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Looking for a book on world history

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toro09
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There's no such thing as a comprehensive book on world history; there's not even any such thing as a comprehensive encyclopedia of world history. There's just too much history (too many parts of which are under contention) to manage such a feat. In large part, history is fractal in nature: the closer you look at it, the more there is to see.

What I would do, is to pick some large society or culture that interests you, and start picking up some books about it; even a mediocre history text connects with happenings in other parts of the world. Then, when you have a good grounding in the chronology of events, you can start branching out into other societies and hooking the bits together. This is more or less what I've been doing for years, even though my interest in history is only so-so.

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I recommend JM Roberts History of the World. My audiobook edition is over a decade old, so I can’t vouch for the latest, but it’s a very good book. The overall focus is on the forces that created the modern world, and the proper focus and credit is given to Western civilization, from Greece to the modern day. Roberts does attempt to cover everything, which will leave you wanting more if you are interested in the particulars of certain events.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Toro,

Since you are new to the subject, I sense that what you are looking for, is not so much a "comprehensive" history of civilization, but an accessible introduction to the whole, so that you can get your bearings, and gradually ease into the topic.

In book form, probably the best source I can suggest to you is Willis Mason West's two-volume history of Western civilization. The first volume is "Early Progress." The second volume is "Modern Progress." These are older books, so hunt for them at www.abebooks.com.

You will find that West does not assume any advanced context of knowledge, and that his narrative flows nicely, in a basic causal progression from the distant past to the present (c.1930, when he wrote it).

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't offer you a change to examine A First History for Adults, a product I created for Objectivists after teaching for a few years at VanDamme Academy, and--despite my history degree--wanting to genuinely educated myself in history, much like yourself. It's not a book, but it is the best place to start learning history!

Best regards,

Scott Powell.

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  • 3 years later...
In book form, probably the best source I can suggest to you is Willis Mason West's two-volume history of Western civilization. The first volume is "Early Progress." The second volume is "Modern Progress." These are older books, so hunt for them at www.abebooks.com.

Both Early Progress and Modern Progress have now been digitalized by Google books (click hyperlinks). They can even be downloaded for free in PDF format.

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  • 10 months later...

I would recommend Eric Hobsbawm's- The Age of revolution, Age of Capital,Age of Empires and Age of Extremes for modern history at least. It's an economic history and as such is quite dry in parts and quite long. It was quite enlightening reading the Age of Extremes 1914-1991 in particular.

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