We tend to imagine Western Civilisation as a golden thread connecting ancient Greece to modern Europe, from Plato to NATO. The idea of the West is deeply ingrained in our collective consciousness and we often refer to it without much consideration. But what if the idea itself is deeply flawed?
In March 2023 historian and archaeologist Naoíse Mac Sweeney came to Intelligence Squared to argue that our understanding of the West is deeply misleading and obscures the rich diversity of our past. Drawing on the lives of characters throughout history – including a formidable Roman matriarch and an unconventional Islamic scholar – Mac Sweeney argued that the dominant narrative of Western history was an invention which was used to justify imperialism and racism, and is no longer ideologically fit for purpose today.
‘Provides a truly global perspective of the past. A fantastic achievement’ – Peter Frankopan
‘Bright, expansive, and iconoclastic, this deliciously witty book has the potential to upset the applecart of “Western Civilisation” itself… Magnificent’ – Prof. Suzannah Lipscomb