Bob Reed's Reviews > Why the West Rules—for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future

Why the West Rules—for Now by Ian Morris
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M 50x66
's review
Jul 16, 2011

really liked it
Read in June, 2011

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-old debate in history: is the fate of civilizations pre-determined ("locked-in") due to geographical and climate forces; or do exceptional men/women/civilizations have the ability to alter human destiny? Not surprisingly, the answers are yes and yes, but where just to draw the line between the two theories keeps, and will keep, historians active for several millenia. Interesting twist to the book: Despite pitching the book as a predition about the future, in the end Morris throws it all out the window due to Kurzweil's "singularity" point. Can't say anymore or the spoiler police will come and arrest me. Good read!
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