• by Niall Ferguson
  • Narrated by Niall Ferguson
  • 13 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

"Thought-provoking and possibly controversial." (Library Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Niall Ferguson's Most Enjoyable Book

If you could sum up Civilization in three words, what would they be?

Revised my thinking

What does Niall Ferguson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Having heard him live, that same charisma he projects comes through the audio.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not necessarily. But I did listen to the book more than once.

Any additional comments?

I have always found Niall Ferguson, in his books and lectures, to be insightful and thought-provoking. 'Civilization' may be the best example of this to date. Here is one example of a perspective that I found very instructive, Ferguson includes in his list of explanatory variables for the acceleration of civilization in the West the role of Protestant churches. But he goes beyond the obvious, the Protestant work ethic, to explain how church communities and the mutual trustworthiness they engendered enabled smaller merchants early access to credit and so develop early forms of supply chains in the fledgling free-markets of the colonial US (and Northern Europe). He also differentiates between monopolistic and ‘free market’ religions. The former refers to the state religions common in Europe, the latter to the open market for religion in the US. And clearly, churches and church-going have flourished in the US where free-market competition compelled churches to adapt to the changing needs of their congregations. Without that competitive motive, churches in Europe have stagnated or declined.Agree with Ferguson or not, this is a highly informative and enjoyable listen. And I must add, the voices used for quotes that several reviewers complained about I found neither distracting nor offensive. Niall’s reading of the text was articulated very clearly and sufficiently animated, enhanced all the more by that Scottish accent that I have come to enjoy.

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- F. Ribeiro "frib"

Guns, Germs, and Steel is History 101, this is 201

Guns, Germs, and Steel explains how Eurasians nations had an geological head start over rival nations, but it paints too simplistic a stroke to explain the last 500 years of western dominance. This book will finish your introduction to civilization competition throughout human history and why those that won - won and those that lost - lost by providing a detail understanding of why western civilization progressed past the rest.
Some answers are as you might expect but some may surprise you.
Read Guns, Germs, and Steel first then read this book. together you will have a much better understanding of how the current geopolitical situation has come about and then you can truly begin to postulate on where it is going and what policies you should support if you wish to change its progress or keep it on track.
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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-01-2011
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio