– An Amazon book-review –
I remember back when I took history classes in High School. They would always open up the first day of class with the question: “Why study history?” The most popular answer was: “To learn from the past and not repeat the same mistakes”. However, as the school year progressed, we never discussed any lessons learned from history, we just were told to memorize a boring list of facts and dates and remember them for the exam. One thing that High School teachers never even attempted to answer was why civilizations rise and fall? In particular, why some civilizations seem to last for millennia, while others fall in a couple of generations.
Since High School, I have read many books describing how civilizations fall because of climate, religion, morality, warfare, disease, and pretty much any environmental concept one can think of. However, these reasons were never convincing, since almost all civilizations have been through hard times, but where some have failed, others have survived.
The answer this book gives is also the most intuitive and simple one. It states that a civilization is just a product of the people who live in that civilization. When the genetic makeup of the people changes, so does the civilization, creating the illusion of “rise and fall”. That is all there is to it. People create civilizations in their own image.
This simple fact explains why the civilizations in the middle East fell, why Egypt fell, and why Greece and Rome fell. It also explains why civilizations like China, have remained pretty much intact from antiquity to the present day. The answer is that genetically, they have remained Chinese during this whole time.
As politically incorrect as this concept of history is, it is the most powerful concept I have encountered thus far. It is to history, what Newton’s Laws of Gravitation are to physics. For the first time, history makes sense and is predictable.