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Short Synopsis
Deeply researched and brilliantly argued, Why the West Rules—for Now spans fifty thousand years of history and brings together the latest findings across disciplines not only to explain why the West came to rule the world but also to predict what the future will bring.

Full Synopsis
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.

"A formidable, richly engrossing effort to determine why Western institutions dominate the world." ---Kirkus Starred Review

"The nearest thing to a unified field theory of history we are ever likely to get. With wit and wisdom, Ian Morris deploys the techniques and insights of the new ancient history to address the biggest of all historical questions: Why on earth did the west beat the rest? I loved it." ---Niall Ferguson


"Deeply thought-provoking and engagingly lively, broad in sweep and precise in detail." ---Jonathan Fenby, author of Modern China

"As with Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse. Morris's conclusions will provoke controversy, but he asks the right questions. Ultimately, his book is more successful in its goals than Diamond's. VERDICT Accessible and solid, this may be as popular as Diamond's work. It should be in every library." ---Library Journal

"Morris is a lucid thinker and a fine writer. He...is 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." ---The New York Times
Kirkus Review

New York Times Bestseller

Why the West Rules---for Now

The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future

Author Ian Morris

Narrated by Antony Ferguson

Publication date Dec 14, 2010

Running time 26 hrs

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