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How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam Is Dying Too)
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How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam Is Dying Too)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  227 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
You've heard about the Death of the West.

But the Muslim world is on the brink of an even greater collapse.

Will we go down in the implosion?

Thanks to collapsing birthrates, much of Europe is on a path of willed self-extinction. The untold story is that birthrates in Muslim nations are declining faster than anywhere else—at a rate never before documented. Europe, even in its
Unknown Binding, 374 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by Not Avail (first published September 1st 2011)
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Nov 21, 2014 Shawn rated it really liked it
There's two types of Apocalypse porn: The quick asteroid/nuclear war/zombie collapse and the slow Malthusian/Spenglerian/This-is-the-way-the-world-ends-not-with-a-bang-but-a-whimper collapse. Goldman's book is the latter of the highest order. Secularists after reading this book will either go home to commit suicide or turn to their significant other and get down to the business of cranking out babies in the name of Western Modernity.

I've been following his column in the Asia Times for years and
Douglas Wilson
This is a book with a lot of surprises, a lot of twists and turns. Goldman makes some questionable assertions here, but this was one of the most fruitful and thought-provoking books I have read in a long time.
Daniel Cunningham
There are interesting figures/facts about population trends, projections and reproduction rates here.

Is there a coming demographic crisis coming in e.g. Middle Eastern countries? Possibly. I myself have wondered what the heck the various countries and peoples of the region will do in 30 or 50 years when oil really begun to tap out. Poor European countries? Possibly there as well.

But I don't know how much weight I give his projections... do I really believe that in 100 years Germany will be have
Jun 06, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it
Listened to the whole book on a road trip from eastern Ohio to DC back to Knoxville. Definitely achieved its end of keeping me awake and aware throughout. Probably more of a 4.5, but I try to be sparing with 5s.

The cover blurb is a pretty accurate summary of a lot of the book, but there is also an intriguing look at Greek history through the demographer's lens and the latter half contains a very provocative overview of the entirety of European history from the end of the Roman Empire to the pres
Aug 25, 2012 Erik rated it liked it
Interesting figures. The basic theme of this book is the plunging fertility rates in many countries across the globe and how this is tied to a loss of faith. The author argues that countries lose the "will to live" when they see their culture unable to advance, which normally happens when they turn from religion but cannot replace it with anything enduring. At that point, fertility rates drop and the culture goes into a demographic slide. He says many countries in Europe have already reached the ...more
Duane Alexander Miller Botero
A provocative but fascinating book. The author explains how civilizations die--not because of environmental disaster or wars, but because they lose the will to continue living. This is demonstrated in their lack of a willingness to produce a future generation, which is to say, demographics. His evidence of demographic decline in Japan and countries throughout Europe appears very strong.

The author thinks the USA and Israel are two societies that will resist the trend towards self-elimination. Som
Hartman Out
Jul 11, 2016 Hartman Out rated it it was amazing
You’ve heard about the Death of the West.
But the Muslim world is on the brink of an even greater collapse.


Thanks to collapsing birthrates, much of Europe is on a path of willed self-extinction. The untold story is that birthrates in Muslim nations are declining faster than anywhere else—at a rate never before documented. Europe, even in its decline, may have the resources to support an aging population, if at a terrible economic and cultural cost. But in the impo
Apr 13, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
Very fascinating and insightful! The book cast doubt on some common misconceptions: The world's population is a runaway freight train and will escalate until it reaches unsustainable levels; and that Islam will take over Europe by its fecundity (higher birthrates.) I went and researched some of the demographics and sure enough, the author is on to something. We will have to see if Goldman's predictions hold.
Thomas Rones
Oct 23, 2015 Thomas Rones rated it liked it
The main idea:

Fertility rates drop below replacement due to a nation's loss of faith and secularization. Education and literacy rates are key factors in this.

The Islamic world is a danger because they face an existential threat, ergo they cannot be expected to act as rational nation states.

Europe's fertility rates indicate an economic decline in the next 50-100 years.

America is the exception ( only industrialized country without falling fertility rates) due to the individualistic ideals and
Patricrk patrick
Do I believe the authors theory that civilizations die because people stop having children? No, he argues that a sense of despair about your culture or religion results in families no longer making the commitment to raise children and the presence of an inverted pyramid in population distribution leads to the collapse of civilization. Hard to swallow. Worth the read to at least challenge your own conception of how the world works and what the future holds.
Ken Underhill
Nov 21, 2014 Ken Underhill rated it really liked it
A fascinating, if somewhat repetitive treatise on how so much of our world is in a death spiral of population decline. Whodathunkit? Seems all we ever read is how the world is overpopulating itself to death.

This book sheds light on the exact opposite for whole swaths of the globe, including Europe, Japan and most notably the Middle East.

Goldman dovetails this phenomenon with the root cause, that which seems to be a lack of will to survive in these cultures. It turns out, that America (ie: USA) i
Sheryl Tribble
Oct 25, 2013 Sheryl Tribble rated it liked it
I've been reading "birth dearth" books since at least the 1980s; this one offered something new, first because he covers more ancient history than average, second because he covers the Islamic nations (granted, a lot of those I've read were written before the trends there were clear), and, third, because of his analysis of why Islam nations are dying, which I thought an interesting and likely thesis.

Jul 26, 2014 Tom rated it liked it
De auteur geeft een verrassend beeld van de demografie in de 21ste eeuw. Hoewel geschreven vanuit een Amerikaans-joods perspectief geeft hij toch enkele interessante feiten en analyses.

Er is wel een vreemde ondertoon te bemerken wanneer hij schrijft dat christelijke landen die zichzelf als "uitverkoren door God" zagen (Spanje, Frankrijk, Duitsland, etc.) nu allemaal op de rand van de demografische afgrond en ultiem verdwijning bevinden in de volgende eeuw, in tegenstelling tot Israël dat tegen
Jun 17, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing
Mark Steyn explained the threat of Islam. David Goldman explains why Islam is threatening but no real threat in the long term. Besides this, the book is a rundown on current demographic trends and what they mean for the world over the next century. There are many surprises. A MUST READ.
Jun 10, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting thoughts on How Civilizations Die, although the subtitle should be a clue describing a large part of the book, as the author looks at what he sees as the coming population collapse of countries such as Turkey and Iran. He claims that rich countries such as Western Europe may be able to barely, and through sacrifice, cope with a largely senior population by the middle of this century, but poorer countries like Iran will be unable to cope.

One problem I had with the second US President
E. Kahn
Apr 12, 2015 E. Kahn rated it it was ok
Fertility-obsessed maniac. The book gets a second star as a special award for most creative use of non sequiturs in a purportedly serious work.

Leandro Guimarães Faria Corcete DUTRA
Augustinian geopolitical realism by a modern orthodox Jew. What a ride!
Feb 26, 2014 Sean rated it liked it
Overall the book was a good read, and I would recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in world affairs, history and/or religion. Most of the good stuff is in the demographic information he provides and in his exploration of the topic of faith, fertility and their relationship in cultures. Minus one star for his annoying foreign policy sermons and minus another star for the pervasive use of C.E. and B.C.E., which I consider to be a sign of mental retardation.
Aug 13, 2015 Denise rated it liked it
"The separation of sexuality from procreation in Greek culture helps explain the terrible demographic decay that Greece would suffer during the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E." -p. 123

"As soon as the constraints of traditional society fell away, the Athenians stopped raising children." -p. 125

If the noble and prosperous Athens couldn't survive this common historical trend, what makes us think we can?
Jan 14, 2015 Pieter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politiek
I have a bit of mixed feeling about this book. I am very thrilled about the critism on Islam which I share with the author. Next to that, his analysis on falling fertility rates in both Europe and the Middle East are an eye-opener. I think he is right to point the reason at the retreat of christianity and rise of rationalism. Although I do not agree that nationalism helped to bring down to fertility rates too.

The least one can say is that the author is kind fond of USA and Israel. He supports a
Sep 30, 2014 Daniel rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, christianity
Goldman's analysis echoes Patrick Buchanan's in The Death of the West. The plight of the Muslim world was new to me, however, and gives the lie to the idea that Islam is going to take the world by storm simply by virtue of its birthrate. In fact, Islam seems to wither when it comes into contact with modernity, far more so than Christianity.

I highly recommend this book, but not every aspect of the author's interpretation of Christianity. I don't know Goldman's religious leanings, but his discuss
Gabriel Kagan
Jan 14, 2015 Gabriel Kagan rated it really liked it
Definitely an interesting look at theories of demographic collapse, although not all of its predictions have come true. My greatest issue with this book is its failure to consider that the problems it discusses may be fixed or rendered irrelevant by rapid developments in technology. Then again, who knows how receptive any country will be to potential posthumanity?
John Schneider
I really can find no fault in this excellent work on demographics and the current political order. David Goldman attempts in this work to understand both American politics and Islamic politics from their own perspectives. He grounds his observations in demographics noting that Muslim birthrates are quickly declining. He wants to know why societies cease to have enough children to replace or expand their populations. He concludes that societies give up when they loose their faith. Since American ...more
Jun 15, 2015 Joostnixon rated it really liked it
Hmmmm.... Recommended by a bunch of pastors, and I am glad I read it. On my second time listening to the audio. Find myself telling others about it in a wide range of conversations. Especially intriguing when considered in light of a postmill eschatology.
Aug 07, 2015 G rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthropology
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2016 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It puts together Kuyper's observation that culture is religion externalized and the observation that demography is destiny. A huge sweep of history is involved from ancient times to the present. The last chapter contains the author's foreign policy prescriptions for the US.
Earl Solper
Jan 17, 2012 Earl Solper rated it really liked it
David P. Goldman (who writes for the Asia Times Online as Spengler) examines the inverted population pyramids of most of the industrial countries, the present tendency of Islamic countries to follow that trend to depopulation and cultural extinction, and speculates on why the demographics of the United States are so different.

He begins each section with one of "Spengler's Universal Laws" (which are amusing, subversive, and a little depressing), then provides statistics to support his assertions.
Mar 07, 2016 Jerry rated it really liked it
Fascinating book on how cultures die, often via suicide, from lack of hope and thus fruitlessness. A really encouraging and thought provoking read.
Sep 14, 2015 Bradford rated it really liked it
Somewhat repetitive, but easy to follow and well-referenced. A good mix of political science and demography for a novice like myself.
D. Ryan
Jun 30, 2016 D. Ryan rated it it was amazing
A really excellent overview of what is going on in the world these days. I recommend this book for its fresh look on the importance of religion in history and current politics.
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David Paul ‘Spengler’ Goldman is an economist, music critic, and author, best known for his series of online essays in the Asia Times under the pseudonym Spengler. As a religious Jew, Goldman says that he writes from a Judeo-Christian perspective and often focuses on demographic and economic factors in his analyses; he says his subject matter proceeds "from the theme formulated by [Franz] Rosenzwe ...more
More about David P. Goldman...

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“Cultures that do not wish to exist cannot be dissuaded from destroying themselves.” 3 likes
“No Arab country produces graduates who can compete with their East Asian counterparts; the only Muslim country whose graduates meet world standards is Turkey. University graduates throughout the Arab world have miserable prospects. “The average unemployment rate for the age group 15-24 years in the Group of Arab Countries reaches to 30%, compared with an average rate of world 14.4%,” according to the Arab Labor Organization. “Problem [sic] of high unemployment rates among the educated graduates from universities and colleges, which reaches to 26.8% in Morocco and 19.3% in Algeria, 17.7 % in Jordan. It was noted that 94% of the unemployed in the Arab Republic of Egypt are in the age group 15-29 years, reflecting a lack of consistency of education plans to the needs of the Labor market.”9” 0 likes
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