War turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Details about Alexander the Great.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I am always interested in history, but I don't like his atheistic views that are so strong that it colors the historical view. He likes to attack the Bible, and not purely accurate in his charge which would make me doubt other facts that may be colored by his views. I know this is normal for college professor material. But having graduated many years ago I don't appreciate the atheistic religion that is taught along with the facts.


    Any additional comments?

    He had many details in history that was very interesting. I just don't like that haughty anti- God reiterate that make young people think that atheism is education.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg North Richmond, Australia 06-15-12
    Greg North Richmond, Australia 06-15-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Sometimes hard to follow but then so is history"
    Any additional comments?

    This is a long and complex story that is told in a long and complex way. Pagden didn't have me in mind when he was writing it I'm sure; if he did he would have used smaller words. To really understand it the way it is written would take a masters of English but never the less it's a good story and I'm glad I pushed through.... twice. Just keep a dictionary at hand if you're a literary nuffer like me.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jackifus United States 04-23-12
    jackifus United States 04-23-12 Member Since 2011

    Jack

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "misleading "history""
    Would you try another book from Anthony Pagden and/or John Lee?

    Never by Anthony Pagden ... John Lee ... certainly.


    What could Anthony Pagden have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    He could have written a history - instead of invented one.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    unfortunately, no. When a "history" book misleads - there's no redemption.


    Any additional comments?

    The issue is this: Mr. Pagden attempts to create a narrative - the West democratic and the East prone to monarchy and leader-worship. His vision is lovely: that history has been a continuous fight of the Trojan War. Unfortunately, he imposes his narrative upon the history such that he ignores facts that contradicts his desired story line. He never mentions that all histories of the Persian empire that he vilifies were written by Greeks and so shouldn't be expected to be laudatory or unbiased.

    This just isn't a history. It's a man's wishful vision of a history - in which he paints a narrative and ignores any facts that contradict it.

    If I had never read any other history of the middle-east ... I wouldn't have known that Anthony Pagden stole my money.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kyle CHARLESTON, SC, United States 04-03-12
    Kyle CHARLESTON, SC, United States 04-03-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    1
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    0
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    Story
    "Unsupported secular snarky secular commentary"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A logical framework for the story. The point of the book seemed to be a chronological drive-by ridiculing of all religious believers.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Anthony Pagden again?

    No.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The historical topic is interesting. The authors handling, incredibly poor.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The historical topic is interesting. The authors handling, incredibly poor.


    Any additional comments?

    The author assumes that you share his sense of ironic humor at all historical people and their varied beliefs. However, it doesn't make any arguments as to why that is a correct viewpoint. If you share the author's presuppositions, you may enjoy this book. It does cover an interesting historical comparison of cultures.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troy Brandon, FL, United States 03-27-12
    Troy Brandon, FL, United States 03-27-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great start but petered out"

    Pagden did an excellent job up to the French Revolution. From the French Revolution on, he lost his way and went down esoteric side roads totally ignoring the 1500 lb gorilla in the room.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tp Atlanta, GA, United States 07-19-11
    Tp Atlanta, GA, United States 07-19-11 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    "Unapologetic pitch for secularism"

    The author states his preference for secularism in a very straightforward fashion. He gives an interesting and occasionally fresh overview of the conflicts between Europe and Asia over the last 2,500 years. The focus is intensely on the philosophic or religious features of those conflicts. The last third is devoted to struggles between the cultures of what he calls the three major monotheisms. Worth the time.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Puyallup, WA, USA 08-07-09
    Brad Puyallup, WA, USA 08-07-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    4
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    "Incredible!"

    Incredible!I read from chapter to chapter, paragraph to paragraph in utter amazement. Anthony Pagden is to complimented on his writing skills...revisionism at its best!I have not seen anyone with the ability to revise history with subtlety for that he is to be complimented, for revising history he should be castigated.

    3 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donelle Dorr, MI, USA 07-14-09
    Donelle Dorr, MI, USA 07-14-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Didn't do his research in the right places"

    The author did a lot of research but I have no clue as to where he did his research about the religions of Judiasm and Christianity. His conclusions were glaringly out of touch with what Judaism & Christianity really are and what the belief concepts are as well. It sounds like he read all kinds of opinions but did not go to the source, The Bible.

    5 of 40 people found this review helpful
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