Conquests and Cultures

Conquests and Cultures: An International History, by Thomas Sowell ★★★★★

Conquests and Cultures is the last of a series of three books by Thomas Sowell, the first being Race and Culture and the second Migrations and Culture. In Sowell’s words, the overarching theme of this series is to show that “racial, ethnic, and national groups have their own respective cultures, without which their economic and social histories cannot be understood.” In this text, Sowell focuses on British, African, Slavic, and American Indian cultures, though he generalizes a prevailing concept. This concept is that all civilizations have been subject to invasion and conquest, and how conquest has often enhanced a culture, and at other times has destroyed much of that culture. Beginning with the Roman Empire, Sowell demonstrates how countries that had a strong Roman presence have later come out stronger than their non-Roman counterparts, even after the demise of the Roman Empire.

It is hard to give a detailed description of this book, yet it held my interest through all of its pages. It is written from a distinctly conservative perspective, and Sowell uses his expertise in economics to further show how economic policy has affected the rise or fall of various cultures. The book is heavily referenced, and every page demonstrates a plethora of facts and details to support his thesis. I found the chapters regarding Africa and Western Hemispheric Indians to be the most fascinating, and greatly in support of the thesis of the previous book that I had recently reviewed, Not Stolen. You don’t find this stuff in standard textbooks. Reading this book will help round out one’s education with details that would never be taught in a liberal school or university.