Why the West Rules—For Now

US Book Cover

Buy this book
(US Edition)

UK Book Cover

Buy this book (UK Edition)

Audio Book Cover

Buy this CD

Why the West Rules—For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future

New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2010;
London: Profile Books, 2010;
Hamburg: Campus Verlag, 2011;
Amsterdam: Det Spektrum, 2011;
Moscow: Hippo/Kariera, 2011;
Seoul: Geulhangari, 2011;
Beijing: Citic, 2012

Social development / Interview and Video Clip, Stanford News Service

A remarkable book that may come to be as widely read as Paul Kennedy’s 1987 work, ‘The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.’ Like Mr Kennedy’s epic, Mr Morris’s ‘Why the West Rules-For Now’ uses history and an overarching theory to address the anxieties of the present ... This is an important book—one that challenges, stimulates and entertains. Anyone who does not believe there are lessons to be learned from history should start here.”

“On top of the world: Why the West’s present dominance is both recent and temporary.” The Economist, Oct. 7, 2010. Read the whole review

Here you have three books wrapped into one: an exciting novel that happens to be true; an entertaining but thorough historical account of everything important that happened to any important people in the last ten millennia; and an educated guess about what will happen in the future. Read, learn, and enjoy!”

Jared Diamond, Professor of Geography at UCLA, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and Natural Experiments of History

The nearest thing to a unified field theory of history we are ever likely to get. I loved it.”

Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Harvard University;
author of The Ascent of Money and The War of the World

A writer of such breathtaking vision and scope as to make him fit to be ranked alongside the likes of Jared Diamond and David Landes … The shape of globalizing history may well never be quite the same again. ‘So what’, he asks himself and us? The answer can only be—a very great deal indeed.”

Paul Cartledge, A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture, Cambridge University,
and Global Distinguished Professor, New York University;
author of Thermopylae: The Battle that Changed the World and Alexander the Great

Morris’ new book illustrates perfectly why one really scholarly book about the past is worth a hundred fanciful works of futurology. Morris is the world’s most talented ancient historian, a man as much at home with state-of-the-art archaeology as with the classics as they used to be studied . . . He has brilliantly pulled off what few modern academics would dare to attempt: a single-volume history of the world that offers a bold and original answer to the question, Why did the societies that make up ‘the West’ pull ahead of ‘the Rest’ not once but twice, and most spectacularly in the modern era after around 1500? Wearing his impressive erudition lightly - indeed, writing with a wit and clarity that will delight the lay reader - Morris uses his own ingenious index of social development as the basis for his answer.”

Foreign Affairs, Nov./Dec. 2010 Read the whole review (pdf)

Ian Morris has returned history to the position it once held: no longer a series of dusty debates, nor simple stories-although he has many stories to tell and tells them brilliantly-but a true magister vitae, ‘teacher of life.’ Morris explains how the shadowy East-West divide came about, why it really does matter, and how one day it might end up. His vision is dazzling, and his prose irresistible. Everyone from Sheffield to Shanghai who wants to know not only how they came to be who and where they are but where their children and their children’s children might one day end up must read this book.”

Anthony Pagden, author of Worlds at War: The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West

A formidable, richly engrossing effort to determine why Western institutions dominate the world ... Readers will enjoy [Morris’s] lively prose and impressive combination of scholarship ... with economics and science. A superior contribution to the grand-theory-of-human-history genre.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

This is an astonishing work by Ian Morris: hundreds of pages of the latest information dealing with every aspect of change. Then, the questions of the future: What will a new distribution bring about? Will Europe undergo a major change? Will the millions of immigrants impose a new set of rules on the rest? There was a time when Europe could absorb any and all newcomers. Now the newcomers may dictate the terms. The West may continue to rule, but the rule may be very different.”

David S. Landes, author of The Wealth and Poverty of Nations

A great work of synthesis and argument, drawing together an awesome range of materials and authorities to bring us a fresh, sharp reading of East-West relationships. As China rises and the world’s population spikes, Morris weaves lessons from thousands of years of world history towards a startling and scary conclusion.”

Andrew Marr, former editor of The Independent and political editor of the BBC News;
author of A History of Modern Britain and presenter of BBC 1’s The Andrew Marr Show

At last—a brilliant historian with a light touch. We should all rejoice.”

John Julius Norwich, author of A History of Venice and The Middle Sea

Morris’s history of world dominance sparkles as much with exotic ideas as with extraordinary tales. Why the West Rules—for Now is both a riveting drama and a major step toward an integrated theory of history.”

Richard Wrangham, Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University and author of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

Deeply thought-provoking and engagingly lively, broad in sweep and precise in detail.”

Jonathan Fenby, former editor of The Observer and the South China Morning Post;
author of The Penguin History of Modern China