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The Right Side of History

How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great
Narrated by: Ben Shapiro
Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Politics
4.5 out of 5 stars (145 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

America has a God-shaped hole in its heart, argues New York Times best-selling author Ben Shapiro, and we shouldn't fill it with politics and hate.

In 2016, Ben Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley. Hundreds of police officers were required from 10 UC campuses across the state to protect his speech, which was - ironically - about the necessity for free speech and rational debate. 

He came to argue that Western civilization is in the midst of a crisis of purpose and ideas. Our freedoms are built upon the twin notions that every human being is made in God’s image and that human beings were created with reason capable of exploring God’s world. 

We can thank these values for the birth of science, the dream of progress, human rights, prosperity, peace, and artistic beauty. Jerusalem and Athens built America, ended slavery, defeated the Nazis and the Communists, lifted billions from poverty, and gave billions spiritual purpose. Jerusalem and Athens were the foundations of the Magna Carta and the Treaty of Westphalia; they were the foundations of the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. 

Civilizations that rejected Jerusalem and Athens have collapsed into dust. The USSR rejected Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, substituting a new utopian vision of “social justice” - and they starved and slaughtered tens of millions of human beings. The Nazis rejected Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, and they shoved children into gas chambers. Venezuela rejects Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, and citizens of their oil-rich nation have been reduced to eating dogs.

We are in the process of abandoning Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, favoring instead moral subjectivism and the rule of passion. And we are watching our civilization collapse into age-old tribalism, individualistic hedonism, and moral subjectivism. We believe we can reject Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law and satisfy ourselves with intersectionality, or scientific materialism, or progressive politics, or authoritarian governance, or nationalistic solidarity. 

We can’t.

The West is special, and in The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro bravely explains that it’s because too many of us have lost sight of the moral purpose that drives us each to be better, or the sacred duty to work together for the greater good, or both. A stark warning, and a call to spiritual arms, this audiobook may be the first step in getting our civilization back on track.

©2019 Ben Shapiro (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

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Generally solid

I really enjoyed listening to this book. Having the author narrate his own work is always more personal of course.

Generally speaking the history and recounting of western ideas is pretty solid. Perhaps the main place I saw this was when it came to his understanding of Christianity. This is not surprising given that he’s an Orthodox Jew. The impact of Christianity I think is much greater than he tells.

Otherwise when it comes to his history of socialism and naturalism especially in modern history and current society, it’s a fascinating and insightful listen.

I would easily recommend this book, with those small caveats that I’ve already mentioned. And it’s not a very long book to listen to. The author is concise in his thinking and open about his generalisations. He also references many other authors and thinkers which is helpful for a balanced account. And it’s also a demonstration of the very thing that he’s trying to promote, rational critical engagement with those outside our ‘echo chamber’.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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challenging at times, but worth the effort

Ben Shapiro is one of the few books I can't listen to at 1.5 speed because it is both complex and he already speaks at that speed. joking aside, it is a crash course history of how we have got to where we are today in a divided culture.

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I found it very interesting how the great thinkers of even hundreds of years ago faced problems similar to what we face today. At parts I found the book a bit too 'high level' for me but this just means I will need to do more background reading and give it a re-listen. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed it and the audible format stops be from getting 'stuck in the weeds' as it were.

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Must read for every young person

Ravi Zacharias recommended that every young person should read this book & so I did. Ravi was correct, this is such an important book in these crazy times when politics has never been so fractured & divided. If only we could get back to our Judeo-Christian roots.

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Must read for all high school students

Thank you Ben so much for writing this book. I bought it after you interviewed Ravi Zakarias.
This book contains the insights into how to support our society into the future.

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Love him or hate him you can’t argue the facts

Introduction to Shapiro was on YouTube, I love that he uses the facts not feelings approach
If you are interested in western history you will enjoy this book

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Brilliant

What a great book. I certainly have more reading to do after this one. Highly recommend

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  • Nic
  • 09-05-2019

The best audio book I've heard this year.

Very interesting, book. I had a pretty poor opinion of Shapiro and decided to hear his stuff. I could not have been more wrong. It's a smart, provoking, well written intellectual piece of work. I'm now a fan

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent over view of the important philosophies of the West

As a Bible believing Christian, I thought Ben’s summation of the important doctrines was concise and accurate, which gives me confidence in his description of the other topics. A great way to gain insight and perspective of the last 3,000 years, of which I had a very limited understanding. I think it will be seen in time as an important work. Highly recommended!

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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The West is the best

This book is simply incredible. It makes you proud to live in the Western world and proud to have descended from those who sacrificed so much to make it what it is today.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Benjamin
  • 27-03-2019

As an atheist

As an atheist I want to let others like me know that the book has a lot of religious material. And there is a slight slant towards making atheism seem illogical. Dont let that deter you though. There is a fantastic underlying premise to the book and as someone who loves history, Ben is spot on when he points to the merging of Jewish spirituality and Greek reasoning as the turning point for society into modernity. And it is undeniable that the church built a framework for the rise of European societies. While I dont actually believe in God, the belief in him might be the only reason we made it. If only because it humbled people to see themselves as equal in the 'eyes of God'.

148 of 171 people found this review helpful

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  • Emmett
  • 23-03-2019

I didn’t know Ben could talk so slow

For those that know Ben and listen to him speak you know he talks very fast. In this recording he slows it down A LOT. If you speed it up to 1.25x or 1.5x you will have normal Ben speed and finish the book quicker. Great Work Ben!

149 of 179 people found this review helpful

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  • Ismel Reyes
  • 22-08-2019

Ben is right on

In the spirit of the Youtubez:

"Ben Shapiro Wreckz The Tyrannical Left"

What a great job Ben. I am buying a hard copy for a friend. Thank you Ben.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • CV Padre
  • 22-04-2019

History of Philosophy

The book reads very much like a philosophy class. I enjoyed the historical review. Shapiro makes few conclusions in the bulk of the book, although his tone does occasionally reveal his viewpoint. The end of the book is worth the wait, though. He states clearly the greatest imperative to people who believe in hard work, individual merit, freedom and respect for everyone - retake the (read the book)!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Hunter Jacen Taylor
  • 02-04-2019

Thorough and brilliant

You ever get the sensation when someone explains something to you, that you knew it all along but never had the ability to put it into words?

That’s what this book is and is a testament to the veracity of this work and the clarity and precision of its language.

Shapiro does a wonderful job of summarizing the history of Western values as well as the forces currently besieging them. I cannot recommend this work highly enough, and this will forever be one of the 5 books I will have wherever I go.

21 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • luis
  • 22-08-2019

Epic,to the point,a pocket Malcolm Gladwell

Just phenomenal.Will run for sure,and will win.He used my favorite word (apotheosis). Dan Brown would be proud.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 21-03-2019

The first time Ben is speaking slowly!

I needed to raise the speed to 1.5 to hear ben in his usual speaking voice

55 of 75 people found this review helpful

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  • Tarah Beaumont
  • 23-08-2019

Worth the read

A history of western thought and culture abbreviated into an easily digestible length. Well researched and surprisingly moving in moments.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah Cusick
  • 22-08-2019

Great book!

This book Is packed with info and should be required reading in high schools throughout the US.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John Howard
  • 21-08-2019

4.5 tumblers out of 5

Ben Shapiro's oration of this is good although his speaking style is best for talk shows and back and forth, but his speed especially helps move along at a very good pace. I never had the urge to do something else while listening. The book itself is pretty good philosophical view of the ideals that founded the western world as a whole. I already see myself giving it another read soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 26-03-2019

Incredible

Shapiro provides a comprehensive overview of our historical roots of morale reasoning and the evident straying from sense and logic so succinctly. This book could not have more relevance than in this day and age where reason is being increasingly abandoned all so that everyone with a victim persona does not experience the ‘trauma’ of their precious self esteem being offended... the world has gone mad and it is so refreshing to have thinkers and commentators such as Ben Shapiro to bring light to reality. The final chapters 4 lessons for his children are absolutely phenomenal- I am going to teach my own children these crucial lessons as now that I know, it is my responsibility. I am so grateful for this book. Thank you Ben.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Gabriel Amorim
  • 24-03-2019

A great compilation and critique of the current date of sociopolitical affairs

I have been twice through this book now and absolutely loved it. It is a great tool to explain where and how we got to the point we are right now with respect to the social debate in western culture.

For me, the only point I wish Ben had dwelt a bit more was on the contribution of Christianity itself in the points it can be contrasted to Judaism brought to the mix, especially after the Reformation. It is totally understandable- he talks from his viewpoint - but I wished more research and light was given to that issue.

Overall, Ben brings in the clarity, tenacity and capacity to interrelate multiple streams of contributions that forms the Western thought.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Vinicius R.
  • 25-08-2019

Very good book

I am positively surprised by the quality of the content presented in this book. As a jew, Ben sharipo knows how to keep his religious views at bay and state things as they are.
Whether you agree with him or not, you will gain from listening/reading this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nathan Beckett
  • 31-05-2019

A Brilliant Overview of Western Thought

Ben Shapiro's short but inclusive analysis of the key thinkers and ideas in Western history is captivating down to the last second. Readers who enjoy this may also enjoy 'A History of Western Philosophy' by Bertrand Russell which, at 5 times the length, covers the subject in much greater detail.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • TheUnseendimension
  • 16-10-2019

Insightful but a little annoying and needs more EQ

when I started listening to this, the first several paragraps were really amazing and captivating. I just really appreciated the effort that went into the research as well as the crafty sowing together of the narrative. Like I most cases, everyone is buyest towards certain opinions so I was enjoying the portions of this that fell into my particular type of bias until the last few chapters when Ben started providing his opinions and views of a few civil rights related topics as were as commentators. What annoyed me is the slightly reductionist views of their work that he presented and not giving careful attention to why they may have said what they did in the first place as well as also addressing the deeper or root cause of the issues. one example I can give is on his commentary on the topic of the admission of more African-American students into med school by some universities in an attempt at being inclusive etc. He then goes on to say that would you want a to paraphrase, less smart doctor working on you than a smart one etc which is such a narrow and reductionist view. He is ofcourse assuming that most likely those African-American doctors who will most likely go through the same rigorous examinations as part of their studies and will be put through the same test will somehow be allowed to pass or advance through med school even if they fail and may end up being undeserving doctors who will treat people and make mistake. Like saying, other non-African American doctors do not make mistakes because they are of a high calibre of intelligence etc. Facts are great and need to be checked and used accordingly but they can also be misused or misrepresented as shown here clearly. So many things I can say about that particular passage but will leave it at that.

Lastly, the final chapter is pretty good and has some good points but I can see why some people may give Ben certain labels even though I may not think he is based on reading through this entire book. We live in a world where everyone is overly emotional and facts no matter how much research they have behind them will not always resonate with everyone especially if they are contrary to ones presuppositions and that's the EQ piece that we need to balance the equation and Ben needs to be conscious of that as he has these discussions. If you want people to buy into facts, deal with the emotional stuff first which I dont think this book does too well.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-10-2019

good introduction to philosophy.

definetly interesting to read as an intro to philosophy. good job Ben shapiro. thank you

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-09-2019

It's a very thought-provoking book, but biased

Ben shapiro is a very smart author, but doesn't provide any alternatives to his thoughts. It's a very careful selection of history examples, clearly designed to support his theories, but often lacking broader context.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-05-2019

Surprising

It was very interesting to have all the philosophies and ideologies that have crafted the modern world read one after the other to concatenate what values we have of the modern world.

It could have been more fleshed out, but the structure and story it gives, is not inhibited, because of that. Good read, and a good revision to our values in the western world.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-04-2019

Excellent introduction to the western tought!

Excellent in terms of laying the foundations for further investigation of the roots of the West and getting oneself familiar with the consequences of rejection of the judeo-christian tradition.

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  • Mikasa Ackerman
  • 18-04-2019

absolutely brilliant! Do not ignore this title!

Sharp and concise analysis of the components that gave birth to western civilisation. how it is the most successful and thriving civilisation in the world and why we should seek to protect our free world.
Narrated by the author with his own enthusiasm and zeal for facts and sensibility.
Excellent; I culdn't put it down.