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Summer Edition
Volume 100, Number 1

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The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

Sail into summer reading (continued)

Order and uproar

Exploring the “fault lines” of world civilization 

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If you are intrigued by the big picture of world order, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington is a book you will enjoy. This is a thoughtful foundational book putting form and understanding to the forces shaping our post–Cold War world. Huntington’s work provides a framework and context for the political and cultural stresses of today’s world. In this classic work, Huntington defines the stress points between what he identifies as the seven major civilizations (fault lines) of the world. He proposes that the fault lines of today—between cultures and religious identities—are of greater significance than the ideological and economic conflict of the Cold War.

I found this work to be bedrock for building understanding of the structural differences underlying actual and potential conflicts of our global society. This seminal work has achieved growing relevance as the West encounters direct terrorist and military conflict with radical forces today.

Huntington is a professor of sociology at Harvard University. His insightful and analytical book reads more like a text than a compelling novel, but you come away with a structure for understanding the pressures building in our world. This work remains a point of departure for those who would add to Huntington’s worldview or take issue with it.

If this topic interests you, you may also want to explore a collection of relevant essays in a book also edited by Samuel Huntington and Lawrence Harrison, Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress.

Charlie Byers Jr.

—Charlie Byers Jr. is a ’56 Junior College alumnus and a member of the Messiah College Board of Trustees since 1982. Charlie, who earned a B.S. and a master’s degree in finance at Indiana University, was an international executive with Cummins Engine Co. in Columbus, Ind. In retirement, he and his wife, Miriam, reside in Ft. Myers, Fla., summering in Indiana. His reading interests are sociology, political science, and religion. Previously, long international trips allowed for uninterrupted reading. Now his favorite spot for reading is the lanai by the lake.

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