Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress. Edited by Lawrence E. Harrison and Samuel P. Huntington

A developed nation provides two things to its citizens: political freedom and a decent standard of living. Why are some countries able to accomplish this and others not? The world at the beginning of the twenty-first century is more divided than ever between the rich and the poor, between those living in freedom and those under oppression. Even in prosperous democracies, troubling gaps in well-being persist. As the credibility of traditional explanations-colonialism, dependency, racism-declines, many now believe that the principal reason why some countries and ethnic groups are better off than others lies in the cultural values that powerfully shape nations and peoples' political, economic, and social performance. Many of the distinguished contributors to Culture Matters believe that value and attitude change is indispensable to progress for those who are lagging. Among the prominent scholars and journalists contributing to the volume are Francis Fukuyama, Nathan Glazer, David Landes, Seymour Martin Lipset, Orlando Patterson, Michael Porter, Jeffrey Sachs, and Richard Shweder. Lawrence E. Harrison is a senior fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and the author of Who Prospers? and The Pan-American Dream.

Global Intelligence: The World's Secret Services Today by Paul Todd & Jonathan Bloch

The CIA, the KGB, MI5, Mossad, Boss, Savak, Dina - the names read like a rollcall of the seamier side of history in the years following the Second World War. In the 21st century the Cold War is dead; there are fewer dictatorships; and 9/11 has created a whole new raison d'etre for covert action. This volume explains the impact of the war on terrorism on the world's secret services and intelligence agencies and describes how ultra-modern new technologies have vastly increased their power to spy and eavesdrop. It also reveals the changing priorities and working methods of intelligence services around the world and raises issues including the new roles of the secret services as they target rogue states , the war on drugs , and terrorists . The authors explore the unsolved contradiction between secretive and unaccountable agencies operating on the fringes of the law, and the requirements of a free and democratic society.

Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years by Jared M. Diamond

Why did Eurasians conquer, displace, or decimate Native Americans, Australians, and Africans, instead of the other way around? In this groundbreaking work, an evolutionary biologist dismantles racially-based theories and reveals the environmental factors actually responsible for history's broadest patterns. A whirlwind tour through 13,000 years of human history, beginning when Stone Age hunter-gatherers constituted the entire population. Here is a truly a world history, brilliantly written and radically new.
Jared Diamond argues that both geography and the environment played major roles in determining the shape of the modern world. This argument runs counter to the usual theories that cite biology as the crucial factor. Diamond claims that the cultures that were first able to domesticate plants and animals were then able to develop writing skills, as well as make advances in the creation of government, technology, weaponry, and immunity to disease.

Guns, Germs and Steel was initially subtitled ‘The Fates of Human Societies.’ Within a few months, this subtitle had evolved into ‘A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years.’ Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction, the Rhone Poulenc Science Book Prize, along with three other international literary prizes, Guns, Germs and Steel has been translated into 25 languages and has sold millions of copies around the world.