The West and the Rest

Niall Ferguson - Author

Paperback | $18.00 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9780143122067 | 432 pages | 30 Oct 2012 | Penguin | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 - AND UP
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Summary of Civilization Summary of Civilization Reviews for Civilization An Excerpt from Civilization
Western civilization’s rise to global dominance is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five centuries

How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed? Acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson argues that beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts, or “killer applications”—competition, science, the rule of law, modern medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic—that the Rest lacked, allowing it to surge past all other competitors.

Yet now, Ferguson shows how the Rest have downloaded the killer apps the West once monopolized, while the West has literally lost faith in itself. Chronicling the rise and fall of empires alongside clashes (and fusions) of civilizations, Civilization: The West and the Rest recasts world history with force and wit. Boldly argued and teeming with memorable characters, this is Ferguson at his very best.

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
List of Figures

Introduction: Rasselas’s Question

1 Competition
Two Rivers
The Eunuch and the Unicorn
The Spice Race
The Mediocre Kingdom

2 Science
The Siege
Osman and Fritz
Tanzimat Tours
From Istanbul to Jerusalem

3 Property
New Worlds
Land of the Free
American Revolutions
The Fate of the Gullahs

4 Medicine
Burke’s Prophecy
The Juggernaut of War
Médecins Sans Frontières
The Skulls of Shark Island
Black Shame

5 Consumption
The Birth of the Consumer Society
Turning Western
Ragtime to Riches
The Jeans Genie
Pyjamas and Scarves

6 Work
Work Ethic and Word Ethic
Get your Kicks
The Chinese Jerusalem
Lands of Unbelief
The End of Days?

Conclusion: The Rivals


“[W]ritten with vitality and verve… a tour de force.” — BOSTON GLOBE

"A dazzling history of Western ideas." — THE ECONOMIST

 “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

“The author boldly takes on 600 years of world events… so that the history lesson remains fresh and compelling… A richly informed, accessible history lesson.”

KIRKUS (starred)

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