The West and the Rest
By Niall Ferguson
(Penguin Press, Hardcover, 9781594203053, 432pp.)
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
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In "Civilization: The West and the Rest, " acclaimed historian 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, modern medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic. These were the 'killer applications' that allowed the West to leap ahead of the Rest; opening global trade routes, exploiting new scientific knowledge, evolving representative government, more than doubling life expectancy, unleashing the industrial revolution, and hugely increasing human productivity. "Civilization" shows exactly how a dozen Western empires came to control three-fifths of mankind and four-fifths of the world economy.
Yet now, Ferguson argues, the days of Western predominance are numbered because the Rest have finally downloaded the six killer apps the West once monopolized - while the West has literally lost faith in itself.
Chronicling the rise and fall of empires alongside the clashes of civilizations, "Civilization" recasts world history with verve and wit. Boldly argued but also teeming with memorable characters, this is Ferguson at his very best.
Historians have long struggled to explain how the West became the preeminent political and economic force in the modern world. In Civilization, historian Niall Ferguson credits six "killer apps" and explains how China is quickly catching on â?? and catching up. More at NPR.org
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