Michael Kimmage reviews a textbook recently published by Anthony Grafton and David Bell, The West: A New History, identifying this book as a splendidly researched and written contribution both to the history of Europe and to ongoing debates about the scope, meaning, and historiographical salience of the West. This review isolates seven features of Western history from The West's narrative and analysis: a style of learning pioneered in ancient Greece; the importance of cities; an alternating series of political forms, including monarchy, democracy, republic, and empire; a tendency toward violence; an emphasis on constitutions; an attraction to trade, commerce, and technological innovation; and a long attachment to the institution of slavery. This review concludes by exploring the relationship between the “core” and the “periphery” of the West, which is to say the place of Turkey, Russia, and the United States, within the narrative that Grafton and Bell so skillfully develop in The West.

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