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Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
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Gopnik Offline
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Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
The title pretty much says it all. I've been curious for some time as to why did Western civilization became the leading cultural/economic force in the world. Some people argue that this was simply because Europeans colonialised and raped Africa and the Americas but at the same time, I believe Europe was already very developed before colonialism. I'm quite ignorant on the subject so I'd appreciate any suggestions.

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01-26-2015 04:25 PM
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RexImperator Offline
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RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond would be up your alley.

Also Civilization: The West and the Rest by by Niall Ferguson.

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(This post was last modified: 01-26-2015 07:03 PM by RexImperator.)
01-26-2015 07:01 PM
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RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han. -that book gives you a good perspective on the development of Chinese civilization and culture. You can extrapolate from it to see why the West's leading contender was never going to develop as quickly as the West.

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01-27-2015 05:05 AM
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Gopnik Offline
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RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
Thanks guys. I've read over some amazon reviews of those 3 books. I particularly like the summary of Civilization: The West and the Rest, I think it perfectly answers my questions:

Quote: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.

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01-27-2015 06:45 AM
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The Reactionary Tree Offline
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RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas Woods

A bit about the author, he is a scholar at the Mises Institute so his politics are that of a classical liberal/libertarian. He has good humor and is an easy read. If you are a Ron Paul fan, then you are probably familiar with Thomas Woods.
01-27-2015 07:38 AM
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GeroMeroHero Offline
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RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
I have heard the Uniqueness of Western Civilization is good.
Fairly unknown though but occidentophile sites love it so yea, take that for what you will
01-31-2015 02:14 AM
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Sonsowey Offline
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RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
1491 is very interesting as a contrast between European and American civilizations, focusing on the effects that contact had on both societies.

Probably less BS than Guns Germs and Steel.

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01-31-2015 05:06 AM
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berserk Offline
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RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
(01-26-2015 07:01 PM)RexImperator Wrote:  Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond would be up your alley.

That is one viewpoint, the blank slate theory and almost exclusive focus on enviromental circumstance.

Read that book, but also read about the Greeks and the Roman empire. Try to truly understand how incredibly advanced the Romans were, not just in art and technology, but in philosophy, literature and societal structure.

Rome peaked 2000 years ago, aeons before European colonialism and yet the Romans were far more advanced than any country outside Europe for thousands of years. Romans 2000 years ago had more advanced societies than any Chinese society until the industrial revolution, than any Japanese society until they opened up, than any South American civilization until the Spanish went there, than any Arab or African civilization.

Keep this in mind while you read about circumstance in Guns, Germs and Steel.
01-31-2015 02:24 PM
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GeroMeroHero Offline
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RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
(01-31-2015 02:24 PM)berserk Wrote:  
(01-26-2015 07:01 PM)RexImperator Wrote:  Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond would be up your alley.

That is one viewpoint, the blank slate theory and almost exclusive focus on enviromental circumstance.

Read that book, but also read about the Greeks and the Roman empire. Try to truly understand how incredibly advanced the Romans were, not just in art and technology, but in philosophy, literature and societal structure.

Rome peaked 2000 years ago, aeons before European colonialism and yet the Romans were far more advanced than any country outside Europe for thousands of years. Romans 2000 years ago had more advanced societies than any Chinese society until the industrial revolution, than any Japanese society until they opened up, than any South American civilization until the Spanish went there, than any Arab or African civilization.

Keep this in mind while you read about circumstance in Guns, Germs and Steel.

Any good books for that?
02-01-2015 08:49 PM
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Pride male Offline
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RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
Arthur Kemp, Europa The Rise of the Nation States.

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02-02-2015 02:06 PM
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Tyroc7 Offline
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RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
(01-26-2015 04:25 PM)Luisaceo Wrote:  The title pretty much says it all. I've been curious for some time as to why did Western civilization became the leading cultural/economic force in the world. Some people argue that this was simply because Europeans colonialised and raped Africa and the Americas but at the same time, I believe Europe was already very developed before colonialism. I'm quite ignorant on the subject so I'd appreciate any suggestions.

Why the West Rules for Now by Ian Morris as the title implies addresses this very question.
Guns, germs and steel is good but better at explaining why development proceeded further on the Eurasian landmass than in Africa, the Americas and Australia than at explaining why on the Eurasian landmass Europe advanced further than East or South Asia.

Why the West Rules for Now really focuses on why Western Europe pulled away from China after the 16th century.

Why Nations fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson also offers interesting perspectives on why particular nations in Western Europe (i.e. Great Britain) left other nations (Spain, Portugal) way behind economically speaking.
02-02-2015 04:24 PM
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poutsara Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
Check out Will Durant's Story of Civilization. Most of it focuses on the West. It's amazing, and I think 11 volumes in all.

The best ones I think are:

Vol 2: The Life of Greece
Vol 3: Caesar and Christ
02-03-2015 08:37 PM
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Seth_Rose Offline
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RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
(01-27-2015 07:38 AM)The Reactionary Tree Wrote:  How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas Woods

A bit about the author, he is a scholar at the Mises Institute so his politics are that of a classical liberal/libertarian. He has good humor and is an easy read. If you are a Ron Paul fan, then you are probably familiar with Thomas Woods.

I actually came in the thread to post that book. Definitely recommended for a perspective on history that is not often heard.

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02-03-2015 09:23 PM
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H1N1 Offline
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RE: Book Recommendations On Development of Western Civilization
Some very interesting recommendations above.

I'd add Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy. Although it is an analysis and summary of every major western philosopher's thoughts, they are all presented within their historical and social context. It's a masterful work, and I'd be hard pushed to think of another book that can take you from relative ignorance to an impressive breadth of knowledge and understanding in quite the same way.
02-04-2015 05:45 AM
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