Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson (Nov 2011)

ImageThis is a very interesting book, made more engaging by listening to the audio version.  The author himself, an Oxford professor, narrates, and it never gets boring.  I’m not sure how he makes all the voices he makes — including believable female voices — but I’m quite sure being a student in his class must be a stitch.  Ferguson seeks to explain in this book the ascendancy of Western civilization, and why “the rest” lags behind .  He details 6 “killer apps”: aspects of Western economy and culture that have served to push Western countries into dominant positions.  I can’t say he convinced me on all points.  In fact, he really pissed me off when he basically called those who believe global warming is a reality, idiots (in other words).  I had to rewind 3 times to re-listen and make certain he was saying what I thought he was saying.  Regardless of his obvious conservative politics, he’s also obviously brilliant, and a pleasure to listen to.  No matter what you conclude about his arguments, you will learn a great deal and think hard about things.  This book will be especially appealing to those who enjoyed “Guns, Germs, and Steel”.

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About Cheryl McNeil
I am the User Services Librarian at the Orangeburg Library in Orangeburg, NY

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