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Short Synopsis
From one of our most renowned historians, Civilization: The West and the Rest is the definitive history of Western civilization's rise to global dominance—and the "killer applications" that made this improbable ascent possible.

Full Synopsis
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. These were the "killer applications" that allowed the West to leap ahead of the Rest, opening global trade routes, exploiting newly discovered scientific laws, evolving a system of representative government, more than doubling life expectancy, unleashing the Industrial Revolution, and embracing a dynamic work ethic. Civilization shows just how fewer than a dozen Western empires came to control more than half of humanity and four fifths of the world economy.

Yet now, Ferguson argues, the days of Western predominance are numbered—not because of clashes with rival civilizations, but simply because the Rest have now downloaded the six killer apps we once monopolized—while the West has literally lost faith in itself.

Civilization does more than tell the gripping story of the West's slow rise and sudden demise; it also explains world history with verve, clarity, and wit. Controversial but cogent and compelling, Civilization is Ferguson at his very best.

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

"Ferguson tells the story of the rise of the West at a peppy pace. His crisp British accent has an authoritative aura in spite of his conversational tone. Overall, his delivery makes a complicated analysis sound like an armchair discussion with a favorite professor." ---AudioFile

"Ferguson proves an excellent narrator for his book. . . . [He] infuses his narration with flair, attitude, enthusiasm, and energy---all of which will keeps listeners engaged." ---Publishers Weekly Audio Review
New York Times Bestseller

Civilization

The West and the Rest

Author Niall Ferguson

Narrated by Niall Ferguson

Publication date Nov 1, 2011

Running time 13 hrs

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