Gregor Dallas

The Snake Winds Forward

Civilization: A New History of the Western World

By

Jonathan Cape 506pp £20 order from our bookshop

Are we civilised? City blight, broken families, functional illiteracy, corporate thuggery and yobbishness make us ponder a moment. Have we ever been civilised? Brutal war and genocide have accompanied the growth of ‘Western civilisation’ since it started 3,000 years ago. ‘This is civilisation’s fight,’ was President George Bush’s first public remark on the day those two towers in New York crumbled. What, he means a civilisation based on war and genocide?

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