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From Plato to NATO: The Idea of the West and Its Opponents

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  38 ratings  ·  4 reviews
An in-depth intellectual history of the Western idea and a passionate defense of its importance to America's future, From Plato to NATO is the first book to make sense of the legacy of the West at a time when it is facing its greatest challenges. Readers of Francis Fukuyama, John Gray, Samuel Huntington, and other analysts of the dilemmas of Western nations in the twenty-f ...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published May 19th 2004 by Free Press (first published July 13th 1998)
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Chris Reichman
Jul 17, 2007 Chris Reichman rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People with time
This is an excellent book following the attempts of Western Culture to define itself. It is especially concentrated on the period from the rise of Germany on when the prevalence of media allowed people to conciously form or change what the general populace thought of as its national identity. It is especially good in examining how leaders in Germany and America very intentionally structured education and locla literature to form distinctly German and American national identities.

The stopping poi
Fred R
Don't be put off by the schlocky airport bookstore title; David Gress by and large (although not without a few exceptions) manages to avoid the breezy, information-lite tone predicted by it. It's a book about Western History and Western Historiography, with the goal of correcting our understanding of how the West became the West (the origin of its virtues, etc). His biggest enemy is the comfortable Great Books consensus view, which, in drawing a direct line of descent between Greek Rationalism a ...more
David S
Gress argues an interesting point: the Western world, particularly the democratic society of the United States, is not a direct descendant of ancient Greece. He argues his point convincingly, but I have two major problems with the book, both of which have to do with writing style. First, it is a long book that doesn't hold the reader's attention well, meaning that it takes a very long time to get through it unless you're well-practiced at skimming. Second, Gress comes across as being both concei ...more
A good introductory source for some of the most influential minds from Western Civilisation.
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