THE SECRET OF WESTERN DOMINATION by Kurt Mendelssohn

THE SECRET OF WESTERN DOMINATION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Kurt Mendelssohn is a physicist, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a scholar in the history of ideas, and the author of a number of popular works including Riddle of the Pyramids. In spite of the come-on title, the current work is respectably orthodox. Europe, and later America, were the hubs of learning of natural philosophy--i.e. science--that branch of inquiry into nature characterized by observation, experiment, and proof. So fruitful have been the results of that mode of inquiry that the West (and hence white races) now dominate the globe. Why this happened is not clear. . . why Portugal should have led in the design of better ships and navigational instruments so that the route to India was opened up and the dimensions of the world determined. . . why Jews and Moslems should have mediated learning from Middle Ages to Renaissance. . . why Copernicus, why Galileo, why Newton. . . and why not comparable figures in Asia. Mendelssohn speculates in terms of cultural attitudes or philosophical ideas. More importantly, he summarizes the major ideas and experiments that led to fundamental discoveries about light, motion, electricity, the atom, power, energy. These in turn led to the practical applications which fired commerce and industry to their present calamitous states. Mendelssohn sees the applications as inevitable, and hence world domination as a natural corollary of the success of science. You may accept or argue his premises as well as his speculations as to what may happen next in the West or in China, Japan or India. In any case you can enjoy the book for its sharp elucidation of ideas along with the personalities and cultural framework in which they first arose.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1976
Publisher: Praeger