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Worlds at War


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About the Author

Anthony Pagden is distinguished professor of political science and history at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was educated in Chile, Spain, and France, and at Oxford. In the past two decades, he has been the reader in intellectual history at Cambridge, a fellow of King's College, a visiting professor at Harvard, and Harry C. Black Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of many prizewinning books, including Peoples and Empires: A Short History of European Migration, Exploration, and Conquest, from Greece to the Present and European Encounters with the New World: From Renaissance to Romanticism. Pagden contributes regularly to such publications as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The New Republic.


In the pessimistic words of the ancient historian Herodotus, there will ever be "perpetual enmity" between the globe's two halves. Pagden (Peoples and Empires), a professor of political science and history at UCLA, tackles the immense sweep of 2,500 years of bad blood and seeks to explain the feud's continuing existence despite the increasing erosion of national differences. Does the trouble have geographical roots, or might it stem from religious differences? Pagden is convinced that in fact East and West are separated more by values and culture than by anything else-democratic vs. authoritarian rule, secular vs. theocratic and, later, Christian vs. Muslim. Though some readers might cavil at Pagden's reductionist assertion that religion has "caused more lasting harm to the human race than any other single set of beliefs," his book is an accessible and lucid exploration of the history of the East-West split, concluding with a nuanced look at the divisions and misapprehensions that continue to the present time. Fans of Jacques Barzun and Jared Diamond will be most impressed by Pagden's "big picture" perspective. (Mar. 4) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Bold, panoramic and highly readable, at times a page-turner."
-The New York Times Book Review

"A masterpiece of stunning scope, readability, and relevance. Worlds at War makes epic battles of the past come alive as illuminations of what is happening today in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan."
-Strobe Talbott, author of The Great Experiment

"A grand synthesis of military and intellectual history, political philosophy and theology, Worlds at War delivers the old-fashioned pleasures of vivid prose and lively narration."

"Absorbing . . . Pagden writes smart, fluent, lively prose. His book is a pleasure to read."
-The Houston Chronicle

"If you are going to read only one book on the Manichaean struggle between East and West, this is the book."
-Efraim Karsh, author of Islamic Imperialism: A History

"Splendid . . . learned, fluent and thoroughly entertaining."
-National Post (Canada)

"Timely and provocative . . . enlightening."
-Cleveland Plain Dealer

Winner of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Book Prize

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