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What Makes Civilization?: The Ancient Near East and the Future of the West (Anglais) Relié – 22 juillet 2010

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Revue de presse

Convincingly concludes that the parallel development of Mesopotamia and Egypt demonstrates the deep attachment of human societies to the concepts they live by, and the inequalities they are prepared to endure in order to preserve those guiding principles. (Nature)

What Makes Civilization? is well written for a student or educated lay-person audience...when the past is being employed to understand the present or predict the future of human societies, archaeologists must be part of the discussion. (Current Anthropology)

This book promises a lot and delivers even more...It guides readers into the heart of the sources of civilization. (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute)

Provocative....stimulating...occasionally infuriating. (Steven Snape, History Today)

A book that readers will certainly find stimulating. (History Today)

Lively and insightful work. (Geoff Ward, Western Daily Press)

Présentation de l'éditeur

In What Makes Civilization?, archaeologist David Wengrow provides a vivid new account of the 'birth of civilization' in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia (today's Iraq). These two regions, where many foundations of modern life were laid, are usually treated in isolation. Now, they are brought together within a unified history of how people first created cities, kingdoms, and monumental temples to the gods. But civilization, as Wengrow shows, is not only about such grand monuments. Just as importantly, it is also about the ordinary but fundamental practices of everyday life that we might take for granted, such as cooking food and keeping the house and body clean.Tracing the development of such practices, from prehistoric times to the age of the pyramids, the book reveals unsuspected connections between distant regions, and provides new insights into the workings of societies we have come to regard as remote from our own. It also forces us to recognize that civilizations are not formed in isolation, but through the mixing and borrowing of culture between societies. The book concludes by drawing telling parallels between the ancient Near East and more recent attempts at reshaping the world order to an ideal image. Are the sacrifices we now make in the name of 'our' civilization really so different from those once made on the altars of the gods?

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x9a7ac300) étoiles sur 5 4 commentaires
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a74800c) étoiles sur 5 Excellent Intro to the Concept of Civilization 17 janvier 2015
Par David S. Wellhauser - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
What Makes Civilization? pretty much says it all right there in the title.

The author, Prof. David Wengrow, is a Comparative Anthropologist at University College London. What Prof. Wengrow had produced is a reasonably accessible introduction to the oft maligned, but necessary, concept of civilization.

What is civilization? Who is civilized [watch out for this one]? What constitutes civilization and why? These are some of the many questions asked and mostly answered.

The short answer seems to be urban culture [life in cities] and the author does not add much new to this notion, but for those puzzling over the question and new to the area this is an excellent contemporary primer.

Highly Recommended for those with an interest in history, ancient history, urban history, cultural and material archaeology, and the academic debate concerning the nature of civilization, especially now that civilization has moved into the post-post-colonial period this is a good place to get started.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

For a discussion of the merits of Leviathan [the State or civilization] readers might also wish to read Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature.
6 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a87f444) étoiles sur 5 Prehistoric origins of Capitalism!! 1 mars 2013
Par Paul Thompson - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I've been taking grad courses in American history, and there's a lot of debate about when the 'market revolution' occurred. This book makes it clear that in many ways, it's absurd to create such a category at all. If you did, you might have to start thousands of years BCE!

The book's primary theses are:

1. Capitalism, including its psychological impacts like anomie and Lucascian 'reification', and its physical manifestations like cities and international trade routes, began in the ancient prehistorical Neolithic (early Stone) and early Bronze Ages.

2. A universal temporal 'track' or progression of civilization identified by many a historical/ political theorist is nonsense. Techniques and technology are *spatially* contingent. Early trading civilizations were interdependent, with different nations manifesting different 'marks of civilization' *concurrently*, with all benefiting from the resulting diversity. Highland miner-shepherds brought precious metals to the markets of lowland farmer-fishermen. Here the author echoes Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel"

If you're not well versed in this period of history (like me!), this is an incredibly accessible and friendly book. The maps are simple and effective. The author's anti-orientalist chapter(s) at the end (modern cultural uses of the 'mystic orient' icon) have a slapdash, last-minute character. But *because* of that afterthought quality, you can easily bifurcate them from the rest of the book and focus on the goods.
HASH(0x9a95abe8) étoiles sur 5 College Thesis? 29 mai 2015
Par Roxanna L. Hurst - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
It reads like someone's college thesis.Constant references interfered with the flow of the narration. They could have used footnotes and put the references at the end of the book.
HASH(0x9a664384) étoiles sur 5 Learning more about the beginning of civilization 23 février 2015
Par BookWorm - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
A much quicker read than I expected, but it was insightful,
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