A review of Why the West Rules–for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future, by Ian Morris and Civilization: The West and the Rest, by Niall Ferguson

Ian Morris’s new book is important, less for its intellectual content (though it provides some stimulating provocations) than its likely influence. Jacketed with prestigious endorsements and written with a lively insouciance, it clearly aims at winning more than just History Book Club kudos. Why the West Rules is laid out as a textbook, giving a chronological account with tons of picturesque detail of the history of Europe, the Middle East, and China (India receives rather short shrift). World history courses are a growth industry at the college level, and my guess

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