The End of Faith by Sam Harris

Introduction In The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Sam Harris calls attention to the dangers of belief and the importance of criticising religion. The book is his reflexive response to the “collective grief and stupefaction” following the 9/11 attacks. He writes with particular concern about the unique problems that the … Continue reading The End of Faith by Sam Harris


Civilisation: The West and the Rest

Civilisation: The West and the Rest is Big History in a broad sweep. According to Niall Ferguson, the most important historical phenomenon during the last 500 years is the West’s ascendency over the Rest. He distils the essence of the West’s pre-eminence into six concepts: competition, science, property rights, medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic. His … Continue reading Civilisation: The West and the Rest

Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan

Silk Roads explores the interconnectedness of the West with Asia, particularly in glossed-over regions such as the Caucasus and the Steppes. Frankopan seeks to shift the centre of the world away from the Greco-Roman world of the Mediterranean eastwards. This is where the heart of the web of connections known as the Silk Road lies. … Continue reading Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan

Guns, Germs, & Steel by Jared Diamond

A year ago, during a summer break from university, I did some volunteer work in Mapungubwe National Park, a game reserve that borders Zimbabwe and Botswana in the far north of South Africa. The park is named after Mapungubwe hill (hill of the jackal), atop which one has a spectacular view of the broad Limpopo meandering … Continue reading Guns, Germs, & Steel by Jared Diamond