A Short History of Progress

A Short History of Progress

Book - 2005
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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.
Publisher: New York : Carroll & Graf Publishers ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, 2005.
Edition: 1st Carroll & Graf ed.
ISBN: 9780786715473
Branch Call Number: 303.44 Wright 2004
Characteristics: 211 p. ;,21 cm.


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Oct 31, 2015

A great book for seeing the patterns, the common denominators and the trajectory of going along in the manner of business as usual. Human conceit and the part it plays is something we can now better understand. Therefore it seems we can heal from this aspect of ego and we could then change course. There is a new narrative of who we are and why we are here and i suspect many people are ready to embrace such a new story. Ok, so now doing the call to all artists of all media and mediums- J Campbell said it was up to us to "tell the new stories" I am in others? Let's do this!

Feb 17, 2014

A concise look at the history of some civilizations in human history and speculations on their downfall. The book was fair in it's portrayal of prehistoric societies and did not attempt to glorify any specific society. Regretfully the author's left wing bias was in full force in his conclusions. A very quick read and well worth it.

Dec 12, 2012

I read this book for a history class. It is an excellent book. It's a comprehensive look at history; a practical, pragmatic look at the problems that have been plaguing civilizations since their beginning. Wright outlines exactly why civilizations collapse, and begins to outline a possible solution. Everyone should read it.

Apr 19, 2012

A horrifically fun glance at the prehistoric evidence that our current ecological crisis has been a long, long, long time coming. This book should be read a lot more widely.

q22 Feb 02, 2012

Really makes you think that we (our society, our current world order) aren't so unique, ... I was intrigued to learn about the level of sophistication of previous civilizations and curious to read other works by this Ronald Wright.

LMOH Apr 16, 2011

Frightening and fatalistic as mentioned below, but really interesting too from a historical standpoint. Progress isn't always a good thing!

Nov 22, 2010

The fatalistic trajectory of humanity’s future is put into frighteningly clear focus with every page of this thoroughly engrossing work.

It’s one of those books that you simply can’t help but bother the person next to you with the last factoid you just read.

The audiobook is great too!


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