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This title has been nominated for "Daily Telegraph" Books of the Year. If in the year 1411 you had been able to circumnavigate the globe, you would have been most impressed by the dazzling civilizations of the Orient. The Forbidden City was under construction in Ming Beijing; in the Near East, the Ottomans were closing in on Constantinople. By contrast, England would have struck you as a miserable backwater ravaged by plague, bad sanitation and incessant war. The other quarrelsome kingdoms of Western Europe - Aragon, Castile, France, Portugal and Scotland - would have seemed little better. As for fifteenth-century North America, it was an anarchic wilderness compared with the realms of the Aztecs and Incas. The idea that the West would come to dominate the Rest for most of the next half millennium would have struck you as wildly fanciful. And yet it happened. What was it about the civilization of Western Europe that allowed it to trump the outwardly superior empires of the Orient? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues, was that the West developed six "killer applications" that the Rest lacked: competition, science, democracy, medicine, consumerism and the work ethic. The key question today is whether or not the West has lost its monopoly on these six things. If so, Ferguson warns, we may be living through the end of Western ascendancy. "Civilization" takes readers on their own extraordinary journey around the world - from the Grand Canal at Nanjing to the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul; from Machu Picchu in the Andes to Shark Island, Namibia; and, from the proud towers of Prague to the secret churches of Wenzhou. It is the story of sailboats, missiles, land deeds, vaccines, blue jeans and Chinese Bibles. It is the defining narrative of modern world history.
This is the worst book that I had come across in the last 6 months. (I read about 10 books in the last 6 months). Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amos Tin
great historical reading. He really lays down the reasons for why the West is dominant rather than the East. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Byron Dueck
Just wish I could remember the details! I heard Ferguson interviewed on CBC and was impressed with his knowledge, but one can't help wondering how long the current primary players... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Anne Stewart
Great, well written book- Very interesting and easy to understand. Niall Ferguson is well versed in this topic- a real expertPublished on July 12 2013 by LarryH
Civilization by Neil Fergson was an excellent read for an overview of the past 500 years.
Only problem I had with the book was that I almost had the feeling he thinks Jews... Read more
A bit of a warning in this book-- things are changing and the west is in a confidence and world view crisis. We are taking an axe to our roots.Published on March 12 2013 by Kevin
How does he do it! Civilization: The West and the Rest. How can one authour in one book provide such an intesting, readble and imaginative review of the history of the world. Read morePublished on Dec 5 2012 by James Gillies
Niall Ferguson takes the reader across the globe, tracking the rise of Western civilization in a thorough, yet accesible manner. Read morePublished on Aug. 26 2012 by Jack Dashwood
The problem with TV-series-driven writing is the blurring of priorities. I had a hard time pinpointing what was I not enjoying about this undoubtedly well written book. Read morePublished on July 22 2012 by Vlad Thelad