(this review was originally posted and has a portuguese version on my blog.)
With this work, Ian Mortimer intends to a analyse the last ten centuries and determine the changes in human civilization - focused on the so called western world - with the purpose of finding the one which saw the biggest changes.
The author starts by explaining his approach, justifying the option for the western civilization, and then, chapter by chapter, describes each century taking into account the changes and the agents of those changes at the time. This method ends up becoming a good way to remember history and the pathway our civilization has treaded before it became what it is today.
After this, the author looks back and uses some criteria to be able to determine the main changes and agents and the centuries that saw them happen.
I didn't always agree with the author's choices or opinions - something that is obviously related to individual values and perspectives, as the author himself refers - but he does explain his options showing sound logic and justification.
The main relevance of the book, in my opinion, much more than finding out in which century we changed the most, is what the subtitle asks - "Why it Matters to Us?"
"Breaking down the overarching concept of change into smaller facets has allowed us to glimpse the dynamics of long-term human development. We can see that not all change is technological: it includes language, individualism, philosophy, religious division, secularisation, geographical discovery, social reform and the weather."
Mortimer ends with a very relevant analysis of our civilization's evolution and a prediction of what our future can hold.
The winning century? It is but a detail.
I had free access to this book through NetGalley.