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" Civilization - The West and the Rest" is a non-fiction book in which Niall Ferguson gives his view of the major Western developments that helped the Western civilization rise over the rest but also the cause of the Western decline.

The catching title of Niall Ferguson's book “Civilization - The West and the Rest" made me decide to  read it. The topic has always been interesting to me. How to define a civilization? What is meant by ' The West' or 'Western civilization' and to what extent the Western civilization has been dominating the Rest, or dominated by the Rest.

Ferguson defines Western civilization (The West) as more than 'just a geographical expression. It is set of norms, behaviours and institutions with borders that are blurred in the extreme.'

 In contrast to the 'first version of the West - Western Civilization of 5th century AD ' that stretched from the Nile Valley to the confluence of the Euphrates and the Tigris and reached its peak with 'Athenian democracy and the Roman Empire', the current West consists of 'Western and Central Europe countries (excluding the Orthodox East), North America (excluding Mexico) and Australasia.'

One has to have some knowledge of history in order to be able to follow and understand the content and dynamic of  major developments described in the book.

Ferguson describes the rise of the West above the Rest in six chapters. He names them using the language of today's computerized world: "six killer applications" that allowed ‘mankind originating on the western edge of Eurasia ' to dominate the Rest of the world for some five hundred years:

These applications are:

1) Competition - Both political and economical. 15th century England compared to technological superior Ming China was primitive, violent and in constant war, for instance.   But the fierce competition 'between states and within states' led the West to the Age of exploration and innovations.

2) Science - From the 16th century on, the West experienced numerous scientific innovations and discoveries that also made its military technology superior .

The political and economic competition of the 15th century gave the West an important advantage over China, while the West's 18th century innovative, strategic thinking and firepower defeated the Ottoman Empire and gave the West the primacy over the Orient.

3) Property - Ferguson argues that British colonization generally produced better economic results than Spanish and Portuguese. He writes that North America succeeded while South America lagged due to profoundly different individual property rights, the rule of law and the representation of property-owners in elected assemblies.

4) Medicine - the application of modern medicine in healthcare. Almost all the 18th and 19th century medical discoveries were made in Western Europe and North America .

5) Consumption - an industrial revolution based on supply, innovation and a demand for mass consumer goods;

6) Work - a work ethic that included more productive labour with higher savings and capital accumulation was applied and realized first in the West.

These are six western made "killer applications" that, according to Ferguson ,  have enabled the West to project its influence and power to all four corners of the world for centuries. It was so well done that most of the world copied and applied them.


If it worked so far, why then are we talking about the fall of the Western civilization ? And why is it not working any more now?

Ferguson doesn't give a straight answer to these questions nor is he easy to understand or to follow in his explanations of Western decline.

As a professor and historian Ferguson describes the Western path of eventual decline not just through events in world history but also through intensive social changes, attitudes and mindsets of the West. He uses statistical data and quotes political leaders and authors to explain these changes. The book also contains a number of pages of illustrations and pictures and an extensive bibliography.

It took me a while to finish reading the book. Even though it is not an entertaining read it certainly gives the reader enough content and fascinating facts to think about when searching for the answer about possible Western downfall.

The West is in a hangover phase now, associated with economic crisis and wars, while the Rest, having "downloaded" the above mentioned Western applications is slowly getting economically stronger. Ferguson reminds his reader that "most cases of civilizational collapse are associated with fiscal crises and wars," and sees China as the future dominating civilization.


In conclusion, Ferguson argues that one of the causes for the Western collapse is to be found in our own loss of faith in the civilization "we inherited from our ancestors'... in our own "pusillanimity" and in the "historical ignorance that feeds it".


Whether there be a clash of civilizations or whether the West lose its primate quickly to the Rest is yet to be seen. To everyone though who wants to refresh his or her knowledge of five hundred years of world history, this book is highly recommended.


Published by the Penguin Group, 2011

Paperback, 402 pages.


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This post was recently published on our website:

Gayle as Esprit Editor    Gayle'e retirement party presentAt left  you'll see a photo of "editor me" at my desk on one of the last days before retirement (in 2004) as Editor of Esprit magazine and Program Director for Evangelical Lutheran Women at our office on the second floor of Portage Place in Winnipeg. In addition I've included a photo of the gift I received at my retirement party in July 2004. As Ian and I were preparing to take off  for a retirement adventure driving down to Mexico in our newly acquired 35-foot motorhome, my boss chose to wrap an assortment of "helps" for that trip inside or underneath a large box decorated to look like our motorhome - complete with photos of Ian as driver and me as passenger.

After several years in Mexico, with trips up to Manitoba to maintain our Canadian residency, we returned to Canada for good. I hope to start blogging about our Mexico sojourn in the near future. Time will tell if I ever get to it. While there in Mexico I began editing Ian's writings and am continuing that in our present home in British Columbia, as well as now contributing to his writings. Here my desk is in our little den and I look out the window at the low mountains surrounding our part of the Okanagan Valley. The desk is different from the one at ELW, but just as messy. That's the way I work. I do not like a messy final product, however, and decided that it was time for me to have an editor's rant about what I am seeing on some web blogs and in many comments that come into our site.

I don't think I'm unique in claiming frustration when reading some comments on web blogs or even some particular web blogs which are so full of errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation or just plain English that I feel compelled to edit them as I'm reading. Sometimes even understanding them is impossible, so I quit reading and trash the comment or close the web blog.

As I routinely check out other web blogs, I am more-often-than-not impressed by so many varied topics and excellent writing, but am also occasionally appalled by the lack of English writing skills by some bloggers. In those cases, I cross those web blogs off the list of ones I want to follow, no matter how interesting the topic might be. I find it painful to read something when I feel a need to correct practically every sentence. (As an aside: I lived in Germany for 18 years and ended up speaking passable German but would never in my life think of hosting a blog in German! I wouldn't feel confident enough to do a decent job of it. My late husband who worked in a profession there, could easily have hosted a blog in German. Obviously his language skills were much superior to mine.)

My motto is: "check, double-check and recheck anything you post", for it is easy to miss a word here or there if one doesn't do so. I always try to self-edit any of my blogs and usually have Ian read through them before posting. That isn't to say that I might not post a small grammatical or spelling error from time to time. It happens to the best of us. Almost inevitably after checking and re-checking the magazine I edited and having our executive director and a professional copy editor go over everything before publishing, I would find some little thing wrong when reading the issue after publication.

In the past I've found myself editing a lot of comments that come in on this web blog so that they can be understood. I conclude that quite a few of those who comment on posts do not have English as their first language and are obviously using an English-to-another-language dictionary when they make their comments. Perhaps they are taking an ESL course and have been given an assignment to comment on specific web posts. (Comments often come from the same site with different email addresses.) If that is the case, how I wish the instructor would at least give them some help in making the comments understandable. It is nice to get compliments or constructive criticism, but not if the comment cannot be readily understood and if the blogger receiving the comment has to edit it extensively in order to print it. WordPress usually identifies these type of comments as "spam"; in the past I've looked at every comment and sometimes chose to "un-spam"a few because I'd like to honour the intent. I have edited them for comprehension, though. I'm wondering if other bloggers have chosen to do this or if these type of comments simply get trashed. Here's an example of one comment we recently received, showing the places where I have cut out more than half of the words and added clarifying words in order to get what I think the commenter intended.

"Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your [web blog.] augment and even I achievement you access consistently fast."

Another recent commenter asserted that, though our blog's content was good, many of the posts were "rife with spelling issues." Well, that got my dander up! I did, however, calm down and try to address what I thought might be the problem. Here's my answer:

"We’re surprised to hear that you find several of our posts 'rife with spelling issues'. We are wondering if you might be pointing out our use of the British way of spelling English words, as opposed to the American way. (An example would be the use of “ou” in place of “o” as in “neighbour.” We are Canadians and so use the British way of spelling. I (Gayle) am the blogger and, though American-born, changed my way of spelling sometime after I emigrated to Canada and became editor of a Canadian magazine. I’ve kept up that way of spelling in retirement and, as Ian is British-born and I edit his writing, that method has worked out well for us. Then, too, Ian speaks Scottish-English so when he writes about Scotland in either his novels or memoirs, he uses what I call “Scottishisms.” Some of those words are only found in Scottish-English or may mean something entirely different in Scotland than they do in other countries where English is spoken. We’ve pointed that out in some of our posts about his memoir, “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada.” I had quite an education in “Scottishisms” when editing that book! In addition, I had to turn off the spell-check as my word-processing program gave up on providing corrections! Of course, even editors sometimes need to be edited; however, I try to double-check whatever I post. We’d be interested in hearing from you further so that you could point out some examples of those spelling issues. Looking forward to hearing from you." To date, we have received no further communication on this subject.

That brings up the challenge when commenting on web posts of exactly what to say. Sure it is nice to have affirmation that someone "enjoyed" a post or found it "awesome" or "educational" or "informative." But does that really help the blogger to know how they are connecting with the reader? In haste I, too, sometimes choose to just give kudos by checking the "like" button on a post; but if I take the time and REALLY like or dislike something I try to comment on it. How did I feel when I read the post? Intrigued? Scared? Amused? Why and how? Perhaps the blogger was promoting a book, a picture, a poem or a piece of music that he/she had written, drawn, photographed or performed. Did the blog catch your interest so that you plan to order the book or picture, quote the poem or obtain the recording? Did the post remind you of a happening in your own life or a person you met or an emotion you felt? Then describe that connection. You might wish to reblog the post, giving credit to the writer and quote your reaction to it on your own blog or on Facebook, Twitter or the like.

Conversely, if a post draws a negative response from me and I think it can be constructive, I'd like to think that I would be willing to document why I had that response. Although I didn't post the following comment on a novel writer's blog but instead posted it on Amazon after reading the novel, here is an example of how I could make both a positive and, I hope, constructive negative response to the novel on a writer's blog:

"You have written a well-rounded story about a group of characters, each flawed in a unique way, all seeking redemption. Your background in counseling is evident throughout; perhaps that is what makes your story so believable. Your prose is clear, yet poetic. Your descriptions of both characters and scene are captivating. I would have given this book five stars had it not been for the unnecessary profanity which I felt cheapened the narrative, especially those instances when the name of Jesus was invoked through cursing."

I send a challenge to bloggers and commenters alike: If you can't edit your own postings, please, please find someone who can do the edit for you.

Please and thanks in a spirit of kindness and mutual understanding. Keep the relevant and understandable comments coming!

Gayle Moore-Morrans
P.S. In the meantime we have recently received a comment (perhaps sent in error?) which went on for several hundred words.  The comments were obviously a multiple choice list of helps for would-be commenters who needed guidance on how to word comments they wanted to make on various posts. In the past the comments we received from that particular commenter had included, solely or partly, promotions for his web blog that included little or nothing about the post he was supposedly commenting on. Many of the multiple-choice comments he included sounded similar to many of the comments we have received from a number of people over time. Thus, in the future I intend to honour Word Press' use of Akismet to check incoming comments and rate them as "spam", then delete the spam comments without reading them. Most of us writers and editors who blog find it difficult to have enough time to do our writing or editing what with all the other duties and distractions of life. We don't need 276 comments in our "Spam Comments" section. That is the number I encountered last week after not checking the comments for about a week's time. For the first time, I chose to permanently delete all those spam comments without even looking at them.  I truly appreciate the efforts a number of commenters make in sending in compliments or kudos on our posts, or even criticisms when they are constructive. However, I'm trying to promote our books or share views on writing, photographing, reminiscing or life in general and am hoping to glean relevant information from other bloggers instead of spending valuable time reading, rewriting, replying to or trashing umpteen comments a day. I am sharing these words in hopes that others will understand my frustrations and those of other bloggers who are surely having similar problems with unwarranted comments. Perhaps some of them will attempt to correct their comments or have them edited by someone else or those who just want to advertise their own blogs will cease and desist. At least I won't have to relate to them if I trust Akismet's weeding out those comments.

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Fruits and vegetables would be the healthiest foods around, and one great way to unlock their nutritional bounty is through juicing. Converting fruits and vegetables into liquid form preserves all of their great benefits and makes them more palatable and easier to consume. Here are just a few of the ways that juicing can help with a healthier diet:

Do not forget to remove hard pits from fruits like peaches and cherries before sending them down the juicer. These pits can destroy your juicers blades turning your happy purchase into a giant paperweight. Do not get into such a flow inside your juicing that you forget to associated with fruits safe for juicing.

When preparing for a juice diet, ensure that you stock a LOT of fresh fruits and vegetables! Typically, it takes 4. 4 pounds of raw fruit and veggies to make simply a single quart of juice, so you're looking for lots. Also ensure that you get a large variety of ingredients so that you do not get bored with the same old juice.

Wheat-grass has its own health benefits like cleansing the lymph system, and removing toxic metals from the cells. You can only ingest wheat-grass through juice, so juicing can be extremely beneficial. Be careful because wheat-grass does have a very strong taste. It is best to start out a little at a time. Every time you juice, just gradually add a little more.

Never assault your tastebuds with crazy blends right away. Take it slow together with your flavor blends and stick to what you know you may like in the beginning. Then start to incorporate items that you may not normally consume as juice, for example spinach or other leafy vegetables. This can prevent you from ruining the pleasure of juicing since you got a bad taste within your mouth.

Juicing is a wonderful part of a healthy lifestyle, but you do not have to be totally strict as to what you consume. You need to practice excellent health choices at least two-thirds of the time. The other third allows you to head out to a restaurant, possess a few french fries, or enjoy some ice cream.

Juicing noesn't need to involve eleven different items preselected depending on every single vitamin and nutrient contained within each! You can just make fresh juice each morning to go along with your breakfast and perk you up. Juice is really a healthy way to get energy through fresh produce, and it is super tasty, too!

With regards to juicing, one thing that you want to keep in mind is that when purchasing a juicer you will want to get a dual gear juicer. This is important, because with all the extraction process used by this type of juicer, the most amount of enzymes and nutrients are retained.

Obtain the best juicer for your money. Quality in juicers is no laughing matter. Target a juicer that you could afford of course , but also look for reviews around the juicer. You will want a juicer that is quiet, highly efficient and also easy to clean. Here's more in regards to green star juice extractor review ( look at Having a quality juicer can make juicing much more enjoyable over time.

To lose weight quickly but healthfully, try juicing. Simply replace one to two meals per day with fresh green juice. You can find countless recipes available online, but you can make your personal by mixing a green leafy vegetable with a couple of fruits. You may be getting more minerals and vitamins than the average American, but fewer calories.

If you are worried about your intake of fat, consider adding negative-calorie foods to your juice blends. These food types boost the nutritional value of your drinks and actually burn calories. Add dark greens such as broccoli, kale, herbs and cabbage. Fruits that have a high fiber content are also great choices, because they use additional body resources, while digesting, effectively break them down.

Mentioned previously before, the process of extracting juice from foods is called juicing. By juicing, you are able to create tasty beverages out of your favorite foods, whilst getting health benefits like vitamins and nutrients. Juice could be extracted manually or mechanically, and when you use the tips out of this article, you can juice your favorite foods.
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Techniques for Creating Your own personal.

Juicing can be a great way to obtain the nutrients and vitamins you require, during the go. This post is filled with great information to help you get the most away from juicing fruits and vegetables.

Be sure you drink your juice once you allow it to be, or at least once you can. Fresh-squeezed juice will start to lose several of its nutritional value once you ensure it is. The simplest way to get all the nutrients from your juice would be to drink it immediately, instead of saving it for a later meal.

Put all your fruit on one shelf in your refrigerator, preferably the top shelf. In this way, nutrition and juicing will be the first thing on your mind when you open your refrigerator each day. You'll also be able to watch how fresh it is, and remind you to ultimately utilize it before it decays.

If you are going to begin a juicing diet, it could be helpful to start with a couple of days of eating primarily vegetables and fruit before going to all-juice. This can help reduce reliance on sugar, flour, and other common diet staples that may make a juice diet difficult to swallow.

Juicing is a good way to drink all the nutrients you need during the day, but you also need to be conscious of the quantity of sugars you're taking in. If you're using a drink with a wide range of fruit or high-glycemic vegetables, drink lower than you would if it were mostly low-glycemic items.

Juicing your vegetables is an excellent way to obtain the vitamins and minerals that are in them without having to actually take time to prepare them. Lots of people simply do not have you a chance to prepare a gourmet meal every single night. Juicing vegetables allows you to quickly and easily complete nutrients from them that you possibly can without spending a ton of time in it.

With regards to juicing, one thing that you want to bear in mind is that in case you require storing it System.Drawing.Bitmap a day that you would like to continue to keep it chilled and air tight. This is very important because with the insufficient preservatives, your juice will spoil quicker than store bought types.

Get adventurous with your juicing ingredients! Why don't try grapefruit or add in a little ginger for some zip! Other items to try are celery, parsley, beets, bell peppers, and leafy greens! Installed know what you might end up liking.

When it comes to juicing, something that you want to bear in mind is that sometimes you may have to add in artificial flavors to attain a specific taste that you want. This is very important because as you may feel as though you happen to be cheating, there are some flavors that are just not reasonable to obtain from normal juicing procedures.

If you need to improve your nutrition, give juicing a go. Here's more information on bella 13454 juicer juice extractor review check out Juicing makes it easy to get all your daily recommended servings of vegetables and fruit. While you will lose out on the fiber these food types provide, you will get all of the vitamins and minerals, and juice tastes great too!

To enhance your general health quickly and easily, drink green juices. They are fresh juices made out of leafy green vegetables. To improve the flavor and include a variety of nutrients, include such along with oranges and bananas. These juices are quick to generate, taste great, and can give you energy that lasts for hours.

You will get a great deal of nutrition from juicing, with various types of fruits and vegetables well suited for the process. However , you should know why and how to juice in order to really get into it and make it a regular practice that helps you to definitely remain fit.
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Another one of Glenn Langohr's stunning memoirs--a brave, unflinching account of life in prison~ Prison Killers Book 4

The California Prison System houses a mixture of Mexican cartel members, Mexican mafia, Bloods, Crips, and thousands of other street gangs fighting for control and the author turns this story into a pulp thriller of true crime.

The author of Underdog, Glenn Langohr, takes you on a journey back into prison as he remembers a prison riot days before his release date where he left his friend on the way to Pelican Bay.

The story follows the author years later as he visits his friend in Pelican Bay during a prisoner developed hunger strike against sadistic and cruel guards who get off on their isolation and enjoy adding violence to their torture.

A spotlight on the flaws at how Pelican Bay determines gang validation and solitary confinement.

"With lazer-like precision Glenn Langohr lays bare the festering under-belly of our criminal justice system in a driving, graphic narrative that somehow finds the humanity in this most inhuman setting." Phillip Doran, T.V. Producer and Author

For Glenn Langohr's complete list of books in print, kindle and audio book in the U.S. go here~ For the U.K. go here~

Available for interviews and reviews at

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Prison Riot, A True Story of Surviving a Gang War in Prison by Glenn Langohr is Available in Audio Book to Listen to Like a Movie

To listen to an excerpt for free or purchase go here-

Another one of Glenn Langohr’s stunning memoirs–a brave, unflinching account of life in prison

Ever wonder what a prison riot is like? B.J, a white inmate, serving time on drug charges, gets caught up in a Mexican gang war. The northern California Mexicans demand that the southern California Mexicans keep their shirts on to cover up their gangland tattoos. The prison explodes into chaos as each building erupts in deadly violence. For B.J, the war isn’t over when he and over a hundred inmates get housed in solitary confinement, it’s just beginning. For getting involved, he’s labeled a southern Mexican gangster.
Glenn Langohr’s other books include: Roll Call Book, Upon Release From Prison, Race Riot, Lock Up Diaries, Gladiator & Underdog


For Glenn Langohr's complete list of books in print, kindle and audio book in the U.S. go here~ For the U.K. go here~

Available for interviews and reviews at

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