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Worlds at War: The 2,500-year Struggle Between East and West

Worlds at War: The 2,500-year Struggle Between East and West

Escrito por Anthony Pagden

Narrado por John Lee


Worlds at War: The 2,500-year Struggle Between East and West

Escrito por Anthony Pagden

Narrado por John Lee

avaliações:
4/5 (41 avaliações)
Comprimento:
20 horas
Editora:
Lançado em:
Mar 25, 2008
ISBN:
9781400176298
Formato:
Audiolivro

Descrição

In the tradition of Jared Diamond and Jacques Barzun, prize-winning historian Anthony Pagden presents a sweeping history of the long struggle between East and West, from the Greeks to the present day.



The relationship between East and West has always been one of turmoil. In this historical tour de force, a renowned historian leads us from the world of classical antiquity, through the Dark Ages, to the Crusades, Europe's resurgence, and the dominance of the Ottoman Empire, which almost shattered Europe entirely. Pagden travels from Napoleon in Egypt to Europe's carving up of the finally moribund Ottomans-creating the modern Middle East along the way-and on to the present struggles in Iraq.



Throughout we learn a tremendous amount about what "East" and "West" were and are, and how it has always been competing worldviews and psychologies, more than religion or power grabs, that have fed the mistrust and violence between East and West. In Pagden's dark but provocative view, this struggle cannot help but go on.
Editora:
Lançado em:
Mar 25, 2008
ISBN:
9781400176298
Formato:
Audiolivro


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41 avaliações / 6 Análises
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Avaliações de leitores

  • (4/5)
    Very informative, the author lates out many examples and facts allowing the reader to gain a Broader perspective of the eastern and western mindset.

    Worth a read or listen
  • (4/5)
    Detailed historic and interesting perspective of East v West. With that, there is a clear anti-Christian , if not anti-religion bias. Informative nonetheless.
  • (3/5)
    I have very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, the author clearly took some liberties with the interpretation of the historical facts, but, at the same time, I guess it's his right to do that considering this is his book. On the other hand, parts that deal with more recent history (chapters about Napoleon and on) are extremely well written and gave me a lot to think about.
  • (5/5)
    Great book
    the author really helps explain why and how different civilizations rose and fell.
  • (3/5)

    1 pessoa achou isso útil

    Pagden starts the history of the conflict between East and West with the Greeks and the Persians. From there he winds the story through its eponymous 2500 year journey to the present. Within the book is a wide scope of history, due to the breadth of information, Pagden sacrifices a level of detail that was necessary to keep me interested. Also, although it is hard to say whether it is due to the actual history, or a Western-biased author, there are moments that cause the reader to pause and determine if Pagden's own opinion is leaking into the book.The book is well written, but lacks a certain eclat necessary for a higher rating. Overall, Worlds at War is a well written history that serves as a basic primer on the story of East and West.

    1 pessoa achou isso útil

  • (4/5)

    3 pessoas acharam isso útil

    This is a very thorough book on how the East and West understood one another for the last 2,500 years. By "East", Pagden means western Asia, roughly the Middle-East, rather than the east Asia, which is the more fashionable topic recently. He starts with the Greeks and the Persians, whom he sees as the fathers (or great grandfathers) of Europe and the Middle East, respectively. While he discusses diplomacy and wars at length, the largest emphasis goes to intellectuals who try to understand the other side. He discusses how the Greeks contrasted themselves to the despotism of the Persians and how the Persians could not understand the disunity and squabbling of the Greeks. As he goes forward, he looks at the Romans and then the Byzantines dealing the Parthians and Sassanids. In most cases, the battles were largely about power, controlling land and trade, but were cloaked in cultural superiority and morality.The situation changed dramatically with the rise of Islam in the 600's. The Persians were quickly defeated and Islam started a dramatic expansion that wouldn't be check for a few centuries and wouldn't be reversed for almost a millennium. He discusses the development of early Islam and the power struggles within it after the Prophet's death, but again he likes to focus on how Islamic scholars understood Christians. Early on, they made little effort to do so. Christians were just another group of people to be conquered. As expansion slowed near Constantinople and in Al-Andalus, Muslim scholars found more interest. Al-Andalus, in particular, became a hotbed of scholarship, with Muslims, Christians and Jews collaborating on research and writing. The religious dividing lines took centuries to develop there, which allowed for a much more comprehensive understanding of one another. Across the Pyrenees, however, knowledge of Islam was much weaker. Instead, Islam was viewed as a terrible enemy and victories against it (like the Battle of Tours), were seen monumental victories over an extremely powerful and evil enemy. Tours itself was more of an excursion for Muslim forces and was definitely not an expedition of conquest, but the Franks portrayed it as the pivotal moment in turning back the heathens. (The siege of Vienna would get a similar treatment, despite lasting only a very short time.) Christians were the ones who drew the strong lines between themselves and Muslims (and Jews) as the reconquered Spain.As he Pagden discusses the Crusades, he looks at why they were launched, which he says was a power play by the Vatican, and what effects they had. From a conquest standpoint, they were a failure, managing to take back parts of the Holy Land, but only holding it for a century after which all other Crusades failed to regain any territory. But it nudged Europeans to a collective identity against the Muslims, although this would never fully form. And it stimulated trade and the flow of ideas, which helped spark the Renaissance. It also undercut the already floundering Byzantine empire, paving the way for its eventual conquest.As he gets to modern times and decline of the Ottomans, Pagden shows the development of the major divide between East and West, as he sees it. The divide in Western Europe between civil law and religious law has been developing for centuries, but was blown apart first by the Protestant Reformation and then by the European Enlightenment. As Europeans gained more power in the Middle East, they tried to impose this divide on the Muslim world. They saw European society as better because of it wealth, science and military power, so Muslims should want to imitate it. Muslims, however, see no divide between civil law and Allah's word, so there is little room for a separation of church and state. This brings Pagden to his final question, which is the Middle East so unstable and poor. He doesn't offer a firm answer, but does dispute that western style democracy will be the cure all answer. He argues that there is no tradition of loyal opposition in the region, so losing side feels completely alienated and immediately resists the winner. He argues that it is possible to have democracy there without it being western style. One of the most telling lines in the book came almost at the end when he writes that those who have faith in democracy can't imagine that something better might eventually come along, just like those who believed in other forms of government through the millennia. This book is very good. It is very well-written, which would make it an easy read were it not so long. He has tons of long quotes from intellectuals, which are interesting, but can wear on the reader. If you've got reading stamina, I highly recommend it someone interested in a long view of the Middle East and how it and Europe have interacted.

    3 pessoas acharam isso útil