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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

4.1 (1498 )
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  •  
    E. Bosnic Des Moines, Iowa United States 05-18-15
    E. Bosnic Des Moines, Iowa United States 05-18-15
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    "Great momentum"

    The reader/writer don't dwell too long on any one subject or setting.
    But part of that problem is that certain settings were over too quickly.
    I just wanted more. But felt satisfied nonetheless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Max Shafer-landau 05-03-15 Member Since 2015

    KosherKowboy

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    "Well argued introduction to the "Great Divergence""

    I only wish the quoted sections weren't read in such ridiculous accents. Otherwise, terrific book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles 05-01-15
    Charles 05-01-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Engaging history"

    This is compelling in much the same was as Jared Diamond's book, which this book is, in part, a response to. The ideas are interesting and well-arranged. Ferguson's enthusiasms are infectious; they also make his reading good. The performance loses a star because the accents for quotations are sometimes pretty poorly done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Asher 04-17-15
    Asher 04-17-15
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    "Reactionary Toward Anti-Imperialism"

    This was the first title of Ferguson's that I've finished. I thought I would like his ideas more because I learned of him through Dambisa Moyo's 'Dead Aid'.

    Ultimately I found that Ferguson goes against anti-imperialist thought so strongly that he barely mentions that elements of the six "killer apps" that lead the West to succeed over "the Rest" were partly due to the immense wealth gained by western powers from their empires. I know I give myself away as a more left-leaning person with this review, but I expected this to be more even-handed than it was. His swipes against Marx and general Communism were more heavy-handed than his dealings with Hitler and the fascist leaders of history. This may be due to the way that Hitler has been described to death already, everywhere else, but it just seemed bizarre to have such heavy disdain in odd places.

    Other than showing his biases too strongly at times, Ferguson does write well, and he deals with the topic of the rise of the West, just as the subtitle says he will. I'll probably listen to another, but I'll beware of his pro-imperial tendency.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy Kaepell United States 04-14-15
    Jeremy Kaepell United States 04-14-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Poorly organized, presented, and argued"
    What would have made Civilization better?

    I agree with the overall premise of the book, and even the conclusions, but the book itself is so meandering and rambling it is a struggle to get through it. Most of the time I found myself asking, "What does this historical story or anecdote have to do with the chapter or the point he is trying to make?" He relays many historical events, which might be very interesting in their own rights, but they seem to rarely have any relevance to the subject matter at hand! Look for the Rodney Stark book on the rise and success of the West...it is much, much better.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul. MOORPARK, CA, United States 03-12-15
    Paul. MOORPARK, CA, United States 03-12-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Oh no!"

    After listening to this book, I have decided to become a Tailor and take over the world! I too at one time wore blue jeans.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie 02-09-15
    Leslie 02-09-15
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    "Excellent counter balance to "pop" history"

    Ferguson delivers on laying out the ugliness of what Western Civilization has done, from slavery to genocide to Nazism. He clearly points to factors that have given Western Civilization an edge. Often by willingly or unwillingly accepting diversity without denying its own cultural heritage. I would love to see a follow up in light of recent events.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Steve Jones Vero Beach, Fl USA 02-06-15
    Steve Jones Vero Beach, Fl USA 02-06-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Outstanding & sobering"

    Exceeded my expectations. Even though it confirmed my expectation of American collapse, it was enlightening. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Randall 01-24-15
    Randall 01-24-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Fascinating!"

    Fascinating overview of the contributing factors to the rise - and potential fall of western civilization. I found the influence of the Protestant work ethic - and the impact on saving - particularly enlightening. The impact of mechanization in clothing manufacture was interesting as well. Certainly mind expanding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    KEVIN E FARRIS Florida 01-06-15
    KEVIN E FARRIS Florida 01-06-15 Member Since 2011

    Kevin Farris

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    "A must read perspective."

    Though not immune to criticism - what non-fiction work is not - but critical reading for one that studies or want to learn of a history of civilization & some thought provoking insight into the possible future of the current systems of civilization.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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