The Idea of Decline in Western History

Author: Arthur Herman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781451603132
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Historian Arthur Herman traces the roots of declinism and shows how major thinkers, past and present, have contributed to its development as a coherent ideology of cultural pessimism. From Nazism to the Sixties counterculture, from Britain's Fabian socialists to America's multiculturalists, and from Dracula and Freud to Robert Bly and Madonna, this work examines the idea of decline in Western history and sets out to explain how the conviction of civilization's inevitable end has become a fixed part of the modern Western imagination. Through a series of biographical portraits spanning the 19th and 20th centuries, the author traces the roots of declinism and aims to show how major thinkers of the past and present, including Nietzsche, DuBois, Sartre, and Foucault, have contributed to its development as a coherent ideology of cultural pessimism.

The Idea of Decline in Western History

Author: Arthur Herman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 0684827913
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Looks at individuals associated with theories of the West's decline, and discusses the impact these theories have on the way we view modern problems, including the environment and race relations

The Decline of the West

Author: Oswald Spengler
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780195066340
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Spengler's work describes how we have entered into a centuries-long "world-historical" phase comparable to late antiquity, and his controversial ideas spark debate over the meaning of historiography.

Civilization

Author: Niall Ferguson
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101548029
Format: PDF, ePub
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From the bestselling author of The Ascent of Money and The Square and the Tower Western civilization’s rise to global dominance is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five centuries. How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed? Acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson argues that beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts, or “killer applications”—competition, science, the rule of law, modern medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic—that the Rest lacked, allowing it to surge past all other competitors. Yet now, Ferguson shows how the Rest have downloaded the killer apps the West once monopolized, while the West has literally lost faith in itself. Chronicling the rise and fall of empires alongside clashes (and fusions) of civilizations, Civilization: The West and the Rest recasts world history with force and wit. Boldly argued and teeming with memorable characters, this is Ferguson at his very best.

How the Scots Invented the Modern World

Author: Arthur Herman
Publisher: Broadway Books
ISBN: 9780307420954
Format: PDF, Mobi
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An exciting account of the origins of the modern world Who formed the first literate society? Who invented our modern ideas of democracy and free market capitalism? The Scots. As historian and author Arthur Herman reveals, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Scotland made crucial contributions to science, philosophy, literature, education, medicine, commerce, and politics—contributions that have formed and nurtured the modern West ever since. Herman has charted a fascinating journey across the centuries of Scottish history. Here is the untold story of how John Knox and the Church of Scotland laid the foundation for our modern idea of democracy; how the Scottish Enlightenment helped to inspire both the American Revolution and the U.S. Constitution; and how thousands of Scottish immigrants left their homes to create the American frontier, the Australian outback, and the British Empire in India and Hong Kong. How the Scots Invented the Modern World reveals how Scottish genius for creating the basic ideas and institutions of modern life stamped the lives of a series of remarkable historical figures, from James Watt and Adam Smith to Andrew Carnegie and Arthur Conan Doyle, and how Scottish heroes continue to inspire our contemporary culture, from William “Braveheart” Wallace to James Bond. And no one who takes this incredible historical trek will ever view the Scots—or the modern West—in the same way again.

The Cave and the Light

Author: Arthur Herman
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0553907832
Format: PDF, ePub
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Arthur Herman has now written the definitive sequel to his New York Times bestseller, How the Scots Invented the Modern World, and extends the themes of the book—which sold half a million copies worldwide—back to the ancient Greeks and forward to the age of the Internet. The Cave and the Light is a magisterial account of how the two greatest thinkers of the ancient world, Plato and Aristotle, laid the foundations of Western culture—and how their rivalry shaped the essential features of our culture down to the present day. Plato came from a wealthy, connected Athenian family and lived a comfortable upper-class lifestyle until he met an odd little man named Socrates, who showed him a new world of ideas and ideals. Socrates taught Plato that a man must use reason to attain wisdom, and that the life of a lover of wisdom, a philosopher, was the pinnacle of achievement. Plato dedicated himself to living that ideal and went on to create a school, his famed Academy, to teach others the path to enlightenment through contemplation. However, the same Academy that spread Plato’s teachings also fostered his greatest rival. Born to a family of Greek physicians, Aristotle had learned early on the value of observation and hands-on experience. Rather than rely on pure contemplation, he insisted that the truest path to knowledge is through empirical discovery and exploration of the world around us. Aristotle, Plato’s most brilliant pupil, thus settled on a philosophy very different from his instructor’s and launched a rivalry with profound effects on Western culture. The two men disagreed on the fundamental purpose of the philosophy. For Plato, the image of the cave summed up man’s destined path, emerging from the darkness of material existence to the light of a higher and more spiritual truth. Aristotle thought otherwise. Instead of rising above mundane reality, he insisted, the philosopher’s job is to explain how the real world works, and how we can find our place in it. Aristotle set up a school in Athens to rival Plato’s Academy: the Lyceum. The competition that ensued between the two schools, and between Plato and Aristotle, set the world on an intellectual adventure that lasted through the Middle Ages and Renaissance and that still continues today. From Martin Luther (who named Aristotle the third great enemy of true religion, after the devil and the Pope) to Karl Marx (whose utopian views rival Plato’s), heroes and villains of history have been inspired and incensed by these two master philosophers—but never outside their influence. Accessible, riveting, and eloquently written, The Cave and the Light provides a stunning new perspective on the Western world, certain to open eyes and stir debate. Praise for The Cave and the Light “A sweeping intellectual history viewed through two ancient Greek lenses . . . breezy and enthusiastic but resting on a sturdy rock of research.”—Kirkus Reviews “Examining mathematics, politics, theology, and architecture, the book demonstrates the continuing relevance of the ancient world.”—Publishers Weekly “A fabulous way to understand over two millennia of history, all in one book.”—Library Journal “Entertaining and often illuminating.”—The Wall Street Journal From the Hardcover edition.

From Dawn to Decadence

Author: Jacques Barzun
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780007115501
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The product of the author's lifetime, this powerful narrative, insterrsperses the author's analysis of wars, philosophy, science, manners, sex, religion, morals, art, et al, from the Reformation to the present day, with biographical sketches of influential historical figures. His conclusion is that the decadence of the current age is merely a watershed for a new age in which Western culture will again flourish.

The Fate of the West

Author: Bill Emmott
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN: 1782832998
Format: PDF, ePub
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When faced with global instability and economic uncertainty, it is tempting for states to react by closing borders, hoarding wealth and solidifying power. We have seen it at various times in Japan, France and Italy and now it is infecting much of Europe and America, as the vote for Brexit in the UK has vividly shown. This insularity, together with increased inequality of income and wealth, threatens the future role of the West as a font of stability, prosperity and security. Part of the problem is that the principles of liberal democracy upon which the success of the West has been built have been suborned, with special interest groups such as bankers accruing too much power and too great a share of the economic cake. So how is this threat to be countered? States such as Sweden in the 1990s, California at different times or Britain under Thatcher all halted stagnation by clearing away the powers of interest groups and restoring their societies' ability to evolve. To survive, the West needs to be porous, open and flexible. From reinventing welfare systems to redefining the working age, from reimagining education to embracing automation, Emmott lays out the changes the West must make to revive itself in the moment and avoid a deathly rigid future.

Last in Their Class

Author: James Robbins
Publisher: Encounter Books
ISBN: 1594039240
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Today’s Goat, the celebrated West Point cadet finishing at the bottom of his class, carries on a long and storied tradition. George Custer’s contemporaries at the Academy believed that the same spirit of adventure that led him to “blow post” at night to carouse at local taverns also motivated his dramatic cavalry attacks in the Civil War and afterwards. And the same willingness to stoically accept punishment for his hijinks at the Academy also sent George Pickett marching into the teeth of the Union guns at Gettysburg. The story James S. Robbins tells goes from the beginnings of West Point through the carnage of the Civil War to the grassy bluffs over the Little Big Horn. The Goats he profiles tell us much about the soul of the American solider, his daring, imagination and desire to prove himself against high odds.

At the End of an Age

Author: John Lukacs
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300101614
Format: PDF, Docs
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This compelling book is a deeply informed reflection on the nature of historical and scientific knowledge. Renowned historian John Lukacs asserts that now, even at the end of the modern age, our understanding of the universe is based on what we fallible human beings have imagined and defined in a historical continuum; it is religion that is the source of the highest form of knowledge.