Staff Pick: Power over Peoples

libblog-BookReview7Headrick, Daniel R. Power over Peoples: Technology, Environments, and Western Imperialism, 1400 to the Present. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010.

For the past several centuries Western Civilization (Western Europe and North America) has dominated the world.  While the European Empires of the past are all but gone, we still feel their impact on the world.  Today’s dominant superpower (USA) is a product of European colonization, and European languages are spoken all over the globe.  English is the official language in 54 countries, Spanish is the official language in 21 countries, and French is the official language in 31 countries.

How did the West manage to dominate the other major civilizations of the world?  And what explains certain setbacks the West faced throughout the centuries?  This book argues that the West was able to dominate the world through its manipulation of technology which allowed the West mastery over the world’s environments and therefore mastery over peoples in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Since 1400 the West has developed technology that enabled long-distance sea travel, the prevention of deadly diseases, and the mass destruction of human lives.  All of which have created the world we live in today.  If you’ve ever wondered how Western Civilization came to dominate the world then this book is for you.

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Contributed by Joshua Wallace, Reference Librarian at the Pecan Campus.

Check out some more of his recommendations on his Read! poster here!