- Reading level: 18+ years
- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (30 October 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143122061
- ISBN-13: 978-0143122067
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.4 x 21.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,28,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Civilization: The West and the Rest Paperback – 30 Oct 2012
|Paperback, 30 Oct 2012||
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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
“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)
About the Author
Niall Ferguson is one of the world's most renowned historians. He is the 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, High Financier, Civilization, The Great Degeneration, Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist, and The Square and the Tower. He is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. His many awards include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012) and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013).
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Ferguson puts forth 6 factors that led to rise of western "civilization", viz.: competition, science, property rights, consumerism, medicine and work ethic. Even those with a faint knowledge of history and a scrap of understanding can see that these six factors are not independent. For instance, after the dark ages Europe, or "The West", was introduced to science by the Persians who carried knowledge from ancient cultures of China and the Indian subcontinent; obviously Ferguson omits such points.
That Ferguson was probably drunk when he was writing this book is evidenced during his discussion on relation between Science and Religion where he claims that the State and the Church have been separate. Perhaps he forgot that Galileo was executed by the religious authorities, as was Giordano Bruno. Isaac La Peyrere was imprisoned for stating that humans must be older than Genesis implies. Scientists and free thinkers like Copernicus, Lucilio Vanini, Darwin were hounded and persecuted by religious authorities to the point of violent death; and these are just well known names.
Even halfwits should be surprised that Ferguson subtly, but not surprisingly, excludes Germans from "The West". When he occasionally glosses over West's atrocities, most were committed by Germans! But as everyone (with an iota of brain) knows, the British have committed, and continue to commit, far worse atrocities on a much grander scale throughout the world. British were responsible for about 10 million Chinese who were killed during first opium wars; at least 40 million killed during Indian occupation; about 1 million Irish killed during potato confiscation... the list goes on and on. E.g. Recently Caroline Elkins' "Imperial Reckoning" sheds light on Britain's Gulag.
This book is a pamphlet on the glory of British imperialism and an anti-German brochure. If you're truly interested in this subject, SAVE YOUR MONEY AND INSTEAD READ JARED DIAMOND'S "GUNS, GERMS and STEEL".
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