×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Power and Greed: A Short History of the World
     

Power and Greed: A Short History of the World

by Philippe Gigantes
 

See All Formats & Editions

What is it that has driven human beings throughout history? This controversial book deals with the nature of human greed and the eternal quest for power that, in every era and culture, has determined why world events happened as they did.

Philippe Gigantes takes the reader on a hairraising journey through time, introducing the great rule-makers for a just society -

Overview

What is it that has driven human beings throughout history? This controversial book deals with the nature of human greed and the eternal quest for power that, in every era and culture, has determined why world events happened as they did.

Philippe Gigantes takes the reader on a hairraising journey through time, introducing the great rule-makers for a just society -- such as Moses, Solon, Jesus and Muhammad -- and the rule-breakers, or the 'Grand Acquisitors'. It is the latter who use every means fair and foul to acquire more than their share of both power and wealth -- from the warring chieftains of early societies to the so-called robber barons of the nineteenth century and, in our own times, the emergence of the superpower states. Gigantes focuses on the dramatic consequences of their actions for civilization, from crusades and revolutions to cataclysmic wars, recent events in the United States and a world that is turning into a global village.

This exciting and illuminating view of world history challenges historical orthodoxy and shows why we have failed to benefit from the lessons of history. Accessible to both historians and general readers, it gives an insight into today's headlines and points the way to a more civilized future.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
According to Gigantes, an author and former assistant to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the history of the world can be told as the story of greedy and power-hungry conquests. In spite of the efforts of leaders like Jesus or Buddha or Solon to offer principles of structure and order to societies, history has been shaped, he argues, by Grand Acquisitors who have broken society's rules in order to gain power. Gigantes first offers brief sketches of the rule-makers: among them are Moses, who introduced the 10 Commandments, Solon, who introduced democratic principles, and Jesus, who introduced the radical rule of forgiveness. Then the author briefly surveys history's Grand Acquisitors, ranging from the Roman empress Agrippina (who manipulated her husband, the emperor Claudius, and her son, Nero, in her quest to rule) to the conquest of Latin America by Cort s and Pizarro, to what he views as today's corporate exploitation of postcolonial countries. Gigantes discusses the Crusades as an example of the greedy desires of the Christian Church to expunge all heretical sects and to maintain power over the known world. While the book contains interesting moments, Gigantes's thesis that insatiable greed and unquenchable thirst for power underlie all of history does not offer an especially new way of reading world events. Better, more detailed sketches of his rule-makers and his Grand Acquisitors can be found elsewhere (in Anthony A. Barrett's Agrippina, for example). Gigantes provides no startling new insights into why this way of thinking is any more helpful than other ways of reading history. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Powerful people have done-and will probably always do-bad things to accumulate more power and riches and opportunities for sex: that's the not-very-startling thesis of this bite-sized history of the world. After declaring that history is fun, former Canadian public official, journalist, and academic Gigantès proceeds to prove the opposite as he writes dreary section after dreary section, beginning with Moses and ending with the ongoing "Irish problem." In what might better have been subtitled World History for Dummies, Gigantès assumes his readers know nothing. He tells us that Jesus was born about 2,000 years ago, that Nero and Caligula were not Boy Scouts, that the historical Richard III does not much resemble Shakespeare's villain, that Cortés and Pizarro killed lots of innocent people, that the US has not solved its social problems, that Hitler "will be remembered as a monster," that Communism didn't work. Worse, he seems unable to find a fresh phrase anywhere. We read of craws with things stuck in them, of nuggets of wisdom, of ticking bombs. Gigantès does try to come up with a catchphrase: "grand acquisator." He acknowledges that "acquisator" is not really a word, but he likes it, so he uses it throughout to describe the most rapacious of human beings. Among them are Napoleon and Hitler-both of whom, he reveals, launched disastrous invasions of Russia. He also tweaks his American neighbors to the south, reminding us that for all our posturing about human rights, we still have corrosive civil-rights problems of our own, especially with Native Americans and African-Americans. And he believes, as expressed in yet another hackneyed phrase, that the "one faint beacon of hope" for thefuture is . . . the European Community, which has, he announces, decided that cooperation is better than world war. Old news in stale language-not a happy combination.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781841195537
Publisher:
Constable & Robinson Limited
Publication date:
01/01/2002
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews