Conquests and Cultures

  • by Thomas Sowell
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • 16 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This book is the culmination of 15 years of research and travels that have taken the author completely around the world twice. Its purpose has been to try to understand the role of cultural differences within nations and between nations, today and over the centuries of history, in shaping the economic and social fates of peoples and of whole civilizations. Focusing on four major cultural areas—that of the British, the Africans (including the African Diaspora), the Slavs of Eastern Europe, and the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere—Conquests and Cultures reveals patterns that encompass not only these people but others and helps explain the role of cultural evolution in economic, social, and political development.
Thomas Sowell has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst, and other academic institutions, and his Basic Economics has been translated into six languages. He is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has been published in both academic journals and such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine, and Fortune, and he writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country.

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What the Critics Say

“Sowell writes…with grace and clarity.” (Washington Times)
“Thomas Sowell is, in my opinion, the most original and interesting philosopher at work in America. I have learned a great deal from him and his new book is full of insights and wisdom.” (Paul Johnson, author of Modern Times)
“Sowell's scholarship is evident as he examines the interplay of religion, language, education, technology, and other factors in the development of nations….this book bears comparison to Fernand Braudel's A History of Civilization. Its readable style and impressive scope make it suitable for all libraries.” (Library Journal)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Conquests and Cultures

This is the third and last volume in Thomas Sowell's "Cultures" trilogy ("Race and Culture" and "Migrations and Culture" precede it). It is every bit as cogent and well-argued as the first two books - indeed, as every book Sowell has written.

I suggest reading (or listening to: the reader has a baritone similar to Sowell's, not quite James Earl Jones, but in that territory) the whole trilogy; when you've done that, I promise you Sowell's explanations of human cultural history will make sense to you on a gut level like (probably) no history you learned in school ever did.

Sowell has an unsurpassed knack for explaning complex topics in simple, lucid terms; he doesn't obfuscate with jargon or rhetorical sleights-of-hand as do writers won't don't actually have a full grasp of their topics but want to appear smart. There is just no honest way to come away from reading (or listening to) this writer's books and not be convinced that he has mastered his topic and helped clarify your own understanding of it. This should be refreshing to anyone who's had to suffer through the likes of Michel Foucault and his ilk - people who write outrageously complicated nonsense about simple things. Sowell is the opposite of such writers: he writes clearly, lucidly and honestly about complex topics.

Check him out.
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- Frank

Time very well spent

Though I have minor issues with Sowell's writing style and organization, which prevent me from giving this five stars, I nonetheless would put this on anyone's "must listen" list.
This book is loaded with facts and figures, often coming rapid-fire, but it never becomes boring in the least. Overall the experience is revelatory -- I'd even go so far as to say life-changing. My world-view will never be quite the same.
Very minor irritation: not infrequently Dean mis-reads the text -- e.g. giving dates that are exactly one century off, confusing WW1 with WW2, etc. It's possible these are typos in the original text but I doubt it. He also over-enunciates almost everything. He's a perfectly adequate reader, but not one of my favorites.
But forget I ever said these things and listen: you won't regret it.
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- Mark

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-02-2010
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.