Summary of Why the West Rules – for Now

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Why the West Rules – for Now book summary
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Rating

getAbstract International Book Award Winner 2011

9 Overall

9 Importance

9 Innovation

10 Style


Recommendation

This panoramic history offers formidable reading about the comparative development of Western and Eastern civilizations. It catalogs significant archeological, scientific and political events of 16,000 years of human history and several millennia in the life of the planet. Historian Ian Morris explains the forces that allowed Western civilization to overtake Eastern civilization and why this critical balance may now be tipping in favor of the East. This is high-quality academic scholarship: an interdisciplinary analysis, tying together esoteric facts and maps spanning geography, historical theories, paleontology, climatology, archeology and politics. Morris’s book supports his detailed “index of social development” model comparing the evolution of Eastern and Western civilizations. His construct relies on recounting detailed history, analysis and comparisons. This can be challenging reading, albeit leavened by Morris’s visible scholarship and entertaining style. You have to want to finish this book, but if you are a serious reader of history, getAbstract assures you that the effort has very substantial rewards – and if you are building up your ambitions it also makes for fascinating skimming.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What human and scientific factors led the West to dominate the East,
  • How that power balance may shift,
  • How to compare Eastern and Western civilizations, and
  • What major events shaped both civilizations.
 

About the Author

Ian Morris teaches classics and history at Stanford University, where he is an Archeology Centre fellow. His books include The Greeks and The Dynamics of Ancient Empires.

 

Summary

Who Rules and Why?
The “index of social development” measures “a group’s ability to master its physical and intellectual environment to get things done.” This model enables a comparison of the unfolding of Eastern and Western civilizations by measuring technology, the ability to wage war...

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