'Civilization: West & The Rest'
(2-Disc DVD / NR / 2012 / BBC Video)
Overview: The West once ruled more than half the world. The religion it exported, Christianity, is still followed by a third of mankind. Above all, the way people live - or aspire to live - is unmistakably an invention of the West. All over the world, more and more humans eat a Western diet, wear Western clothes and live in Western housing. But are we living through the beginning of the end of the West's ascendancy?
DVD Verdict: OK, in truth there are two schools of thought on this feature: there are those who find this boring, who simply doesn't appreciate history (we'll say, broadly); and then there's those who find this too "western-centric"! Which, to my mind, means they simply are missing the point and, for the most part, misreading history as well!
Author Niall Ferguson also seems to have two agendas. One is to put over his view of world history, which he sees as having been dominated by "western" civilization for 500 years. Indeed, he believes that it's important for our sense of cultural identity, and consequently our ability to defend that identity against external threats, to not to lose sight of this. Otherwise "civilization" could very quickly collapse!
The second is to correct deficiencies in the way he claims that history is currently taught in British schools. And yes, Ferguson and his Six Killer Apps of Western Power go on to prove/show that the two are connected.
As we quickly find out, those Six Killer Apps of Western Power are:
6. Work Ethic
So, taking a step back from the madness of never-ending Is he right? Is he wrong scenaros (to each his own, of course), the documentary taken a sa whole is actually beautiful to watch - and listen to. The photography is second to none and Ferguson's commentary is accessible, funny and captivating.
Indeed, he holds no punches when criticizing Keynesian economics, state-run monopolies, dictators and the failures of Socialism. Is he a crazy right-wing historian? Not by a long shot. Is he a left-leaning apologist who resents Western civilization? Absolutely not. Ferguson is a one-of-a-kind intellectual with a robust and honest dedication to his craft. I personally loved this feature and would recommend highly this documentary (and his book) to anyone who enjoys history - and the To's and Fro's incorporated within it. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.