Why the West Rules – For Now, by Ian Morris

Context with Brad Harris | 9 January 2019 | 1h 31m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Distils the ideas in Why the West Rules – For Now by Ian Morris. Suggests that the interactions of human biology, sociology, and geography reveal a fundamental pattern in history that lets us answer historical questions like why the West rules for now, and what will happen next.

The Fall of Rome, and the End of Civilization

Context with Brad Harris | 12 December 2018 | 0h 53m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Bryan Ward-Perkins, author of “The Fall of Rome, and the End of Civilization.” Interesting discussion of the evidence from pottery, coinage, livestock size and pollution that living standards collapsed with the fall of Rome and the consequent loss of economic and social complexity.

Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West

Context with Brad Harris | 10 July 2018 | 0h 32m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Review of Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West, by Margaret Jacob. Explains how scientific knowledge became integrated into the culture of Europe through the 1600s and 1700s, and how the different social and political conditions of different European countries influenced the application of science to material prosperity. Insight on why Britain’s distinctive approach to the utility of science enabled it to industrialize generations earlier than any other country.

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

Context with Brad Harris | 20 August 2018 | 0h 40m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Review of “1493: Uncovering the New World,” by Charles C. Mann, which shows how Europeans emerged at the centre of a modern, globalized world by establishing the Columbian Exchange, which globalised commerce, ecology, food and disease.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn

Context with Brad Harris | 24 July 2018 | 0h 24m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Discusses the ideas in Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” a classic in the history of science, and one of the most cited books of the twentieth century. Kuhn challenged our assumptions about how science works, but his opaque style ignited a cultural movement energized around the misinterpretations that objective truth was an illusion and that scientific progress was just a conceit of western civilization. These ideas became pillars of postmodernism, and no one was more frustrated by the folly of their development than Thomas Kuhn himself.

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David Landes

Context with Brad Harris | 27 June 2018 | 0h 36m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Review of “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations” by David Landes, published in 1998. Landes argued that historically unique cultural values of curiosity, novelty, and private property empowered European society to lead the modern world; a history that offers invaluable lessons for our own time.

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond

Context with Brad Harris | 6 June 2018 | 0h 26m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Distils the ideas in “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies” by Jared Diamond. Diamond’s fundamental question is why did history unfold so differently on different continents so that Eurasian societies became disproportionately influential in creating the modern world?