Are you interested in reading good books so as me? If your answer is yes, probably you will like the book report I wanna share here with you. Also my other book reports you may find following where you can read the rest of them and even order some of them for your own. For now wish you good read!

Review of Niall Ferguson’s book “Civilization: The West and the Rest”

The history of the Western World and its values is of great interest to many researchers, who are trying to understand the origins of Western civilization. In addition, the question of the future of the Western World still has the significant importance, taking into account the modern realities, since there are threats from the Islamic world and competition from Asian countries, such as China. In this regard, Niall Ferguson’s book “Civilization: The West and the Rest” is of particular interest. The author examines the Western world from the perspective of the reasons for its initial priority over the rest of the world as well as the risks that it expects in the future. In general, the book can be regarded as a reasonable scientific historical explanation of the reasons for the ascent of the Western world and its decline observed today.

One of the main features of this book is that it is trying to move away from the negative perception of the Western civilization and consider it from the point of view of its priority over the rest of the world. The reviewers points out that the book contributes to a switch towards the scientific understanding of the causes underlying the emergence of the Western civilization and the factors that determined its economic, political, and social priority over the rest of the world. In most cases, “when it is treated at all, the West is maligned because of its history of slavery and imperialism, an alleged addiction to war and its exclusion of women and nonwhites from its rights and privileges”. In other words, the main problem with the Western world is that it was originally viewed from the negative perspective as part of the globe that caused spread of imperialism, numerous racial prejudices, and other negative social and political phenomena. Nevertheless, Ferguson is trying to look at the Western world from the perspectice of its serious impact on the rest of the world. For this reason, the author is trying to explore the six main factors that led to domination of the Western world. He calls these causes “killer applications” and among them he identifies internal and external competition, rapid development of science, the influence of law and representative power, the emergence of modern medicine, consumer society, and the formation of work ethics.

The first reason was connected to the fact that, unlike the monolithic societies of the East, Western Europe was represented by a large number of disparate countries. This feature led to the emergence of competition between them, since they all fought for their economic and political interests. Ultimately, this led to economic and political development of the European states.

The scientific development of the Western world has played an equally important role in strengthening the power of the Western world at the international level. The author recognizes the merit of Islamic scholars and Asian innovations, however, he takes into account the free nature of the scientific development of the West. Unlike the rest of the world, the Western science had no barriers to its development, which also positively affected the capabilities of the Western countries.

The emergence of representative power based on democratic principles played a role in the development of the Western countries as well. This process was initiated by the European enlighteners, in particular John Locke had an important influence on the practical implementation of democratic principles. It contorbuted to separation of the Western world from all other countries.

The development of medical knowledge was another important aspect in strengthening of the Western influence on the rest of the world. With the help of the modern scientific achievements, the Western medicine has become one of the most effective in the world. It contributed to the Western priority all over the world.

The emergence of consumer society contributed to development of the Western potential. The author provides a comparison between the capitalist and the communist worlds, concluding that the Western culture of consumption has had an extremely important role for domination of the former regimen. It is primarily due to the fact that a variety of consumer interests provoked development of industry that was supposed to meet all these demands.

Finally, the author analyzes work ethics as it is represented in the Western world and notes its importance in terms of impact on production potential of the Western countries. As it becomes clear, under the influence of ethica, the Protestant in particular, the Western work ethic has become the vasis for capital accumulation. In turn, the use of this capital has led to a significant increase in economic capabilities of the Western countries.

The main thesis of this book is that despite its serious achievements, the Western world faces the risk of becoming less important at the international level, which is primarily caused by loss of classical education system. The author points out that his task is not to focus on the exceptional merit of the Western world in relation to the rest of the world. In fact, the main purpose of this book is to show the reasons that led to domination of the Western world at the international level and identify factors that contributed to loss of this priority. In this regard, Ferguson tries to reveal the problems that pose a serious threat to the Western world. One of these issues is connection with the modern system of Western education, which is placing few emphasis on the sources that led to the success of the Western world. The author believes that the modern Western education provides too few ideas for the young people about cultural phenomena that initially were the origins of the Western civilization. Ferguson considers the modern Western world an ignorance, because the Western man has lost interest in the works of Shakespeare and other talented persons, who had a significant impact on the Western world.

As for the sources used by the author in the book, one can affirm that the he relies on extensive historical material that allows drawing well-founded conclusions about the causes of the Western domination. Using various historical summaries, the author offers a systematic and chronological description of events and phenomena that played role in shaping the hegemony of the Western world. The author refers to numerous historical sources, in particular descriptions of Francois Guizot and research by Sarah Wallington, Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez, Manny Rincon Cruz, Jason Rokketh, and others. In this respect, the book can be regarded as a reliable historical source describing formation of the Western civilization.

Nevertheless, one of the shortcomings of this book is seen in its populist nature, because despite its historical premise, the work misses a number of important moments. Revieewers of the book point out that it is not an example of classical historical research. In particular, according to Brendon, “There is no account of feudalism, the West's crucial early mechanism for exploiting land and labour”. The author has also overlooked other important historical phenomena that would help obtain more information about development of the Western world.

In general, this book is of special interest and it can be considered a good opportunity to see and understand the reasons for the establishment of the Western world hegemony, as well as the features of its current decline. The author quite rightly points to the aspects that led the Western civilization to success. Despite the various complexities and problems associated with the colonial policies of the Western world, with its emphasis on racial prejudices, the development of Western science, medicine, and the institution of democratic law played an indisputable role in establishment of the Western civilization. The Western world defined modern standards of life for millions of people, who recognized the importance of democratic principles, free science, and competitive labor. One can agree with the author that the dominance of the Western world has become a logical consequence of the effects of all six factors that were indicated by him in the book. The same can be said about his fears of the future of the Western world on the background of the growing influence of Asian countries and the threats coming from the Western world. Finally, the undoubted value of the book is in its representation of problems that Western culture faces today. Most people can agree with the fact that, despite its numerous achievements in the field of science and technology, the Western world began to suffer from ignorance as a result of indifference to classical education.

Therefore, this book offers a new perspective on the Western civilization as the one that provided the world with a large number of surprising discoveries of political, social, and economic nature. The book represents the Western civilization from the point of view of factors that determined its dominance over the rest of the world. However, the work is not limited to description of dignity of the Western world, because the author also shows obstacles that stand on the way of the further successful development of the Western countries. In this regard, attention is paid to the problem of ignorance, which has become prevalent among Western youth.



Votes: 0
E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of MyEnglishClub to add comments!

Join MyEnglishClub


This reply was deleted.