1st Edition

Historians Debate the Rise of the West

By Jonathan Daly Copyright 2015
    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    How and why did Europe rise to world pre-eminence? Providing an overview of this central historical conundrum of modern times, Historians Debate the Rise of the West enables students to grasp major scholars’ evaluations of the biggest picture of all: how Western civilization fits into modern world history.

    Most historians who write in this area subscribe to a combination of interpretations set forward by scholars of the field, like David Landes, Jared Diamond or Kenneth Pomeranz. But it is often difficult to understand the position they are coming from, and for readers to understand clearly how Europe made the transition from merely one of many developing civilizations to the world’s first industrial power. In this volume, Jonathan Daly introduces us to the main interpretations of Europe’s rise that have been proposed over the past half-century and presents the views of these historians and schools of scholarship, advocating for each point of view and letting each author speak for him or herself through the inclusion of brief textual selections.

    Also included are interesting biographical details for each scholar, as well as a list of further reading for each chapter and a collection of maps. An ideal introduction for students of world history.

    Introduction  1. The Miracle of the West  2. World History  3. Imperialism and Exploitation  4. The Greatness of Asia  5. Why not China?  Conclusion


    Jonathan Daly is Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His publications include Autocracy under Siege (1998), The Watchful State (2004), and The Rise of Western Power: A Comparative History of Western Civilization (2014).

    'In this invaluable primer, Jonathan Daly brings together the most influential arguments from the last half century of anglophone scholarship on the perennial question: what led to the rise of the West? Students will get reliable summaries of the diverse views of more than a dozen prominent historians (and historical sociologists) - and in prose often more readable than the original texts.'

    Professor John McNeill, Georgetown University, USA

    "Although faculty often incorporate books they have read into courses they teach, never before has this reviewer wanted to develop a course around a particular text until reading Daly’s Historians Debate the Rise of the West. Presenting various historical theories examining the rise of the West in world history and its corollary of “why not China,” Daly (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago) writes an excellent volume of such diverse theories as the uniqueness of Western culture, the development of world systems and geographic imperatives, and the importance of East Asia as a determinant of the West’s rise without trying to force students into accepting one theory over another. Daly’s easy writing style, straightforward presentation of various theories, and inclusion of maps, notes, and further reading materials make this a text worth having. Summing up: Essential."

    K. Lynass, University of Maryland in CHOICE

    "What makes this ... excellent, amply detailed and well organized set of “crib notes” especially valuable is that students will be able to navigate a very big field, and it should encourage them to do more than merely dip into Braudel, Pomeranz et al."

    Nicholas Doumanis, Australian Journal of Politics and History

    "The book provides a valuable concise overview, which this reviewer wishes had been around when he first became intrigued by this fascinating topic."

    Eric Mielants, Journal of World History

    "Historians Debate the Rise of the West provides an indepth consideration of important scholarship pertaining to the West’s current dominant global position ...  Importantly, Daly does not favor one particular reason why the West rose; rather, he covers a multitude of works—often contrasting with each other—that explain the current global power structure."

    Sarah Nicklas, H-World, H-Net Review

    "In Historians Debate the Rise of the West, historian Jonathan Daly systematically accomplishes his goal of presenting the research and analysis of a broad array of contemporary academics who had endeavored to demystify Western ascendancy."

    David M. Carletta, Anglican and Episcopal History