Writing in 1961, Dawson here traces the origins of nearly all modern global movements to the history and thought of Western Civilization. He begins with a brief treatment of the history of the struggles and debates within their European historical context. He then proceeds to show how these struggles and debates, as well as the ideas they have produced, have become the struggles and debates which define the entire world in the late twentieth century.
He traces, for example, the rise of nationalism in Europe from its origins in the medieval debate about the proper realms of Church and State and finally to modern India, where Western-educated Indians led a movement of self-discovery and independence against British colonial rule. Similarly, he looks to the European events which produced the philosophy of Karl Marx as the key to understanding current events in China, a country that has done more than perhaps any other Asian country to reject its native heritage in favor of the adoption of a Western economic and political model. In short, Dawson demonstrates that the history of Europe has become the history of the world and the unresolved disagreements which were one the arguments of a single continent have become the disagreements which inform the ongoing struggles in the world.
This book serves as an important reminder, in an age in which the academic elites attempt to water down history curricula across the country in order to make them less “Eurocentric,” that Western Civilization is now, in fact, world civilization. That without a thorough understanding of the history and fundamental ideas of Western Civilization current events around the globe are almost entirely unintelligible. That, as Americans, a return to our own roots is the best path toward understanding other cultures.
I recommend this book to those interested in understanding the events that are currently shaping the world and the origins of those events within the struggles of Western Civilization. This is a particularly good book for those interested in journalism, history, and education.