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Wer regiert die Welt? warum Zivilisationen herrschen oder beherrscht werden
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Wer regiert die Welt? warum Zivilisationen herrschen oder beherrscht werden

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  2,232 ratings  ·  209 reviews
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 ...more
Published 2011 by Campus (first published 2010)
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Mal Warwick
Something strange was afoot. A mere geographer, Jared Diamond, had had the temerity to publish a history book, upending centuries of historians’ speculations about the reasons why civilization first developed in the Middle East. It was 2005, and the book was Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Five years later an archaeologist, Ian Morris, wrote another history book (for the general reader!) called Why the West Rules — for Now. Building on Diamond’s thesis, Morris laid out his own, more comprehensive view of
Emma Sea
Wow, all those four- and five-star reviews. I disagree.

First up, it should be called Why China Hasn't Ruled the World Up Till Now, But Will After 2103.

The book opens with an AU, in which the Chinese navy forces Queen Victoria to swear fealty, and takes Albert hostage to ensure her co-operation. Morris asks, "Why did British boats shoot their way up the Yangzi in 1842, rather than Chinese ones up the Thames?" (p. 11) This is an exciting and interesting question. Morris finally answers it 546 rat
First off, this is a very readable, interesting and often insightful book. It works as a good history of development in East Asia and Europe.

I have mixed feelings about the scale of Morris' ambition, though. Or maybe just his framing.

He seems like he very much wants to the scholar who has *the* theory that explains why Europe came from behind to zoom past China in the last couple centuries, but to some extent the explanation is "civilizations face crises, if they are lucky they aren't that deep
Josh Brett
While the title "Why the West Rules ... For Now" suggests a right wing polemic mourning the decline of Western Civilization, something written by Niall Ferguson at best, and Mark Levin at worst, Ian Morris' weighty volume is far from it (in fact, he has been criticized as being too culturally relativist). Instead, Ferguson gives a survey of the long view of human history, bringing into focus patterns that are obscured when one views history in terms of decades and centuries. Morris' book is in t ...more
Astounding! I was fascinated by the premise of the book (why DOES the West rule, anyway?) but I was blown away by the scope! To make his case, Morris starts us at the dawn of humankind and takes us on a guided tour through all periods of human history until a little less than a year ago.

His writing is wonderful. I felt as though I had a firm grasp on the big picture throughout the entire book. His tone is conversational and he interjects very mild humor where appropriate. As someone who has not
The New York Times review (see The Final Conflict , by Orville Schell) of this epic work includes this paragraph in describing the book’s conclusion:
The competition that East and West have been pursuing for so long, Morris warns, is about to be disrupted by some powerful forces. Nuclear proliferation, population growth, global epidemics and climate change are in the process of radically altering old historical patterns. “We are approaching the greatest discontinuity in history,” he says.
After h
Silash Ruparell
This review also appears on my blog at

My one-liner: Quite simply the best popular history book you will ever read. Astounding survey of historical forces that have shaped today’s world.

At the top of the front cover of this book, there is the following quote from Niall Ferguson: “The nearest thing to a unified field theory of history we are ever likely to see”. That is not far off the mark, and it would be impossible to do justice to the breathtaking breadth covered by this
Mark Gray
Another truly remarkable book from Ian Morris, I was concerned that there would be too much cross over from the last one I read however they are easily read without that feeling of repetition. This reminds me of The Rise and Fall if Great Powers but with a much broader scope. I need a break to think before I leap into the next Ian Morris book. Highly recommended
Excellent analysis of historical facts from very early ages until twenty first century (even some predictions of the future) that eventually sums up the background for West dominance in the last two chapters. Some of the details in the book makes it even more attractive for Historians and Anthropologists however Political Scientists will find institutional and state level analyses more interesting. If you have time and interest this is a MUST read book!
I'm not done with the book yet, I reached the part where he's comparing as he claims our ancestors, the ones that came from the west and the ones from the east. Despite the fact that I don't believe that our ancestors were monkeys, but the differences he mentioned were realistic. I'm still enjoying the book let's see what happens after i'm done. I hope it doesn't shift to bordem.
Rick Presley
A fascinating look with due consideration on what "might have been." While this may not be definitive, it certainy does get the conversation going.

I think this is a necessary corrective to determinists like Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel" which places all the emphasis on geography. If you couple Morris with 1491 and 1493, a picture of the world emerges that is a lot less Eurocentric than Diamond's. For one thing, China did rule and had a huge influence that we don't seem to appreciate.
Bob Reed
This is a breathtaking ride through history. All of it. Starting in 20,000 B.C. and working forwards. The author attempts to fit all of human history into a single, unifying field theory of the growth and decline of civilizations. Of course he doesn't succeed. But it's still a heck of a ride. Morris' depth of knowledge is breathtaking. It is very well written, and despite being some 700 pages long, I was sorry to see it come to an end. Interestingly, the main theme of the book touches on the age ...more
The author covered a potentially dry topic in a fashion that kept me reading. Not that I found the question embedded in the title boring, it is just that there were many chances to lose the reader since the author went far back in ancient history, traced the East versus West balance to the present, and then projected into the future--a lot of ground was covered. Many relevant statistics were presented to make the author's case, it was generally done with some drama mixed in, which prevented the ...more
In ‘Why the West Rules – For Now’ Ian Morris has crafted a phenomenal historical reference that provides an enlightened but cautionary perspective of the patterns of human history. As noted by the title, this book explores the distinctions that separate Eastern and Western global power in the present age and how the world came to be the way that it is today. Morris does this remarkably through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary exploration of long-term historical trends that utilizes many ana ...more
The author provides a very fascinating insight into the travails and journeys of modern man to reach the current stage of development. The book is very engaging overall as he takes us through towering heroes, bungling idiots and maps. It is very readable even to a layman in history as he connects the dots to build up a big picture of major historical events like fall of the roman empire, renaissance, genghis khans exploits, industrialization of the west etc, In the process, a lot of perceptions ...more
This includes an enjoyable journey through tens of thousands of human history, following the earliest human migration out of Africa, through the East and west and the chronicling the first civilizations. I am not sure how confident I am of Morris' Social Development metric as an objective measure of, well, advancement of some sort, but surely the general picture is accurate. He provides insight into why the west developed first, why the East overtook the west about 500 CE only for the East to lo ...more
Mar 08, 2011 Beeb3 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beeb3 by: Betsy
Shelves: not-chosen
Only the supremely self-confident put forth all-encompassing theories of world history, and Morris is one such daredevil. An archaeologist by academic specialty, he advances a quasi-deterministic construct that is suitable for nonacademics. From a repeatedly enunciated premise that humans by nature are indolent, avaricious, and fearful, Morris holds that such traits, when combined with sociology and geography, explain history right from the beginning, when humanity trudged out of Africa, through ...more
Sigmund Brouwer
My preference is to write reviews of books that I can recommend as 5-star choices. This, of course, is one of them. I can't imagine how many years it took to research and write this fast-reading and lively overview of world history; for those of us who read this book, we have literally borrowed all this time from someone else, because we can absorb his efforts in a matter of hours, and those hours are supremely worth it. From the opening that had my jaw dropping until I realized what was happeni ...more
Katherine Relf-canas
Wowee! This was one comprehensive book. Seems the kind of big, thick book that would frighten some college sophomores in history survey courses. Not much to say just now other than that it is a fascinating survey of what might happen in this century. The end might not be near if more people would just read giant history books. I sure hope we're not heading for the "singularity." It just doesn't sound very satisfying. I must see if Ian Morris ever gives lectures the public can attend. Would love ...more
A very interesting book in the tradition of, say, Jared Diamond's Guns Germs and Steel. It's broader in scope that GGS which has pros and cons. Morris asks and answers interesting questions that Diamond doesn't touch on. However, he simply doesn't have time, even 700 pages to go into any detail about specifics.

Niall Ferguson's cover quote might be a bit over the top - "The nearest thing to a unified field theory of history we are ever likely to get" but definitely worth a read if you're into ide
Why the West Rules—For Now: The Patterns of History and What They Reveal About the Future / Ian Morris. A bit laborious for me, even if it is written in a conversational voice. However, I did benefit from the world history review from prehistoric times to the present. The book concentrates on the two most significant “cores”, the Middle Eastern (eventually Western Europe) and the Asian (China, largely); the Asian sections were largely new information for me. His emphasis on social development, i ...more
Why the west rules for now

Mesmerising narrative of why the West, not the other way round, rules the east over the past hundreds of years.

Furthering Jared Diamond’s book of Gun, Germ and Steel, the author tries to make sense of the western dominance of the world mainly from the perspective of geography.

Once people from the west concluded their dominance were owed to their gods and genes. They were privileged and destined to rule the rest of the world.

As the rest of the world in general, the ea
Chris Mericle
Simply amazing. Although, I have serious historical reservation over the authors practice of dividing all humanity into east or west based upon whether their settled agriculture derived its origin from the fertile crescent or china. Does this not leave out all the distinctions of history, culture, ideology, ethics philosophy art, military system, economic system etc. Besides that, the book represents a spellbinding combination of sources across bewildering span of time. Truly amazing.
Overwhelming, a scholarly tour de force. Reminds me of Gibbons' "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire," and H.G. Wells "Outline of History," and Toynbee's "A Study of History," and the Durants' "The Story of Civilization," and the Jared Diamond's brilliant "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies."

I was impressed by Morris' scope, so broad in time, going back to the Ice Age from which to trace divergences, with concise fascinating use of anthropology and archaeology and other disc
The author starts from preman and marchs through to the present day. He discusses history as well as compares East and West century by century. He developed a set of metrics to measure development discuss how East and West fares and defends his work. Depending on what you want to get out of this book you may find this part exciting or somewhat tedious. I felt I learn alot and was reminded of alot of history and civilization development.
For decades, I have hoped for a history of the world that treated Asian history as seriously and in as much detail as most treat European history. Morris not only has written that book, he has hung a theory of human history on the story of humanity in the East and in the West. He writes with humor and enthusiasm, and while he enthusiastically presents and defends his theory, he is wryly aware how easily it might be refuted.
Alice Xia
A sweeping overview beginning with the catalysts of agriculture through to what Morris claims as the "inevitable" appearance of commercialism, industrialization, and modern consumerism. Probably one of the most earnest historical accounts I've read, especially given the intimidating breadth of coverage. The only qualm worth mentioning as far as my own interpretations go: Isn't Morris' game of going back in history to estimate the possibility of the West ruling by 2000 at any given time compounde ...more
Aleksandar Totic
It was a thrill to read a coherent world history of last 10K years. Guns Germs and Steel: the next level !

The idea of West was always interesting to me. I grew up on its periphery, and West was mysterious. What is it, and why do they have jeans and we do not? Especially since my country (Yugoslavia) was the best of all possible worlds. And I really knew nothing about the East.

Reading this book gave me perspective. The world feels less weird, I am better oriented, can feel how I got here, startin
Epic and wonderful. The author makes this all encompassing, concise history of East and West so easy to read. The title question gives the history a great focus and makes it more interesting. The conclusion however, where the future can only lead to catastrophe or the merger of human and machine intelligence fills me with horror and fear. What have we done to ourselves?
Klay Dalton
The author attempts to explain why the "West" has ruled the world recently and looks to explain it through archaeological, sociological, and geographical means. He does a great job keeping the book fairly easy to read and keeps the attention of the reader throughout. Ultimately the book comes to some conclusions about what may happen in the future based upon what has happened in the past. While I enjoyed reading the book at times, there was nothing that I found particularly mind blowing or too m ...more
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“History, n. An account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.” 1 likes
“around 11,000 BCE an elderly woman was buried at ‘Ain Mallaha with one hand resting on a puppy, both of them curled up as if asleep.” 1 likes
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