Why the West Rules--for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal about the Future / Edition 1

Why the West Rules--for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal about the Future / Edition 1

3.8 29
by Ian Morris
     
 

ISBN-10: 0374290024

ISBN-13: 9780374290023

Pub. Date: 10/12/2010

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011

Sometime around 1750, English entrepreneurs unleashed the astounding energies of steam and coal, and the world was forever changed. The emergence of factories, railroads, and gunboats propelled the West's rise to power in the nineteenth century, and the development of computers and nuclear weapons in the twentieth

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Overview

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011

Sometime around 1750, English entrepreneurs unleashed the astounding energies of steam and coal, and the world was forever changed. The emergence of factories, railroads, and gunboats propelled the West's rise to power in the nineteenth century, and the development of computers and nuclear weapons in the twentieth century secured its global supremacy. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, many worry that the emerging economic power of China and India spells the end of the West as a superpower. In order to understand this possibility, we need to look back in time. Why has the West dominated the globe for the past two hundred years, and will its power last?

Describing the patterns of human history, the archaeologist and historian Ian Morris offers surprising new answers to both questions. It is not, he reveals, differences of race or culture, or even the strivings of great individuals, that explain Western dominance. It is the effects of geography on the everyday efforts of ordinary people as they deal with crises of resources, disease, migration, and climate. As geography and human ingenuity continue to interact, the world will change in astonishing ways, transforming Western rule in the process.

Deeply researched and brilliantly argued, Why the West Rules—for Now spans fifty thousand years of history and offers fresh insights on nearly every page. The book brings together the latest findings across disciplines—from ancient history to neuroscience—not only to explain why the West came to rule the world but also to predict what the future will bring in the next hundred years.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374290023
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
10/12/2010
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
768
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction 3

PART I

1 Before East and West 39

2 The West Takes the Lead 81

3 Taking the Measure of the Past 135

PART II

4 The East Catches Up 175

5 Neck and Neck 227

6 Decline and Fall 280

7 The Eastern Age 331

8 Going Global 384

9 The West Catches Up 434

10 The Western Age 490

PART III

11 Why the West Rules ... 557

12 ...For Now 582

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Why the West Rules - For Now 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Winterlight00 More than 1 year ago
And very clearly too. Not only does he answer the question in the title convincingly, he uses it as a springboard to show us, with clear and endlessly fascinating detail, a grand overview of human social and technological development. Wonderful hard core scholarship from a true expert written so the intelligent layman can understand. A damn fine read too!
Barbu More than 1 year ago
You know you have opened a book that will force you to think when the first line is "London, April 3, 1848. Queen Victoria's head hurt. She had been kneeling with her face pressed to the wooden pier for twenty minutes." If you know your history that line alone will give you pause. And then you will read further and as you delve more into the book you will understand that the alternative history presented in the beginning of the Introduction by Ian Morris was not farfetched but a very possible alternative. The history of the West is not only the history of a region whose people grabbed the opportunities given to them but also the history of all the opportunities that were squandered by the Rest.
Frruss More than 1 year ago
To know where you are going you must know where you have been..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best summary of world history ever bounded in one book. Ian Morris provides incredible insights into the future of the West and the East. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the perfect book to buy in NOOk format. I generally like the feel of books, and the convenience of being able to flip easily to wherever you want, but the hardcover for this was bulky, making it perfect for an ereader. The book itself is absolutely fascinating and extremely on-time. Seeing the recent rise of China, and the claims that the Chinese government has been making about being an ancient civilization, etc., one can't help but wonder how this civilization came to be less developed than the US and Europe. This book provides the answer, and the answer is neither racist nor fatalistic, nor great-man focused. Climate clearly plays a big part in the explanation, but more so as part of the interaction between constraints and challenges in the environment and people's ingenuity and ability to come up with new ways of solving problems. Extreme broadness aside, each chapter brings something new and different, making it a page-turner. I highly recommend it!
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
This panoramic history is formidable reading about the comparative development of Western and Eastern civilizations. It catalogs significant archeological, scientific, and political events of 16,000 years of human history and several millennia in the life of the planet. Historian Ian Morris explains the forces that allowed Western civilization to overtake Eastern civilization and why this critical balance may now be tipping in favor of the East. This is high-quality academic scholarship: an interdisciplinary analysis, tying together esoteric facts and maps spanning geography, historical theories, paleontology, genetics, climatology, archeology and politics. Morris's book supports his detailed model comparing the development of Eastern and Western civilizations. His construct relies on recounting detailed history, analysis and comparisons. This can be challenging reading, albeit leavened by Morris's visible scholarship and entertaining style. You have to want to finish this book, but if you are a serious reader of history, getAbstract assures you that the effort has very substantial rewards - and if you are building up your ambitions, it also makes for fascinating skimming.
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