Summary and book reviews of The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington

The Clash of Civilizations

and The Remaking of World Order

By Samuel P. Huntington

The Clash of Civilizations
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  • Hardcover: Jun 1998,
    368 pages.
    Paperback: Dec 1997,
    367 pages.

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Book Summary

Based on the author's seminal article in Foreign Affairs, Samuel P. Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order is a provocative and prescient analysis of the state of world politics after the fall of communism. In this incisive work, the renowned political scientist explains how "civilizations" have replaced nations and ideologies as the driving force in global politics today and offers a brilliant analysis of the current climate and future possibilities of our world's volatile political culture.

From Chapter 1: The New Era in World Politics Introduction: Flags and Cultural Identity

On January 3, 1992, a meeting of Russian and American scholars took place in the auditorium of a government building in Moscow. Two weeks earlier the Soviet Union had ceased to exist and the Russian Federation had become an independent country. As a result, the statue of Lenin which previously graced the stage of the auditorium had disappeared and instead the flag of the Russian Federation was now displayed on the front wall. The only problem, one American observed, was that the flag had been hung upside down. After this was pointed out to the Russian hosts, they quickly and quietly corrected the error during the first intermission.

The years after the Cold War witnessed the beginnings of dramatic changes in peoples' identities and the symbols of those identities. Global politics began to be reconfigured along cultural lines. Upside-down flags were a sign of the transition, but more and ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
The New York Review of Books - William H. McNeill

I agree with Huntington when he argues that the commitments to particular patterns of civilization and particular religious identities are rapidly gaining importance in international affairs. But I disagree with the conclusions he draws; for it seems to me that increasing connections among civilizations simultaneously sustain a contrary trend toward global cosmopolitanism. This trend, in my view, offers by far the best hope for the future, and is therefore very much worth fostering, as the universalist strand in American foreign policy, perhaps naively, tends to do.

The New York Times Book Review - Michael Ignatieff

The Huntington argument that the West should stop intervening in civilizational conflicts it doesn't understand makes a powerful claim that internationalists cannot easily ignore. The question is whether there remain certain human interests that all civilizations had better endorse for our common survival. Genocide is genocide, famine is famine, and a world where civilizations no longer intervene to save strangers from these universal threats is one that not even Samuel P. Huntington would feel safe in.

The New York Times - Richard Bernstein

A benchmark for informed speculation on those always fascinating questions Just where are we in history? What hidden hand is controlling our destiny?...A searching reflection on our global state.

The Washington Post Book World - Michael Elliott

The book is studded with insights, flashes of rare brilliance, great learning, and in particular, an ability to see the familiar in a new and provocative way.

New Statesman (UK) - Fred Halliday

Of all the broad-sweep books on the post-cold war world Huntington's is without doubt the worst and the most pernicious. It is the worst because it is careless with facts, ignorant of history and indifferent to the whole range of social theory that has, with due care, looked at such issues as culture, socialisation and tradition. . . . For a book that claims to be about different civilisations, it is striking that all the references are to books in English.Huntington is pernicious because he fuels myths about cultural conflict, and reinforces those who seek to consolidate relativist, community-based authority.

Library Journal

This book attracted attention because of its thesis that the clashes of civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace. However, Huntington's work is important here for his second chapter on the nature and study of civilizations (with its excellent bibliographic sources), and his last chapter on the future of the West and other core civilizations.

The Wall Street Journal - Francis Fukyama

The book is dazzling in its scope and grasp of the intricacies of contemporary global politics.

Author Blurb Henry A. Kissinger
Sam Huntington, one of the West's most eminent political scentists, presents a challenging framework for understanding the realitites of global politics in the next century. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order is one of the most important books to have emerged since the end of the Cold War.

Reader Reviews
misha

The guy is a disgrace to mankind. It seems to me that he has already made up his mind about the faith of the middle east without properly researching the facts. Any conscious human being with half a brain would know better, (especially a harvard ...   Read More

haha

harvard professor? well, he seems to be a patriotic <<edited>> (uhh..this word is forbidden) ...he has no idea of international knowledge. sorry, but i hope nobody will listen to what he's saying.
thanks.

larry b.

That book is unique in scope, readability. and integrity. It's highly informative and explanatory.
It's written from the point of view of an American, who is fully aware that he presents the western view on world peace,
and world's conflicts: the ...   Read More

Tyler_D

The worst book ever!! I've never read such an historical ignorant text! Not only ignorant, it is completely wrong and just not true what he is saying! And to try and divide the world into 8 cultural groups is a schoolboy error!!

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