Civilization: The Six Ways the West Beat the Rest

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9781846142734: Civilization: The Six Ways the West Beat the Rest
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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; 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.

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Review:

Ferguson is the most brilliant British historian of his generation ... he writes with splendid panache (The Times)

One of the world's leading historians (Hamish McRae Independent)

Civilization is another masterpiece ... a pulsing energy suffuses his account [and] fascinating facts burst like fireworks on every page (Dominic Lawson Sunday Times)

This is sharp. It feels urgent. Ferguson, with a properly financially literate mind, twists his knife with great literary brio (Andrew Marr Financial Times)

A dazzling history of Western ideas (Economist)

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, a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. He has written fourteen books, including The House of Rothschild, Empire, The War of the World, The Ascent of Money, The Great Degeneration and Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist. His many prizes 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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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780143122067: Civilization: The West and the Rest

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ISBN 10: 0143122061 ISBN 13: 9780143122067
Publisher: Penguin Books, 2012
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9780141987934: Civilization: The West and the Rest

Penguin, 2018
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9780141044583: Civilization: The Six Killer Apps of Western Power

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9781846144561: Civilization: The West and the Rest

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