"Rise of the West" redirects here. For the process of the rise of the Western world, see Great Divergence.
The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community is a book by University of Chicago historian William H. McNeill, first published in 1963 and enlarged with a retrospective preface in 1991. It explored world history in terms of the effect different old world civilizations had on one another, and especially the deep influence of Western civilization on the rest of the world in the past 500 years. He argues that societal contact with foreign civilizations is the primary force in driving historical change. In 1964 it won the National Book Awardin History and Biography.
Part I of The Rise of the West discusses evolutionary prehistory, the breakthrough to civilization in Mesopotamia, the era of Middle Eastern dominance, and the formation of peripheral civilizations in India, Greece, and China to 500 B.C.
Part II discusses the Eurasian cultural balance to 1500 AD, including the expansion of Hellenism, the closure of the Eurasian ecumene, the development of major religions, the barbarian onslaught, resurgence of the Middle East, and steppe conquerors. McNeill proposes that the basic engine of world history during this period is the temporary primacy of different regions of the ecumene, with a rough parity reestablished as innovations spread to other centers of civilization. The sequence is Hellenistic / Indian / Islamic / Chinese and Mongol. Generally the eras are structured in terms of the internal history of the dominant region, followed by the history of the rest of the world with a focus on how they reacted to the diffusing techniques and ideas of the dominant region.
Part III examines the era of Western dominance. From 1500 to 1750 this is represented by the challenge of Western Europe to the world in a period of exploitation and colonization and the changing balance of the ecumene in the Islamic world, the Far East, and Africa. Before 1750, Western superiority is similar in scope to the primacy previously enjoyed by other regions. The book describes the "tottering balance" of older orders within Europe, European expansion and acculturation in outliers, including the Americas. The rise of the West on a cosmopolitan scale from 1750 to 1950 is described as to continued territorial expansion, industrialism, the democratic revolution, and intellectual aspects. This period marks a discontinuity: the global influence of the West expands beyond all historical parallels.
Hugh Trevor-Roper wrote a glowing review in The New York Times Book Review. McNeill's Rise of the West won the U.S. National Book Awardin History and Biography in 1964. The book also won the U.S. National Book Awardin History and Biography in 1964 and was named one of the 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the 20th century by the Modern Library. One critical response has been that the West did not rise, the East fell or withdrew.
The Rise had two major effects on historical analysis. First, it challenged the view of civilizations as independent entities subject to rise and fall as postulated by Arnold J. Toynbee and Oswald Spengler, who viewed civilizations as discrete and independent. McNeill had actually conceived of the book as a student in 1936 to counter the theses of Spengler's Decline of the West (the title The Rise of the West chosen as a deliberate contrast) and Toynbee's A Study of History, which "postulated that civilizations marched to their own drummers, largely unaffected by foreign influences". McNeill, on the other hand, stresses the diffusion of techniques and ideas, making connections between civilizations crucially important. Second, it provided a framework for theories like world-systems theory and dependency theory, which "cemented the centrality of the 'West' in world history".
It's important to note, however, that in a 1990 article in the Journal of World History, McNeill reflected that The Rise of the West must be viewed as "an expression of the postwarimperial mood in the United States" and admitted that it could somewhat be seen as a "form of intellectual imperialism". Later, in a 1991 essay, McNeill emphasized that the unifying theme of his book was the importance of interrelation and cultural diffusion rather than a flat description of western history's effect on other civilizations.
- ^ ab"National Book Awards". National Book Foundation. 1964. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
- ^Enlarged edition, pp. 247–253.
- ^Enlarged edition, pp. 565–568.
- ^ abRoberts, Sam (12 July 2016). "William H. McNeill, Professor and Prolific Author, Dies at 98". New York Times.
- ^"100 Best Nonfiction". Modern Library (Board). Random House. 1999.
- ^Thomas D. Hall, 1997. "World system theory" in The Dictionary of Anthropology, Thomas Barfield, ed. Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 1-57718-057-7, pp. 498-499.
- ^Ballantyne, Tony (2005). "Putting the Nation in Its Place?: World History and C. A. Bayly's The Birth of the Modern World". In Curthoys, Ann; Lake, Marilyn. Connected Worlds: History in Transnational Perspective. Canberra, Australia: ANU E Press. pp. 23–44. ISBN 9781920942458. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- ^William H. McNeill (Spring 1990). "The Rise of the West after Twenty-Five Years"(PDF). Journal of World History. 1 (1): 1–21. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- ^William H. McNeill, 1963 . The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community [With a Retrospective Essay], University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-56141-7. Description (click "More"), Table of Contents Summary and scrollable preview.[permanent dead link]
List of Illustrations
"The Rise of the West after Twenty-five Years"
THE ERA OF MIDDLE EASTERN DOMINANCE TO 500 B.C.
I. IN THE BEGINNING
II. THE BREAKTHROUGH TO CIVILIZATION IN MESOPOTAMIA
III. THE DIFFUSION OF CIVILIZATION: FIRST PHASE
B. THE CIVILIZATIONS OF THE NILE AND INDUS VALLEYS TO 1700 B.C.
1. Ancient Egypt
2. The Indus Civilization
C. THE TRANSPLANTATION OF CIVILIZATION TO RAIN-WATERED LANDS
2. Asia Minor
D. THE IMPACT OF CIVILIZATION ON THE OUTER FRINGES OF THE AGRICULTURAL WORLD
1. Megalithic Protocivilization
2. High Barbarism of the Eurasian Steppe
IV. THE RISE OF A COSMOPOLITAN CIVILIZATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST, 1700-500 B.C.
B. MILITARY-POLITICAL CHANGES
C. ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEMS
D. SOCIAL STRUCTURE
E. CULTURAL CONSERVATION AND ADVANCE
3. The Intermediate Regions
4. Zoroastrianism and Judaism
V. THE FORMULATION OF PERIPHERAL CIVILIZATIONS IN INDIA, GREECE, AND CHINA, 1700-500 B.C.
B. THE FORMULATION OF INDIAN CIVILIZATION
C. THE FORMULATION OF GREEK CIVILIZATION
1. Political and Social Development
2. Cultural Growth
D. THE BEGINNINGS OF CHINESE CIVILIZATION TO 500 B.C.
E. CHANGES IN THE BARBARIAN WORLD TO 500 B.C.
EURASIAN CULTURAL BALANCE 500 B.C.-1500 A.D.
VI. THE EXPANSION OF HELLENISM, 500-146 B.C.
A. THE FLOWERING OF GREEK CULTURE, 500-336 B.C.
2. Political Evolution
3. The Perfecting of Greek Cultural Forms
History and Rhetoric
B. HELLENIC EXPANSION INTO BARBARIAN EUROPE
C. THE HELLENIZATION OF THE ORIENT, 500-146 B.C.
1. Military and Political
2. Social and Cultural
VII. CLOSURE OF THE EURASIAN ECUMENE, 500 B.C.-200 A.D.
B. EXPANSION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE NON-HELLENIC
CIVILIZATIONS OF EURASIA, 500-100 B.C.
3. The Far West: Rome and Western Europe, 336-146 B.C.
C. THE EURASIAN ECUMENE, 100 B.C.-200 A.D.
1. Political and Social Developments
2. Cultural Growth and Interchange
3. Other Aspects of the High Cultural Tradition of Eurasia, 100 B.C.-200 A.D.
VIII. BARBARIAN ONSLAUGHT AND CIVILIZED RESPONSE, 200-600 A.D.
B. THE FLOWERING OF INDIAN CULTURE
1. Political and Social Framework
2. Cultural Achievements
Religion and Philosophy
Other Aspects of Indian Culture
C. THE EXPANSION OF INDIAN CIVILIZATION
1. Southeast Asia
2. Eastern Mediterranean, Iran, and Central Asia
D. THE NORTHERN FRONTIER: BARBARIAN BREAKTHROUGH AND
1. The Great Migrations
2. Consequences of the Migrations
Civilizing the Barbarians
Modification of Civilized Military and Political Institutions in Western Eurasia
Cultural Changes in Persia and Rome
E. THE OUTER FRINGES
IX. THE RESURGENCE OF THE MIDDLE EAST, 600-1000 A.D.
B. THE MOSLEM WORLD
E. CHINA AND THE FAR EAST
F. THE OUTER FRINGES
X. STEPPE CONQUERORS AND THE EUROPEAN FAR WEST, 1000-1500 A.D.
B. INFILTRATION AND CONQUEST FROM THE STEPPE
C. ISLAMIC REACTION TO THE PRESSURES FROM THE STEPPE
1. Political and Social
D. INDIANS, CHRISTIANS, AND JEWS UNDER MOSLEM RULE
1. The Moslem Heartlands
3. Orthodox Christendom
E. THE FAR EAST
2. China's Outliers
F. THE FAR WEST
2. The Struggle for Political Order
3. The Expansion of Western Europe
4. Cultural Growth: The High Middle Ages
5. Unique Characteristics of West European Civilization
G. THE FRINGES OF THE ECUMENE
THE ERA OF WESTERN DOMINANCE, 1500 A.D. TO THE PRESENT
XI. THE FAR WEST'S CHALLENGE TO THE WORLD, 1500-1700 A.D.
A. THE GREAT EUROPEAN EXPLORATIONS AND THEIR WORLD-WIDE CONSEQUENCES
B. THE TRANSMUTATION OF EUROPE, 1500-1650 A.D.
C. EUROPE'S OUTLIERS: THE AMERICAS AND RUSSIA, 1500-1650 A.D.
1. The Americas
D. THE CHANGING BALANCE OF THE ECUMENE, 1500-1700 A.D.
1. The Moslem World
The Iberian Crusade and Moslem Response
The Rise of Russia and Its Consequences for Islam
The Sunni-Shi'a Conflict and Its Consequences for Islam
2. The Subject Religious Communities in the Moslem World
Hindu India and Buddhist Southeast Asia
Christians under Moslem Rule
Jews in Moslem Lands
3. The Far East
Tibet, Mongolia, and the Central Asian Steppe
XII. THE TOTTERING WORLD BALANCE, 1700-1850 A.D.
B. THE OLD REGIME OF EUROPE, 1650-1789 A.D.
1. European Expansion to New Ground
Exploration, Trade, and National Rivalries
Plantations and the Conscious Transformation of Tropical and Subtropical Economies
The Spread of European Settlement
2. Acculturation in the Older Outliers of Europe: America and Russia
Brazil and North America
3. The Compromises of the Old Regime in the European Heartlands
Political and Social Compromises
Compromises in the Arts
Elements of Instability in the Old Regime
C. MOSLEM CATALEPSY, 1700-1850 A.D.
1. Ottoman Reform and Christian Rebellion
2. Iran and Turkestan
3. Disintegration of the Mogul Empire in India
4. Islam in Africa and Southeast Asia
D. HINDU AND BUDDHIST ASIA, 1700-1850 A.D.
E. CREEPING CRISIS IN THE FAR EAST, 1700-1850 A.D.
F. THE RETREAT OF BARBARISM, 1700-1850 A.D.
XIII. THE RISE OF THE WEST: COSMOPOLITANISM ON A GLOBAL SCALE, 1850-1950 A.D.
B. THE WESTERN EXPLOSION, 1789-1917 A.D.
1. Territorial Expansion
The First or British Phase
The Second or German and American Phase
3. The Democratic Revolution
4. Artistic and Intellectual Aspects
C. THE NON-WESTERN WORLD, 1850-1950 A.D.
1. The Changing Shape and Style of the Ecumene
2. The Moslem World
3. Hindu India
6. Other Parts of the World
A. SCALE OF POLITICS
B. SCOPE OF POLITICS
C. DILEMMAS OF POWER
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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