Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
As an aside, I feel like this book, along with Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond and After Tamerlane by John Darwin are a great start to understanding how we got to where we are - or at least up to the early 20th Century.

In short: Diamond explains how Eurasia outpaced the other continents from the Neolithic to the 15th century. He also gives some pointers to the rise of Europe after the 15th century.

Weatherford explains how Asia grew and Europe tagged along in the Middle Ages until the Black Death fatally wounded the greatest Asian Empire.

Darwin (John, not Charles!) helps us understand how Western Europe came to dominate the competition between the various Empires that existed and rose up in the period from the 15th century into the 20th century.

All of them give a nuanced view, with due reference to geography, resources and luck that Ferguson and his ideological tribe refuse to acknowledge.

I hope to write a proper piece on all that one day.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri May 10th, 2013 at 12:47:24 PM EST
I got Diamond's engrossing GG&S on my shelf, but will now have to add John Darwin and Weatherford. Never came round to move beyond the 15th century so far, got distracted first by the significance of Alexander the Great and his conquests, and then, interest piqued, moved into the Persian empire(s). Which fell off the wagon when I moved to Africa where I discovered that most of what I had learned about Africa was completely unfounded. I sort of should do China next, already half expecting that it will be the same epiphany all over again.

I still do not want to read Ferguson, even though I'll have to at some point. I'll wait for that piece of you first, and that'll be my excuse.

by Bjinse on Fri May 10th, 2013 at 04:23:18 PM EST
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There's also ReOrient by Andre Gunder Frank ... its important to remember that while Europe is growing faster than East Asia when Voltaire is writing, its not yet wealthier than East Asia ... that the great trading fortunes of the 1600's and 1700's are based on taking New World silver to finance a stake in the East Asian carrying trade. It is in the 1800's that Europe advances in the Eurasian trading system from the position of rapidly growing semi-peripheral economy to core economy.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed May 15th, 2013 at 11:37:32 PM EST
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