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Why the West Rules--For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal about the Future

Why the West Rules--For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal about the Future

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By (author) Ian Morris

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  • Publisher: St Martin's Press
  • Format: Paperback | 768 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 208mm x 30mm | 816g
  • Publication date: 25 October 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0312611692
  • ISBN 13: 9780312611699
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 274,599

Product description

A "New York Times" Notable Book for 2011 Sometime around 1750, English entrepreneurs unleashed the astounding energies of steam and coal, and the world was forever changed. The emergence of factories, railroads, and gunboats propelled the West's rise to power in the nineteenth century, and the development of computers and nuclear weapons in the twentieth century secured its global supremacy. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, many worry that the emerging economic power of China and India spells the end of the West as a superpower. In order to understand this possibility, we need to look back in time. Why has the West dominated the globe for the past two hundred years, and will its power last? Describing the patterns of human history, the archaeologist and historian Ian Morris offers surprising new answers to both questions. It is not, he reveals, differences of race or culture, or even the strivings of great individuals, that explain Western dominance. It is the effects of geography on the everyday efforts of ordinary people as they deal with crises of resources, disease, migration, and climate. As geography and human ingenuity continue to interact, the world will change in astonishing ways, transforming Western rule in the process. Deeply researched and brilliantly argued, "Why the West Rules--for Now "spans fifty thousand years of history and offers fresh insights on nearly every page. The book brings together the latest findings across disciplines--from ancient history to neuroscience--not only to explain why the West came to rule the world but also to predict what the future will bring in the next hundred years.

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Author information

IAN MORRIS is Willard Professor of Classics and History at Stanford University. He has published ten scholarly books, including, most recently, "The Dynamics of Ancient Empires," and has directed excavations in Greece and Italy. He lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California.

Review quote

"Morris is a lucid thinker and a fine writer. . .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." --Orville Schell, "The New York Times Book Review ""An excellent and amusing survey of the last [fifty] thousand years or so of human history."--Jane Smiley, "The Washington Post""The greatest nonfiction book written in recent times."--"The Business Standard""A pathbreaking work that lays out what modern history should look like....Entertaining and plausibly argued."--Harold James, "Financial Times" (London)"In an era when cautious academics too often confine themselves to niggling discussions of pipsqueak topics, it is a joy to see a scholar take a bold crack at explaining the vast sweep of human progress. . .Readers of "Why the West Rules--For Now" are unlikely to see the history of the world in quite the same way ever again. And that can't be said of many books on any topic. Morris has penned a tour de force."--Keith Monroe, "The Virginian-Pilot" "If you read one history book this year, if you read one this decade, this is the one."-- Tim O' Connell, "The Florida Times-Union""" "A monumental effort...Morris is an engaging writer with deep insights from archaeology and ancient history that offer us compelling visions about how the past influences the future."--Michael D. Langan, "Buffalo News ""A remarkable book that may come to be as widely read as Paul Kennedy's 1987 work, 'The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.' Like Mr Kennedy's epic, Mr Morris's 'Why the West Rules--For Now' uses history and an overarching theory to address the anxieties of the present . . . This is an important book--one that challenges, stimulates and entertains. Anyone who does not believe there are lessons to be learned from history should start here." --"The Economist """ "Morris' new book illustrates perfectly why one really scholarly book about the past is worth a hundred fanciful w