Why the West Rules--for Now by Ian Morris
The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future

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Synopsis

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011

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.


 

About Ian Morris

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Ian Morris is the Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics and professor of history at Stanford University. His most recent book is the award-winning "Why the West Rules--for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal about the Future" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) which has been translated into eleven languages.
 
Published October 12, 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 768 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Travel, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Why the West Rules--for Now

Kirkus Reviews

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A formidable, richly engrossing effort to determine why Western institutions dominate the world.

Oct 05 2010 | Read Full Review of Why the West Rules--for Now: ...

The New York Times

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This is a big “big book.” To accomplish his ambitious goal of both understanding the evolution of mankind’s past development and prognosticating the future of the continuing East-West horse race, Ian Morris starts around 15 millenniums ago.

Dec 10 2010 | Read Full Review of Why the West Rules--for Now: ...

The Guardian

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To argue against a "lock-in" theory of western superiority, Why the West Rules aspires to a unified, egalitarian theory of history with the soft parts – culture, values, religion – missed out.

Jan 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Why the West Rules--for Now: ...

BC Books

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After thorough analysis of facts Morris concludes that ‘Geography determined where in the world social development would rise fastest, but rising social development changed what geography meant.’ Impressive is the author’s quantitative measurement of society’s progress, which he calls "Social de...

Aug 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Why the West Rules--for Now: ...

BC Books

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“Yet the most that any of these great men/bungling idiots did was to speed up or slow down processes that were already under way.” Page 1 — Page 2 — Page 3 — Page 4

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BC Books

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The history repeats itself with remarkable similarity: now, the whole West is moving its production to China and other Eastern counties whereby creating the new center of gravity in international economy and military power.

Aug 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Why the West Rules--for Now: ...

BC Books

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and compare the amount of carbon dioxide and methane, illuminating green house effects.” Continued on the next page Page 1 — Page 2 — Page 3 — Page 4

Aug 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Why the West Rules--for Now: ...

The Telegraph

This, reckons Ian Morris in this huge and absorbing book, is “the second-greatest understatement of all time”.

Dec 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Why the West Rules--for Now: ...

Seattle PI

After thorough analysis of facts Morris concludes that 'Geography determined where in the world social development would rise fastest, but rising social development changed what geography meant.'.

Aug 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Why the West Rules--for Now: ...

Scotsman.com

"East" seems to mostly mean the Yangtze basin, but doesn't often mean India, and "West" doesn't seem to include Brazil, which is odd for someone concerned with the present and future power of the West.

Nov 15 2010 | Read Full Review of Why the West Rules--for Now: ...

Seeking Alpha

But, Morris claims, developing agrarian societies run into hard ceilings.

May 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Why the West Rules--for Now: ...

M/C Anderson

M/C Reviews Create an account Home Your Account Submit Review Top 10 Main Menu M/C Reviews 'events' 'screens' 'sounds' 'style' 'words' Feature Issues What's On Your Account Send Reviews Statistics To...

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The American Conservative

Will the East dominate the West by the end of this century?

Jul 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Why the West Rules--for Now: ...

Reviews in History

iii) an ‘epochal shift from qualitative to quantitative perception’ which led to a new conception of time as a succession of quanta, and a new polyphonic music where sounds could be seen as a phenomena moving through time, written on a paper using a codified and standardized system of notation fo...

Jun 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Why the West Rules--for Now: ...

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