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A Short History of Progress

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A Short History of Progress Cover

ISBN13: 9780786715473
ISBN10: 0786715472
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Each time history repeats itself, the cost goes up. The twentieth century — a time of unprecedented progress — has produced a tremendous strain on the very elements that comprise life itself: This raises the key question of the twenty-first century: How much longer can this go on? With wit and erudition, Ronald Wright lays out a-convincing case that history has always provided an answer, whether we care to notice or not. From Neanderthal man to the Sumerians to the Roman Empire, A Short History of Progress dissects the cyclical nature of humanity's development and demise, the 10,000-year old experiment that we've unleashed but have yet to control.

It is Wright's contention that only by understanding and ultimately breaking from the patterns of progress and disaster that humanity has repeated around the world since the Stone Age can we avoid the onset of a new Dark Age. Wright illustrates how various cultures throughout history have literally manufactured their own end by producing an overabundance of innovation and stripping bare the very elements that allowed them to initially advance. Wright's book is brilliant; a fascinating rumination on the hubris at the heart of human development and the pitfalls we still may have time to avoid.

Review:

"Wright crafts an entertaining tale of eras gone by, incorporating relevant facts on subjects as diverse as the lifestyles of early hominids and recent patterns of climate change, and demonstrating the holistic importance of natural resources to a society." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Illuminating and disturbing, and expansively documented." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

From Neanderthal man to the Sumerians to the Roman Empire, "A Short History of Progress" dissects the cyclical nature of humanity's development and demise, the 10,000-year-old experiment that people have unleashed but have yet to control.

About the Author

Ronald Wright's critically acclaimed first novel, A Scientific Romance, was a New York Times Notable Book. His nonfiction includes Stolen Continents, an award-winning history of the Americas, and Time Among the Maya. He lives in Port Hope, Ontario.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

orvis, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by orvis)
A short history of our current problems lacking only in concrete solutions to them.
This joins many other works such as Jared Diamond's "Collapse", Ian Morris' "Why the West Rules For Now", and John Michael Greer's "The Long Descent" in describing the hows and whys of our long journey to today. Well worth the read for all concerned about why we have found ourselves at such a critical juncture in human history.
While all these books certainly show us how we got here they all share in a shortage of solutions. Perhaps there are no "solutions" but rather understandings we all can use in preparing for an increasingly uncertain future.
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Sharon Streeter, November 20, 2010 (view all comments by Sharon Streeter)
Wright is to be applauded for condensing millions of years of history of the human race into a text of 132 pages (plus extensive Notes, Bibliography, and Index). His writing is precise, his mission clear: if we don't read the signs staring us in the face, we won't survive. With intelligence and good nature, and based on the evidence of past civilizations, he spells out our future. He reminds us that "we have the tools and the means to share resources, clean up pollution, dispense basic health care and birth control, set economic limits in line with natural ones." We have the means. Do we have the will? One poignant distinction: those who still believe that "progress" equates with goodness will continue to hinder our need to face difficult decisions. It is to those who understand that progress has a dark side that we look for leadership. Or are we the leaders we are looking for?
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Craig Ensz, April 22, 2010 (view all comments by Craig Ensz)
Why does man continue to fail to learn from his mistakes, miscalculations and disasters? Ronald Wright takes a historical journey that is thought provoking an informative. He points out many of the horrendous decisions that have kept mankind from reaching its potential while showing us the inevitability of our future if we don't change. A very good and well written account.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780786715473
Author:
Wright, Ronald
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Subject:
History
Subject:
Civilization
Subject:
Sociology - Social Theory
Subject:
Progress
Subject:
HISTORY / Social History
Subject:
HIS054000
Subject:
Progress -- History.
Subject:
World History-Western Civilization
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20050331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 6.5 oz

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Related Subjects


History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Western Civilization

A Short History of Progress Used Trade Paper
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$10.50 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Carroll & Graf - English 9780786715473 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Wright crafts an entertaining tale of eras gone by, incorporating relevant facts on subjects as diverse as the lifestyles of early hominids and recent patterns of climate change, and demonstrating the holistic importance of natural resources to a society." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "Illuminating and disturbing, and expansively documented."
"Synopsis" by , From Neanderthal man to the Sumerians to the Roman Empire, "A Short History of Progress" dissects the cyclical nature of humanity's development and demise, the 10,000-year-old experiment that people have unleashed but have yet to control.
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