Download The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community; with by William H. McNeill PDF

By William H. McNeill

The upward push of the West, winner of the nationwide ebook Award for background in 1964, is legendary for its formidable scope and highbrow rigor. In it, McNeill demanding situations the Spengler-Toynbee view variety of separate civilizations pursued basically self sufficient careers, and argues in its place that human cultures interacted at each level in their background. the writer means that from the Neolithic beginnings of grain agriculture to the current significant social alterations in all components of the area have been prompted through new or newly very important international stimuli, and he offers a persuasive narrative of global background to aid this claim.

In a retrospective essay titled "The upward thrust of the West after Twenty-five Years," McNeill exhibits how his ebook used to be formed by the point and position within which it was once written (1954-63). He discusses how historiography for that reason built and indicates how his portrait of the world's previous within the upward push of the West will be revised to mirror those changes.

"This is not just the main realized and the main clever, it's also the main stimulating and engaging e-book that has ever got down to recount and clarify the entire historical past of mankind. . . . To learn it's a nice adventure. It leaves echoes to reverberate, and seeds to germinate within the mind."—H. R. Trevor-Roper, New York occasions publication overview

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Example text

Turks and Mongols come galloping over the horizon from the East—suddenly, and, so to speak, mysteriously, though I did note the system of bureaucratic management that made Genghis Khan’s armies so formidable. Nonetheless, I failed to connect the remarkable upsurge of nomad power with the fact that the new bureaucratic methods of military administration that the Mongols employed were a straightforward borrowing from Chinese practice. As a result, I overlooked the ultimate disturber of world balances in the era itself: that is, an efflorescence of Chinese civilization that raised China’s culture, wealth, and power to a new level, far outstripping all the rest of the world for a period of four to five centuries.

To make this a feasible enterprise, one needs a clear and distinct idea of the emergent world system as manifested first in the ancient Middle East and a second time in the modern world, and then one must reflect on how these two systems intersected with the more local civilizational and cultural landscapes they impinged upon. It does not follow that the two world systems were the same. Clearly, insofar as each depended on an expanding network of transport and communications, the technical base differed very markedly.

The result, of course, was improved skills and a great increase in wealth for society as a whole. One register was a near doubling of China’s population under the Sung dynasty. Another was the fact the Chinese artisanal skills began to surpass those of the rest of the world. Silk, porcelain, gunpowder, and shipbuilding were among the more important examples of Chinese superiority, but there were many others. Busy chaffering in innumerable marketplaces and an enormous flotilla of canal boats kept goods in circulation and allowed surpluses of one region to be exchanged for surpluses produced elsewhere with a reliability and efficiency that had never been possible before.

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