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How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam Is Dying Too) Hardcover – September 19, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for How Civilizations Die

“In How Civilizations Die, David Goldman muses on population trends and religion with a breathtaking depth, originality, and panache. Some of his startling but documented predictions: Europe is in its death throes. Muslim demographic collapse will undercut Islamic triumphalism. The United States and Israel will emerge triumphant. And that’s just the start.”
—DANIEL PIPES, President of the Middle East Forum and Taube Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University

“Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West was required reading when I was a college student and David Goldman’s contemporary argument should be required reading today.”
—HERB LONDON, President Emeritus of the Hudson Institute

“David Goldman has explored the political implications of demography with rare insight. How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam Is Dying Too) is a mind expanding peek into the likely political future of our planet.”
—MARY ANN GLENDON, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University

About the Author

DAVID P. GOLDMAN headed global bond research for Bank of America as well as other Wall Street research groups. He was elected to Institutional Investor’s All-America Fixed-Income Research Team. A former Forbes columnist and editor at First Things and a frequent television commentator on politics and the economy, he draws a million readers a month for his “Spengler” column at Asia Times Online. Trained in music theory as well as economics, he has written extensively on music, mathematics, religion, and the cultural heritage of the West. He lives in New York City with his family.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (September 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159698273X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596982734
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The premises for this book are very well supported and detailed.
PollyWD
Goldman, aka 'Spengler' does a great job on explaining a major source of demographic and social problems in Islam, and in Western society / culture.
Jeffrey A. Gross
Goldman sees this happening both in Islam's encounter with modernity, as well as the failed nationalism of various European states.
Duane

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

319 of 332 people found the following review helpful By Eric Jackson on September 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The most important development of the twenty-first century is likely to be the great extinction of peoples and cultures. Like Greece and Rome, Europe has lost faith in itself; though incomparably richer than the peasants who built the Cathedrals, the denizens of what used to be Christendom spend only on themselves, with no thought for the morrow. They have failed to attend to the most elementary task of a successful civilization: raising children. In no European country is the birthrate at replacement level. As David P. Goldman, Spengler of Asia Times Online, tells it, not only is the old world dying, it has reached the demographic point of no return.

The title of Goldman's book is How Civilizations Die, but the addendum, And Why Islam is Dying Too, may be more important. For there is almost no awareness that the Muslim world is following in the footsteps of western civilization. Indeed, a popular narrative among those who seek to revive Europe has it that Muslims will soon rule the continent. But while European Christianity eventually lost the fight with modernity, Islam has fared worse.

Iran proves illustrative. "An educated twenty-five year old Iranian woman today probably grew up in a family of six or seven children, but will bear only one child." As of 2010, Iran's fertility rate stands at 1.7 children per woman. Decadence has enveloped the nation; drug use is rampant, and a sizable portion of the women work willingly as prostitutes. Paradoxically, this makes the Islamic world more dangerous, at least in the short term: "For in their despair, radical Muslims who can already taste the ruin of their culture believe that they have nothing to lose.
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176 of 182 people found the following review helpful By Reid on September 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David P. Goldman, aka Asia Times Online's 'Spengler' columinst, is the single most insightful writer in America today. Goldman's new book 'How Civilizations Die' is an absolute gem as he dispenses with conventional wisdom and gives the reader unique geopolitical insight in a cultural and historical tour de force.

Goldman may as well be the originator of the phrase "Demographics is Destiny" because he has argued for years (and in this book) that demographics can go a long way into explaining nations' economic and cultural rise and fall. But then what explains demographics? In the introductory part of the book, Goldman explores why people in the developed world choose to have children and why they don't. His answer seems to be that having children is often an act of religious faith, or at least an article of faith in the future. Those developed societies (read: Europe) that fail to reproduce at replacement rate have lost faith. Not surprisingly, only two developed countries, Jewish Israel, and Judeo-Christian America, currently have birth rates above the 2.1 replacement rate.

The next part of Goldman's book takes the reader deep in the heart of Islam and explores how and why Islam is literally convulsing before our eyes despite its religious facade. Who knew that the world had never before seen a drop in birthrates as it sees in Iran today? Who knew that Turkey too faces a demographic crisis in the near future and that native Kurds might soon outnumber native Turks in Turkey? The reader will be shocked as Goldman goes through the numbers and explains the cultural and economic consequences of an Islamic world on the brink.
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170 of 180 people found the following review helpful By Yitzhak Shnidman on September 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a long time fan of Spengler from his perches at Asia Times online and First Things magazine, it was a pleasure to read this book, which was a synthesis of most of the seminal and original ideas that he has been writing about now for 10 years.

Spengler is not a professional journalist, but rather a retired financial whiz and music theorist, and as such can afford to offend as many people as humanly possible with his terribly politically incorrect views. This is what attracts so many hundreds of thousands of readers to his ATOL essays. Anyone who reads this book will see why he will never be hired to write the anodyne nonsense and trivial gossip that is now standard fare on the OpEd page of the NY Times.

Spengler places high value on 3 points of view that have been virtually taboo in the world of our cultivated intelligentsia in New York and Washington. The first is the value of women having children and rearing them properly - even women with careers and other lifestyle options. The second is the importance of religious life in the modern world, especially for the educated class whose nihilistic, materialistic and low-fertility behavior threatens the survival of the nations they lead. The third scandalous idea (especially for the NY Times) is that Israel shines as a symbolic exception to the cultural and political disintegration and degradation not only of the Muslim Middle East, but in fact post-Christian Europe, as well. Yes, those pesky Jews who in Congressional District #9 just repudiated the favorite politician of the NYT, whose presidency is now endangered.

In the educated class of America and Europe, the terms of discussion have changed dramatically in recent years.
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