Original Proposal - Civilization: The West and the Rest - Prof. Niall Ferguson

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Original Proposal - Civilization: The West and the Rest - Prof. Niall Ferguson

Post by GeorgeKunath »

Civilization: The West and the Rest by Prof. Niall Ferguson
Originally posted by GeorgeKunath » Sat Dec 05, 2020 1:05 pm
I propose that we read “Civilization: The West and the Rest” by Prof. Niall Ferguson (Penguin Press 2011 – 325 pages sans notes & index – 2012 paperback version available for $14.49 + shipping or $4.99 Kindle from Amazon.com).

Book Description per Amazon (usually from the book’s fly cover)

From the bestselling author of The Ascent of Money and The Square and the Tower

Western civilization’s rise to global dominance is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five centuries.

How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed? Acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson argues that beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts, or “killer applications”—competition, science, the rule of law, modern medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic—that the Rest lacked, allowing it to surge past all other competitors.

Yet now, Ferguson shows how the Rest have downloaded the killer apps the West once monopolized, while the West has literally lost faith in itself. Chronicling the rise and fall of empires alongside clashes (and fusions) of civilizations, Civilization: The West and the Rest recasts world history with force and wit. Boldly argued and teeming with memorable characters, this is Ferguson at his very best.

Author Bio (from the Original Proposal for our 11/11/2020 meeting on Prof. Ferguson’s 2019 book entitled “The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook”

From our viewpoint, the most interesting thing about Niall Ferguson might be that he is the husband since 2011 of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, on two of whose books we have focused in the past – “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now” for our 12/13/2017 meeting, and “Infidel” for our 6/11/2008 meeting.

Prof. Ferguson received his BA and PhD from Oxford U, teaching at Cambridge U 1989-1992 and then Oxford 1992-2002. After a brief stint at NYU Business School, he has served (2004-present) as Harvard’s Laurence A. Tisch Prof of History and Harvard Business School’s William Ziegler Prof of Business Administration.

Per Amazon (which presumably comes from the book cover itself which is only 2 months old) --

Niall Ferguson is one of the world's most renowned historians. He is the author of Paper and Iron, The House of Rothschild, The Pity of War, The Cash Nexus, Empire, Colossus, The War of the World, The Ascent of Money, High Financier, Civilization, The Great Degeneration, Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist, and The Square and the Tower. He is [as of the 1/16/2018 publication date] Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. His many awards include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012) and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013).

Book Review Excerpts

“[Ferguson] uses his powerful narrative talents in these pages to give the reader a highly tactile sense of history. … The author [has a] knack for making long-ago events as vivid and visceral as the evening news, for weaving anecdotes and small telling details together with a wide-angled retrospective vision.”
—New York Times

“A dazzling history of Western ideas.”
—The Economist

“Mr. Ferguson tells his story with characteristic verve and an eye for the felicitous phrase.”
—Wall Street Journal

“[W]ritten with vitality and verve… a tour de force.”
—Boston Globe

“This is sharp. It feels urgent. Ferguson, with a properly financially literate mind, twists his knife with great literary brio…Ferguson ends by suggesting the biggest threat is not China but ourselves – our cowardice, drawn from ignorance, even stupidity, about our past. He is right. But as he shows himself, that can be fixed.”
—The Financial Times

“The author boldly takes on 600 years of world events… so that the history lesson remains fresh and compelling… A richly informed, accessible history lesson.”
—Kirkus (starred)

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