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Book: Hardcover | 152 x 229mm | 432 pages | ISBN 9781594203053 | 01 Nov 2011 | The Penguin Press | 18 - AND UP
Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson is Herzog Professor of Financial History at the Stern School of Business, New York University.  He is also a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.  His books for Penguin include The Pity of War, The Cash Nexus, Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World and War of the World.


Visit the War of the World page.

CIVILIZATION

THE WEST AND THE REST

Niall Ferguson

From one of our most renowned historians, Civilization is the definitive history of Western civilization's rise to global dominance-and the "killer applications" that made this improbable ascent possible.

The rise to global predominance of Western civilization is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five hundred years. All over the world, an astonishing proportion of people now work for Western-style companies, study at Western-style universities, vote for Western-style governments, take Western medicines, wear Western clothes, and even work Western hours. Yet six hundred years ago the petty kingdoms of Western Europe seemed unlikely to achieve much more than perpetual internecine warfare. It was Ming China or Ottoman Turkey that had the look of world civilizations. How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed?

In Civilization: The West and the Rest, bestselling author Niall Ferguson argues that, beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts that the Rest lacked: competition, science, the rule of law, consumerism, modern medicine, and the work ethic. These were the "killer applications" that allowed the West to leap ahead of the Rest, opening global trade routes, exploiting newly discovered scientific laws, evolving a system of representative government, more than doubling life expectancy, unleashing the Industrial Revolution, and embracing a dynamic work ethic. Civilization shows just how fewer than a dozen Western empires came to control more than half of humanity and four fifths of the world economy.

Yet now, Ferguson argues, the days of Western predominance are numbered-not because of clashes with rival civilizations, but simply because the Rest have now downloaded the six killer apps we once monopolized-while the West has literally lost faith in itself.

Civilization does more than tell the gripping story of the West's slow rise and sudden demise; it also explains world history with verve, clarity, and wit. Controversial but cogent and compelling, Civilization is Ferguson at his very best.

“[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


List of Illustrations
List of Maps
List of Figures
Preface

Introduction: Rasselas’s Question

1 Competition
Two Rivers
The Eunuch and the Unicorn
The Spice Race
The Mediocre Kingdom

2 Science
The Siege
Micrographia
Osman and Fritz
Tanzimat Tours
From Istanbul to Jerusalem

3 Property
New Worlds
Land of the Free
American Revolutions
The Fate of the Gullahs

4 Medicine
Burke’s Prophecy
The Juggernaut of War
Médecins Sans Frontières
The Skulls of Shark Island
Black Shame

5 Consumption
The Birth of the Consumer Society
Turning Western
Ragtime to Riches
The Jeans Genie
Pyjamas and Scarves

6 Work
Work Ethic and Word Ethic
Get your Kicks
The Chinese Jerusalem
Lands of Unbelief
The End of Days?

Conclusion: The Rivals

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Niall Ferguson is Herzog Professor of Financial History at the Stern School of Business, New York University.  He is also a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.  His books for Penguin include The Pity of War, The Cash Nexus, Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World and War of the World.


Visit the War of the World page.

About the BookAdditional FormatsNiall Ferguson
Praise

“[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 ...

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