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How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity

How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity

Hardback

By (author) Rodney Stark

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  • Publisher: Isi Books
  • Format: Hardback | 432 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 230mm x 44mm | 780g
  • Publication date: 17 March 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Wilmington
  • ISBN 10: 1610170857
  • ISBN 13: 9781610170857
  • Illustrations note: black & white tables
  • Sales rank: 57,981

Product description

Modernity developed only in the West--in Europe and North America. Nowhere else did science and democracy arise; nowhere else was slavery outlawed. Only Westerners invented chimneys, musical scores, telescopes, eyeglasses, pianos, electric lights, aspirin, and soap. The question is, Why? Unfortunately, that question has become so politically incorrect that most scholars avoid it. But acclaimed author Rodney Stark provides the answers in this sweeping new look at Western civilization. How the West Won demonstrates the primacy of uniquely Western ideas--among them the belief in free will, the commitment to the pursuit of knowledge, the notion that the universe functions according to rational rules that can be dis--covered, and the emphasis on human freedom and secure property rights. Taking readers on a thrilling journey from ancient Greece to the present, Stark challenges much of the received wisdom about Western his--tory. How the West Won shows, for example:Why the fall of Rome was the single most beneficial event in the rise of Western civilizationWhy the "Dark Ages" never happenedWhy the Crusades had nothing to do with grabbing loot or attacking the Muslim world unprovokedWhy there was no "Scientific Revolution" in the seventeenth centuryWhy scholars' recent efforts to dismiss the importance of battles are ridiculous: had the Greeks lost at the Battle of Marathon, we probably would never have heard of Plato or AristotleStark also debunks absurd fabrications that have flourished in the past few decades: that the Greeks stole their culture from Africa; that the West's "discoveries" were copied from the Chinese and Muslims; that Europe became rich by plundering the non-Western world. At the same time, he reveals the woeful inadequacy of recent attempts to attribute the rise of the West to purely material causes--favorable climates, abundant natural resources, guns and steel. How the West Won displays Rodney Stark's gifts for lively narrative history and making the latest scholarship accessible to all readers. This bold, insightful book will force you to rethink your understanding of the West and the birth of modernity--and to recognize that Western civilization really has set itself apart from other cultures.

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Author information

Rodney Stark is the award-winning author of The Victory of Reason, The Rise of Christianity, God's Battalions, and many other books. He serves as Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University, USA. Before earning his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, Stark was a staff writer for several major publications.

Review quote

Praise for Rodney Stark "Stark has a vigorous prose style and a gift for clear explanation. The pace is swift, and the narrative thrilling." --"New York Times" "Fun to read, full of anecdote and incident . . . Mr. Stark is especially adept at challenging received ideas." --"Wall Street Journal" "Stark proves himself once again as a historical myth-buster." --CBN.com "Rodney Stark turns what we 'know' about history on its head." --"Relevant Magazine" "Stimulating and provocative . . . Deftly researched." --"Publishers Weekly""" "Fresh, blunt, and highly persuasive." --"Newsweek" "Gripping, with tales of courage and desperation, outsized characters, and fate of cultures hanging in the balance . . . Masterful . . . Sets the record straight." --"National Catholic Register" "Wonderfully readable prose and politically incorrect conclusions." --"World Magazine" "[Stark's] works are an encouraging corrective to the anti-Western history routinely taught in our schools." --"New Oxford Review" "Compelling reading, adding depth and coherence to the often nebulous hyperbole of historical hypotheses. Highly recommended."--"Library Journal"