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Civilization: The West and the Rest Hardcover – Nov 1 2011
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“[Ferguson] uses his powerful narrative talents in these pages to give the reader a highly tactile sense of history. … The author [has a] knack for making long-ago events as vivid and visceral as the evening news, for weaving anecdotes and small telling details together with a wide-angled retrospective vision” – New York Times
“A dazzling history of Western ideas” –The Economist
“Mr. Ferguson tells his story with characteristic verve and an eye for the felicitous phrase.” – Wall Street Journal
“[W]ritten with vitality and verve… a tour de force.” –Boston Globe
“This is sharp. It feels urgent. Ferguson, with a properly financially literate mind, twists his knife with great literary brio…Ferguson ends by suggesting the biggest threat is not China but ourselves – our cowardice, drawn from ignorance, even stupidity, about our past. He is right. But as he shows himself, that can be fixed.” –The Financial Times
About the Author
NIALL FERGUSON is one of Britain's most renowned historians. He is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, and a Senior Research Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the bestselling author of Paper and Iron, The House of Rothschild, The Pity of War, The Cash Nexus, Empire, Colossus, The War of the World, The Ascent of Money, and High Financier. He also writes regularly for newspapers and magazines all over the world.
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Top Customer Reviews
Not just another book trumpeting the West's superiority, Ferguson highlights the West's good luck as well as it's superior political and economic structure. He notes the West's willingness to have its killer apps downloaded by other countries, which will mean more wealth for all but also a change in the balance of power.
Like all history books, the content is filtered through the author's particular lens - in this case a right wing, British Empire loving polymath and wit - but Ferguson is thorough in supporting his thesis, confronting other historians' theories and mistakes head-on, and documenting his own views with ample political, economic and cultural references and a fair amount of humour. The prolific references range from esoteric to pop-cultural (e.g. Sid Meier's Civilization V computer game).Read more ›
The stated purpose for Dr. Ferguson's book is revealing the "six killer apps" that account for Western dominance but he strays, not infrequently, to a more general look at Western history. Case in point: while he describes medicine as "the West's most remarkable killer application" the chapter devoted to medicine spends more time examining the French revolution and subsequent imperialism than on the supposed subject of the chapter.
One of the more interesting revelations and one that Dr. Ferguson examines in greater detail is the importance of the Protestant Ethic to the West's success and the surprising widespread adoption of Christianity in Asia, particularly China. For me, this section alone was worth the price of admission.
Despite the minor shortcomings the book is attention-grabbing, readable and timely.Read more ›
Here is the list
Each ingredient has its own chapter. Ferguson then takes the reader through various historical lessons. These historic episodes help the reader understand, how these listed factors applied to western success. Some of the history will be very familiar to reader. I am also willing to bet, most readers will also discover a few new areas of history, that Ferguson uncovers.
The conclusion of the book is all about how other countries, have started to apply western methods of success. Will the rise of strong Asian economies eclipse the growth of the west?
This book should really be part one of a series. Part two could be all about how current western societies, have moved away from the six factors of economic prosperity.
One caution I may make to a prospective reader of this book. The over all theme is a somewhat Libertarian message. This will be the deciding factor, in your potential enjoyment of the book.
Most recent customer reviews
Ferguson presents a fairly good argument, but he wanders off on tangents sometimes and confuses the readerPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was the second book I have read by Niall Fergusson, a prominent economic historian. The first book of his that I read a couple of years ago was The Ascent of Money. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Santos
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 21 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 on Feb. 12 2014 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 on Feb. 7 2014 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