Civilization by Roger Osborne
A New History of the Western World

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Synopsis

"It would be hard to imagine a more readable general history of the West that covers so much ground so incisively."—William Grimes, The New York Times

Ever since the attacks of September 11, 2001, Western leaders have described a world engaged in "a fight for civilization." But what do we mean by civilization? We believe in a Western tradition of freedom that has produced a fulfilling existence for many millions of people and a culture of enormous depth and creative power. But the history of our civilization is also filled with unspeakable brutality—for every Leonardo there is a Mussolini, for every Beethoven symphony a concentration camp, for every Chrysler Building a My Lai massacre.

An ambitious historical assessment of the Western world—tying together the histories of empires, art, philosophy, science, and politics—Civilization reexamines and confronts us with all of our glories and catastrophes. At such a dangerous time in the world's history, this brilliant book is required reading.
 

About Roger Osborne

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For many years Roger Osborne worked as an editor in the London publishing world, first at Macmillan and then Faber & Faber, specializing in books on medicine, psychology, and the history of science. Since 1992 he has been a full-time writer, using particular subjects to demonstrate new ways of understanding the past. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society and lives in Yorkshire.
 
Published January 23, 2006 by Pegasus. 544 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Civilization

Kirkus Reviews

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He answers that it’s a narrative we tell ourselves about ourselves, and he concludes that our current narrative “is simply not credible.” The author highlights familiar historical events and characters: Pericles, Socrates, Julius Caesar, Jesus, Charlemagne, Machiavelli, Martin Luther, Cortés, Gal...

Dec 05 2006 | Read Full Review of Civilization: A New History o...

The New York Times

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In a grudging sort of way Mr. Osborne documents the growing prosperity of the West over the last two centuries, but never without noting, as he does in a discussion of the United States in the 1920s, that under industrial capitalism “the cohesion of communities, customary arrangements, family loy...

Dec 07 2006 | Read Full Review of Civilization: A New History o...

The Guardian

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Civilization: A New History of the Western World by Roger Osborne Jonathan Cape £20, pp544 Immediately after the 9/11 bombings, George Bush declared: 'This is civilisation's fight.' In August 1914, Henry James wrote to a friend of the 'hideous tragedy' of the Great War: 'All of our generation sho...

Jan 29 2006 | Read Full Review of Civilization: A New History o...

Historical Novel Society

Readers (especially those who found history tedious at school) are urgently recommended to read this timely, admirable book.

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