Worlds at War: The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West

Worlds at War The Year Struggle Between East and West Spanning two and a half millennia Anthony Pagden s mesmerizing Worlds at War delves deep into the roots of the clash of civilizations between East and West that has always been a battle over ideas a

  • Title: Worlds at War: The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West
  • Author: Anthony Pagden
  • ISBN: 9781400060672
  • Page: 261
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Spanning two and a half millennia, Anthony Pagden s mesmerizing Worlds at War delves deep into the roots of the clash of civilizations between East and West that has always been a battle over ideas, and whose issues have never been urgent.Worlds At War begins in the ancient world, where Greece saw its fight against the Persian Empire as one between freedom and slaveSpanning two and a half millennia, Anthony Pagden s mesmerizing Worlds at War delves deep into the roots of the clash of civilizations between East and West that has always been a battle over ideas, and whose issues have never been urgent.Worlds At War begins in the ancient world, where Greece saw its fight against the Persian Empire as one between freedom and slavery, between monarchy and democracy, between individuality and the worship of men as gods Here, richly rendered, are the crucial battle of Marathon, considered the turning point of Greek and European history the heroic attempt by the Greeks to turn the Persians back at Thermopylae and Salamis, one of the greatest naval battles of all time, which put an end to the Persian threat forever.From there Pagden s story sweeps to Rome, which created the modern concepts of citizenship and the rule of law Rome s leaders believed those they conquered to be free, while the various peoples of the East persisted in seeing their subjects as property Pagden dramatizes the birth of Christianity in the East and its use in the West as an instrument of government, setting the stage for what would become, and has remained, a global battle of the secular against the sacred Then Islam, at first ridiculed in Christian Europe, drives Pope Urban II to launch the Crusades, which transform the relationship between East and West into one of competing religious beliefs.Modern times bring a first world war, which among its many murky aims seeks to redesign the Muslim world by force In our own era, Muslims now find themselves in unwelcoming Western societies, while the West seeks to enforce democracy and its own secular values through occupation in the East Pagden ends on a cautionary note, warning that terrorism and war will continue as long as sacred and secular remain confused in the minds of so many.Eye opening and compulsively readable, Worlds at War is a stunning work of history and a triumph of modern scholarship It is bound to become the definitive work on the reasons behind the age old and still escalating struggle that, than any other, has come to define the modern world a book for anyone seeking to know why we came to be the way we are.

    One thought on “Worlds at War: The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West”

    1. Two core principles of difference are drawn out in the course of all the selective history that is presented:1. The West was the realm of individual freedom and the East was the realm of despotism. Hence the East could never develop incentives. (Italics are my extrapolation)2. The West was the realm where laws were made of, by and for humans, the East was the realm where laws were made of, by and for gods (or their representatives). Hence the east could never develop institutions. (Italics are m [...]

    2. The author's make-believe take on the East excludes India, barely mentioned, and China and Japan, mentioned even less. By the East he means the Persian Empire and the Islamic middle east. He has a fantasy that the history of the world can be described by the "battle line drawn" between Europe and the East over 2300 years ago.The author is never at a wont for describing the East in generic negative terms. I'll bet he referred to directly or quoted others that the East is "feminine" more than 10 t [...]

    3. This book was interesting but crazy. Obviously, over 2000 years is a lot to cover in one book. I was oftentimes lost in the early history section because I didn't have a lot of background in the historical players, and sometimes I wasn't even sure which one Pagden was referencing when he said "he." Even though his thesis about the difficulty and incompatibility of Islam with modern secularism has to rely heavily on more modern times, the Epilogue begins in 1991. Of course, it makes sense he has [...]

    4. Choose the right theme and you can organize the chaotic sweep of history into a coherent tale the reader can grasp. Anthony Pagden tried his best in "Worlds at War--The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West." But I have to wonder if the topic was too big for the book.Pagden's thesis is deceptively easy. "The West" long embodied individualism, inquiry and initiative while "The East" stressed subservience, statism and stasis. The theme gets a good start as the author compares classical Greece [...]

    5. Pagden’s first chapter summarizes the most telling episodes of Herodotus’ Histories, including not only the Battles of Marathon and Salamis, but also the constitutional debate that preceded the accession of Darius to the Persian throne and the deliberations instigated by the Persian King Xerxes prior to his invasion of Greece. Before Darius became king, the Persians considered the constitutional alternatives to monarchy, with one Persian aristocrat, named Otanes, arguing for democracy. Dariu [...]

    6. A good book providing a tour de force history of the interactions between the various European societies/cultures and those of the Arab & Persian worlds (which in practice creates a history of the broader Mediterranean communities). The book also gives an in-depth comparison of the religious and political strains which have shaped this history. The title is, however, misleading. Rather than being a Christianity versus Islam tome, the book traces the many interactions, the convoluted history, [...]

    7. I found this book a fascinating exploration of the long history of conflict between East and West, and the way the powers in charge of each sphere (whether Greek, Trojan, Roman, Persian, Christian, Muslim, French, Ottoman, British, or Arabic) have often seen themselves as inheritors of all the earlier struggles. Of course, it should be noted right away that by “The East”, Pagden generally means the near and middle east, the lands from Asia Minor to the region that's modern Iran -- China, Ind [...]

    8. A very disappointing book. The contents are a much smarter and more nuanced standard of clash of civilizations type: the West, which is, for whatever reason, democratic, rational, liberal, pitted against 'the East', here only the Arab Middle East, Iran and Turkey, which is despotic, irrational, arbitrary and everything else we're supposed to hate. Mind you, Pagden is at least aware that these concepts are not just innate or natural, and he attempts to add some social, economic and political anal [...]

    9. I really enjoyed the first few sample chaptersHe traces the East-West conflict all the way back to the Trojan war and brings the reader to al-Qaeda and their sworn ambition of "final destruction of the west." The Trojan war might be an ancient myth but it was taken seriously. The Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, visited the site of the Trojan war in 1462. He stood at the shore (where the Greeks had arrived with their thousand ships). It wasn't like baywatch and the Sultan made a politically charged sta [...]

    10. This was an enjoyable comprehensive survey of the conflict between the East and West spanning the last 2,500 years. Beginning with the Greek and Persian empires all the way up through the modern day conflicts that fill the news, the author draws you into the narrative. Having read it, I feel like I have a bit more of an understanding about these two worlds and how it'll continue to impact our future.

    11. Very poor Book. Author, regardless of his lack of religious background, ought to keep his prejudices to himself. Very Simplistic retelling of world history with no depth of understanding. A waste of time and money.

    12. I loved this book. It goes 100mph through the entire course of history between the Western world vs. the Middle Eastern. I like it because it is readable; this book is made for the more novice historian and it is well-written throughout.

    13. This book looks at the relationship between East and West (Europe and Asia) from the time of the Persian Wars until the present day. The author compares the culture and animating ideas of the two areas in various times. I thought the book was well-written, especially in that it covered thousands of years of history in an engaging way for the non-specialist, but I didn't think the author made the case that the relationship between East and West has always been one of competition or struggle. He d [...]

    14. DisappointedAnthony Pagden's Worlds at War: The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West was a book I was really looking forward to reading. It sat on my wish list for months and when I saw it just sitting there at my local library I greedily snatched it up and considered myself lucky to even have found it checked in.Thank goodness I did not waste my money buying it.I suppose the problem with a book of this nature is that it is bound to disappoint - some things will be "too" highlighted, some l [...]

    15. A very hit and miss affair. The authors seeks to portray a continuous struggle between between east (The Middle East) and west over 2500 years from the Greek-Persian wars up to the present day. The problem is he doesn't seem to know the subject that well. The coverage of everything before the early modern period is littered with errors - including some real howlers. At one point it is stated that the Roman Empire reached as far as the Indus valley and then a couple of pages later, that both the [...]

    16. I'd give this book 4 stars with a few misgivings for not having given it only 3 stars. While I learned a lot about the the political and religious developments over 2.5 millenium in both the east and the west, there were parts of the book that dragged due to my unfamiliarity with the historical figures responsible for governing in the east during the time of the Ottoman Empire's primacy over the west. There also isn't any analysis as to how the current financial interconnectivity of east and wes [...]

    17. Exhaustive but interesting perspective on the struggle between East and West. Mr. Pagden puts everything from Thermopylae to Islamic fundamentalism into grand historical context. As much as there are differences - sometimes very stark - the similarities and the borrowing between world views and cultures are also emphasized. The central thesis of the west's apparent superiority seems to be that the west got the reins of power out of the hands of their kings and their churches, freeing up creative [...]

    18. A 3000 year old drama still plays itself out on the worlds stage between cultures that have adopted powerfully differing world views. Though Anthony Pagden does take some license with generalizations and simplifications in painting entire civilizations with a broad brush. This is done using the cliche and misleading paradigm of East vs. West. Not everyone within the respective cultures agrees with what the said culture is said to believe in. So in keeping with Pagden's simplification I will do i [...]

    19. This is not for the faint of heart or wanting a simple run-down of the last 2000 years. Example after example is provided with near-exhaustive and at times exhausting detail, though all of it painting a thorough picture of how the world has evolved. There is criticism offered in other reviews that portray the author as providing an anti-Muslim stance, but I think this is due to poor reading. The caricatured portrayals of the middle-world societies are often quotes from people at the time, immedi [...]

    20. This book masterfully describes the 2,500-year struggle between East and West and is the latest in a string of scholarly but highly accessible historical epics for which the author is noted. As one of the world's foremost experts on empire, Anthony Pagden delineates the boundaries between East and West, highlighting how nations are built on shared memories, both good and bad, and why victory and defeat in battles is an important element of nationhood. Educated in Chile, Spain, France and Oxford, [...]

    21. Pagden starts the history of the conflict between East and West with the Greeks and the Persians. From there he winds the story through its eponymous 2500 year journey to the present. Within the book is a wide scope of history, due to the breadth of information, Pagden sacrifices a level of detail that was necessary to keep me interested. Also, although it is hard to say whether it is due to the actual history, or a Western-biased author, there are moments that cause the reader to pause and dete [...]

    22. Taking a central theme such as East vs. West and tracing it through history is a tall order, and most writers tend to resort to oversimplification to make everything "fit." Pagden avoids this trap, which makes this book much more substantive, if at times less satisfying.Though many of the events depicted in this book were familiar to me, connecting them through the paradigm of East and West provided new insight.Ultimately, this book filled in several missing pieces in my understanding of history [...]

    23. Well researched & well reasoned. He is quite open about what parts are speculative - for instance, he mentions in chapter 1 that Herodotus, popularly known as "the father of history" was also known as "the father of lies" by Greek historians that came in the next generations after him. It is a very smooth read, and he leaves out stuff to keep the flow going, but a lot of the stuff that is in here was info I hadn't ever been aware of before, so I ended up checking out regularly. Right now I [...]

    24. A very large look at the span of conflict between the east and west. I enjoyed it, and felt I got a lot out of it. There was a bit of overlap with some of the other readings I had done recently, but it was nice to review I guess.My biggest gripe would be that it was told primarily from a western perspective of eastern cultures, and didn't paint a very good picture of eastern cultures.I think a lot of people would have issue with this book and its blatantly anti-religion stance on the source of c [...]

    25. It was an interesting summary for what it covered. The author was only interested in the conflict between "East" and "West" and his theory of how religion plays its role in this conflict, so many wars are not touched on at all, but it's pretty sweeping as it is. He showed me a new perspective on some of these conflicts and I believe that will lead me to more detailed study, but I'm not sold on his overarching theory of how ruinious religion is/was/will always be. Worth a read and probably a re-r [...]

    26. Found the book very interesting at times, and a bit of a struggle to read at times. My overall impression, not knowing anything about the author, is that his writing seemed to have a bias against religion. As I said, my impression. As someone not interested in religion spiritually, but from how it's played it's part in societies throughout history, I was hoping for something a bit more unbiased based completely on historical events and facts vs. the author's own take at times.

    27. Excellent history of clash between estern and western ways of thinking, particularly European and Middle-Eastern in today's parlance. I am sure the struggle was not seen as such for most time, but the shape given to the struggle goes on to explain at least some of what is going on now. The book is perhaps too superficial given the timeframe it is covering but a brilliant read for anyone interested in key events.

    28. An excellent history of the relationship of the West and the Near East from the Persian wars 2,500 years ago to 2007 when the book was written. If the reader is looking for a historical context for the confrontation between Islam and the West this is an excellent place to begin. Highly recommended. Rating: 5 out of 5.

    29. Good historical overview of the differences between the West and the East (and by "East" he primarily deals with Middle East area, not China and India). This book can definitely be tedious, however, as Pagden goes to great lengths to relate details that are insignificant to his thesis.

    30. Se nota que el autor tiene conocimientos pero cuando se va acercando al a mitad del libro parece como si perdiese las ganas. Sin embargo es una muy correcta aproximación a los conflictos y una excelente recopilación de hitos históricos.

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