*Why the West Rules — For Now*, the new book by Ian Morris

Most of the book is intelligent, well-sourced, easy to read, and non-dogmatic.  It is a "big book" on the scale of Jared Diamond or Paul Kennedy and the author is obviously highly intelligent.  There is a good use of archaeology and mostly the author supports geographical theories of the rise of the West and other civilizations.  It considers energy use, urbanization, and war-making explicitly, all pluses in my view.  Eventually you realize it is going nowhere and has only a weak theoretical framework.  The first two-thirds are still better to read than most books.  It raised my opinion of the importance of coal in the Industrial Revolution.  The final chapter collapses into the lamest of conventional wisdoms.

The WSJ gave it a big review which somehow I cannot find on-line.  Here are other reviews.


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