Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival” as Want to Read:
The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  448 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Paperback, 52 pages
Published April 1978 by William Blackwood and Sons, Ltd.
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Alex Brown Clicking that link in the other answer gave me a malware warning, so I'm assuming it's bad. Here's where I found it. The last page ends with the heade…moreClicking that link in the other answer gave me a malware warning, so I'm assuming it's bad. Here's where I found it. The last page ends with the header "summary," so I'm assuming it's the end of the book. I think the online version is 2 pages for every 1 page of the print version. Hope this helps.
Wendy Wisniewski Thank you so very much for the link!! It does seem to be scrubbed from the internet..

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  448 ratings  ·  75 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival
Nick Burchett
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, favorites
An interesting thesis that should be sobering to any current world empire, including the United States. Some may think his generalization not sufficient for supporting his thesis, but I would disagree in that what he does present is part of our historical record and it's exactly because of the things he mentions that a revisionist point of view of the history of empires does not do it justice. He makes a very valid point that "We do not learn from history because our studies are brief and prejud ...more
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
I've got to admit, John Glubb's observations were quite striking. I was blown away by its relevance for today. It's not PC at times, but that does not concern me.

My major criticism with this book, is the nonexistent references. There is no way that I can verify this to be an accurate book. For all I know, it could be an attempt for Glubb to cunningly push his political ideology...
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"XXXIX Summary
As numerous points of interest have arisen
in the course of this essay, I close with a brief summary, to refresh the reader’s mind.
(a) We do not learn from history because our studies are brief and prejudiced.
(b) In a surprising manner, 250 years emerges as the average length of national greatness.
(c) This average has not varied for 3,000 years. Does it represent ten generations?
(d) The stages of the rise and fall of great nations seem to be:
The Age of Pioneers (outburst) The Age of
C. Drying
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it

There are a couple of reasons I was interested in reading this essay. I first learned about it while watching a YouTube video on the Forward Observer channel where mention of some of its content resonated with my ever-increasing concerns about the decline of Western Civilization. This combined with the fact that America is a few years away from being 250-years old and, according to Sir John Glubb, great empires (or superpowers) tend to rise and fall within a 250-year
Nathaniel Durgasingh
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book speaks on the great empires of our ancestors and their steady decline and fall. Its damning that history has (once again) shown us that nothing is new under the sun. The unfortunate thing is that many of the ideologies and things done during the decline of an empire is taking place presently in the West.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The only thing we learn from history, is that men never learn from history.”
An excellent reading of how empires and civilizations collapse and their general timeframe. Those interested in civilizational collapse or apocalypse literature may find this a short interesting read. Essentially the book is made up of two long essays.

Caveat, multiculturalists, feminists, cultural materialists/marxists, post-structuralists/critical theorists, and globalists may be put off by this book...just saying...

Also, the book was published back in 1977/8 so the data is old and the cultur
Alec Birri
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When it comes to understanding the human condition, Glubb is well up there with the likes of Socrates, Yung and Orwell in my opinion.

Western civilisation is no different to any other empire, state, society, plant, animal or human being for that matter - a cradle to grave existence.

Contrary to popular belief, the Roman Empire didn't end because of war, invasion, population displacement or an uprising; the seeds of its demise had been sown long before - by a combination of guilt, self-loathing and
There is so many 'wow' moments in this short read. Well worth the effort. The copy I read didn't have any citations - I wish it had, because some of the stuff in here I've never heard before. Who would have thought 9th century Bagdad looked a whole lot like 21st century United States. Sounds like we're in for a wild ride!

"For history to have meaning, it must be the history of the human race."

"Ten generations of human beings suffice to transform the hardy and enterprising pioneer into the capt
Chris Doran
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mr glubb's offensive anti-intellectualism and disdain for freedom is repugnant to me. If i want to spend all day eating cheese-its and masturbating to children's pony cartoons why shouldn't i? it's my right to do so and you can't stop me. society is better now than it has ever been. thank you obummer. ...more
Douglas Wilson
Mar 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: culture-studies
Very good. Also read in October of 1982.
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A worthy discovery...
Wissam Raji
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Very interesting book about the overall assessment of empires and what led to their decadence. The author argues that wealth is one of the factors that lead to that. Wealth is an individualistic gain that turn the focus of people from common good and social caring into personal benefit. Other than wealth, the author seems to present the conservative values as the ones protecting empires from decay. Weakening of religiosity, high immigration rate and unbalanced diversity, the welfare state in add ...more
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Funny, how the average life of an empire is around 215 years, and it starts as hard working, filled with energy, and then selfishness, material greed, lack of morals and religion, decadence and reliance on welfare state same as influx of immigrants kill it. The patterns throughout history are all the same. I wonder, why can't we limit our desire for luxuries and return to more puritan quaker type of thinking. Intelligence, self reliance, meaningful work, physical exercise, lots of books and lear ...more
Apr 12, 2021 rated it did not like it
Absolute trash. A raging rubbish fire. Among innumerable problems, Rome did not fall because of a 'welfare state', nor did the British Empire. You are not just the clown, you are the entire circus, you buffoon. ...more
Michele Herrera
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
EVERYONE should read this.
Roman Baiduk
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this short book written not by a historian-academician, a man who only studies history, but rather by the historian-practitioner, a person who indeed personally made a dent on the course of the XX century.

Sir John Bagot Glubb, you really should look him up in case you never heard this name before. A warrior and a politician he was genuinely interested in the course of the human race history. He did a lot of research and presented his disquisition in this short but very informati
Rock Angel
Dunno if this site is safe (file is 26 pages long instead of 52):


A British General who spent >1/4 century in the middle east from late 1920's became a prolific writer on the Arab culture: Bedouins with whom he had first hand experience, the empire's history, religion, military etc.

Author's bio from
"After WW1, Glubb became an Arabist. Resigning his British army commission in 1926 to become an administrator for the Iraqi government, he li
Aravind Raamkumar
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
This essay can be compared to an executive summary of a doctoral dissertation about the stages of different empires in the history of mankind. Glubb's military background is pretty much evident in his writing. Classifying empires into different ages can be a difficult proposition for any history scholar. The brilliant classification scheme put out by Glubb is the main contribution of this essay. I wouldn't be surprised if this book is part of the seminal reading collections of extreme right wing ...more
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of those books where the author doesn't just lay out a logical case but explains, proves, backs up and provides evidence for almost every line, knowing he is taking on a controversial topic.

This book is truly old-school, where a true enthusiast dedicates years to learning a topic and then writes his treatise from a place of expertise. You can hate the book (and it is a tough read), you can hate the author, you can just be a hater in general, but to disagree with any of the points so carefull
Marc Cooper
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting thesis that could be applied to a number of nations in today's world.

Other than the author neither listing nor, apparently, being aware of his own biases, and the parts that today would be considered non-PC, the biggest omission is that of any suggestion of how to break or extend the 250-year life-cycle of "Empires" (or super-states) that he identifies.

The author's bias (as a military man) truly shows when he suggests that: "Perhaps some means could be devised to prevent the activ
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
An interesting read about the rising and falling of empires. The model of the 10 generations that it introduces seems overly simplistic but the breakdown of the different ages that represent the graducal changes of focus of the empire and its people is fascinating. He is not as radical as Rousseau for example, but it is obvious that he is critical of the over-intellectualism that characterizes our age. It will probably appeal more to people who prefer right wing ideologies but it should be an in ...more
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
Short essay gleaning through the lifecycle of historical empires that the average life-span of an empire is 250 years and that it goes through six stages:


The American Empire is on its way down, there is no saving it, and that's probably for the best.
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Quick but very good read, it is available online from multiple sources and highly recommended look at the cycles of states throughout recorded history.
Oliver Bateman
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
a nice little piece of imperialist history, with some useful "big historical" claims to ruminate on ...more
Jared Tobin
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I stumbled onto this tiny book while browsing Steve Hsu's blog. It's a short read, but a powerful meditation.

Glubb's thesis is that civilizational decline follows a pattern -- that there is a tendency, over the span of roughly ten generations, for a human civilization to decline from a robust, confident, and capable character into an effete, weak, and fractious one. This proceeds over a series of 'Ages', each with its own character, and Glubb discusses each in detail.

I find the general thrust of
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very curious and thought-provoking take on how the cycle of life carries on and on. Has indeed there been no change in thirty centuries? I wonder if anyone reading this took up the author's suggestion to open a department to investigate this matter throughout all the lands...

Something to keep in mind, in any case, is the similarity of events repeating through time, some of which was illustrated in the examples of the Arabian and British realms. The ancients long ago commented on this, but too
J Landon Light
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read the Fate of Empires as a standalone PDF, so cannot speak to the Search for Survival.

Fate of Empires offers a compelling thesis about the lifespan and lifecycle of superpowers. At 26 pages, he does not offer great depth or footnotes, but the argument makes sense and seems at least to be generally accurate. Good food for thought as our superpower is well into what Glubb saw as the final stage in the life of an empire. Prepare for what is coming. Cultivate the virtues that marked the earlier
Chester Grant
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hrvoje Kamenetzky
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.”

Sir John Bagot Glubb hits the nail on the head in these two short essays by pinpointing the problems of our rapidly deteriorating societies in the age of decadence. Despite the author's effort it's quite a depressing read frankly, considering the problems he mentions have only multiplied in scale since 1977.

For anyone interested, the 2nd essay "Search For Survival" can be fou
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Industrial Society and Its Future
  • A History of Central Banking and the Enslavement of Mankind
  • No One Left to Lie to: The Values of the Worst Family
  • Technological Slavery
  • Misery
  • Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life
  • The Manipulated Man
  • The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light
  • The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering
  • Bronze Age Mindset
  • The End is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses
  • The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories
  • A Psalm Of Life (1892)
  • Surveillance Valley: The Rise of the Military-Digital Complex
  • Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past
  • Something is Killing the Children, Vol. 2
  • Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose?
  • Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology
See similar books…
Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot Glubb, KCB, CMG, DSO, OBE, MC (a.k.a. "Glubb Pasha") was a British Army officer who was for many years seconded to the Arab Legion of the Trans-Jordan (later The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan), which he ultimately commanded until dismissed by King Hussein in March 1956. He wrote many books after his retirement, primarily on the history of the Middle East and on Mili ...more

Related Articles

  Discover lots of new and upcoming nonfiction reads this season with our author interviews, articles, and book lists!   Interviews with...
25 likes · 31 comments
“Decadence is a moral and spiritual disease, resulting from too long a period of wealth and power, producing cynicism, decline of religion, pessimism and frivolity. The citizens of such a nation will no longer make an effort to save themselves, because they are not convinced that anything in life is worth saving.” 22 likes
“Perhaps the most dangerous by-product of the Age of Intellect is the unconscious growth of the idea that the human brain can solve the problems of the world. Even on the low level of practical affairs this is patently untrue. Any small human activity, the local bowls club or the ladies’ luncheon club, requires for its survival a measure of self-sacrifice and service on the part of the members. In a wider national sphere, the survival of the nation depends basically on the loyalty and self‑sacrifice of the citizens. The impression that the situation can be saved by mental cleverness, without unselfishness or human self-dedication, can only lead to collapse.” 13 likes
More quotes…