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Orville Schell…Morris is a lucid thinker and a fine writer. He uses a minimum of academic jargon and is possessed of a welcome sense of humor that helps him guide us through this grand game of history as if he were an erudite sportscaster. He shows us how different empires were boosted by periods of "axial thought" to surge up the development ladder, only to crumble upon hitting a "hard ceiling," usually inflicted by what he calls the Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse: climate change, migration, famine, epidemic and state failure.
—The New York Times