An Illustrated Short History of Progress

An Illustrated Short History of Progress

Book - 2006
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Ronald Wright argues that humankind has been repeating the same mistakes over and over. What's more, each time history repeats itself, the price goes up. Starting from the recognized truth that the 20th century's runaway growth in population, consumption, and technology placed a colossal load on all natural systems, Wright demonstrates that this seemingly modern predicament is as old as civilization itself -- a 10,000-year experiment humans have participated in but seldom controlled. Only by understanding the patterns of human triumph and disaster, he says, can the experiment's inherent dangers be recognized and its outcome altered. In this handsome new edition, illuminating illustrations and sidebars complement Wright's arguments, offering further evidence to support his cautionary tale. His trenchant text evokes striking images across time and space, starting with Paul Gauguin's painting D'O#65533; Venons Nous? Que Sommes Nous? O#65533; Allons Nous? -- Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? -- three questions that perfectly summarize this thought-provoking book.
Publisher: Toronto : House of Anansi Press ; Scarborough, Ont. : Distributed in Canada by HarperCollins, 2006.
ISBN: 9780887842061
0887842062
Branch Call Number: 909 W952i
Characteristics: 245 p. : ill. (chiefly col.), maps.
Additional Contributors: Wright, Ronald 1948-

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m
mahallett
May 01, 2015

very very interesting, i found the footnotes quite interesting too but their position at the back of the book is not very user friendly.

z
zipread
Oct 18, 2013

A Short History of Progress --- by Richard Wright. This is the book my daughter’s been after me for months to read when I was too busy immersing my mind in mindless novel-pap. This isn’t a book about progress as in technology: no wheel to jet or wild boar to Lancashire pig here. No this is a book about the progress of civilization. And as such this book makes interesting and harrowing reading. There’s nothing particularly new here. It’s Cultural Geography 101 at its best. But Wright does make his point succinctly. And he does rope together his examples from a huge variety of sources. And his writing is transparent enough to make it accessible to most readers. When you’ve finished reading this book, its almost enough to make you want to retreat into your vintage 1950s back-yard fallout shelter. And yes, I’m glad I read the book. It’s so persuasive I read it in under three hours --- a records even for me. But then it is but a modestly sized book.

This is not really new material, other social philosophers have written about the same threats, but the presentation is straight forward and easy to read. The printing style is unusal and makes the reading confusing [is this still part of the text or is it a headliner for an important fact?]. Wright has appropriated the ideas for the decline of old civilizations and the threats to this civilization from greater minds. Nevertheless it will appeal to readers who demand less academic rigour and I would recommend it especially to today's conservative government.

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