- Taschenbuch: 444 Seiten
- Verlag: Liberty Fund Inc; Auflage: 2 Rev ed. (1. Januar 1979)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0913966576
- ISBN-13: 978-0913966570
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15 x 2,8 x 22,6 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 55.285 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Januar 1979
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"The only book that improves on and develops Toynbees work. ... The very best work of its kind I have read in a very long time."
A comprehensive and perceptive look at the factors behind the rise and fall of civilizations. Quigley defines a civilization as "a producing society with an instrument of expansion". A civilization's decline is not inevitable but occurs when its instrument of expansion is transformed into an institution-that is, when social arrangements that meet real social needs are transformed into social institutions serving their own purposes regardless of real social needs.
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The great value of this work is that it goes beyond the mere "what happeneds" and "who did whats." Quigley asks the much more important and valuable question: "how." How do new civilizations come into being? How do they change? How do they die? (And the unspoken echo: What will happen to our own civilization?)
Because he was trained as a scientist, Quigley proceeds to develop a methodological basis for answering that question of "how." He then demonstrates the soundness of that method by examining the great civilizations of history, pointing out not just the forms they took but _how_ they came to take those particular forms.
That makes this book sound pretty dry. It's not. One of the charms of Quigley's writing is his obvious impatience with what he considered to be "wrong" ideas. At some points, he's downright grumpy. Yet he never gives the impression of disagreeing from personal reasons; instead, every one of his views that he asserts as likely true is shown to be supported by the available evidence. It's actually great fun trying to guess what respected belief he'll casually demolish next. (Though it's a bit unsettling when its one's own ox being gored, as Quigley didn't play favorites. Getting the most out of this book will call for real objectivity.)
To be more specific about this work, it's one that should appeal to anyone who is more concerned with understanding systems as a whole than with how to win some short-term game or just memorize names and dates.Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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This book makes a major contribution to the study of civilizations, previously the preserve of writers of a literary or philosophical bent. Quigley was through and through a scientist who strove to analyze the rise and fall of civilizations and develop explanations of their dynamics that went well beyond the descriptive treatments of Toynbee and others.
Quigley's seven stages of the rise and fall of civilizations, his six dimensions of analysis (military, political, economic, social, religious, and intellectual), and his application of the concept of institutionalization of once-productive "instruments" of society to explaining the stages of Expansion and Conflict are superior to any competing framework of analysis I have encountered. They deserve careful scrutiny for what they can tell us about the interaction of civilizations in our globalizing world.
I found especially interesting Quigley's analysis of how climate change shaped prehistorical population movements, his discussion of the philosophical struggles of classical antiquity, and his explanation of the economic factors driving European expansion and conflict.
That this book has never received much attention from professional historians should not surprise us. Quigley was operating in a mode that led him to diverge from the mainstream and to upset more than a few specialists.
While this book certainly contains high value for students of world history, its teachings can be applied in other fields as well. I have found the analytical techniques and the explanation of science and epistemology in this book repeatedly fruitful in my own historical, scientific, and criminal detective work.
For more on Quigley, try a Google or Yahoo search under "Carroll Quigley: Theorist of Civilizations".
In this work, Carroll Quigley has successfully found and supported what I believe is a legitimate 'eighth sphere', a means of assessing history according to Aristotelian standards. This is no small feat. Had this book been written in any other point of history, Quigley would have been heralded as one of the great philosophers. But alas, he wrote this book precisely at the very moment when The Philosophy was breathing its last.
If you are dismayed at the direction of modern society, take time and find the collected works of Fr. Celestine Biddle, read them, and then take in the fine wine of this book and see how society might have been had Quigley showed up sooner.
Well before Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs and Steel" Carroll Quigley was teaching Ancient History to young students at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He was not only a brilliant researcher, analyst, writer and lecturer on history and historical processes, but also a gifted instructor, who left his students with a memorable set of frameworks, tools, stories, examples and anecdotes that many carry with them for the rest of their lives. It's this latter quality that undoubtedly led President Clinton to name Quigley as one of the three people who most influenced his thinking... though I'm afraid Bill forgot a lot. (Another Clinton favorite, the late Professor Walter Giles, also taught at the School of Foreign Service.)
Even Quigley's tests were memorable. What other history prof, for example, would challenge his students as follows: "Imagine you are in the Athenian forum on a marketday morning in 450 BC. Look around you and tell me what you see.")
You've gotta love an instructor that good.