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Big History and the Future of Humanity Paperback – January 18, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1444339437 ISBN-10: 1444339435 Edition: 1st

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Big History and the Future of Humanity + Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History + Big History: Between Nothing and Everything
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444339435
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444339437
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Spier takes us one important step forward in making big history accessible to all.  I look forward to the next, more fully illustrated and documented, step in this process.”  (Journal of World History, 1 August 2012

"This is a deep and important book that promises to send scholars in many different fields off on new paths in search of a grand unified theory of history." (Journal of Global History, 2011)

"Personally, I think everyone should have access to this story, and I would put it at the heart of the national curriculum as well." (The Times Higher Education, September 2010) 

Review

"Brilliant.  It pushes the project of theorizing big history a lot further, in exactly the right way, alert to the dangers of over-theorizing or theorizing on too limited information. It will be a major contribution to the discipline.”
David Christian, Macquarie University, author of Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History

 “This book has convinced me not only that Big History is interesting and exciting, but has established a genuine intellectual basis for integrating historical knowledge, and historical method, with those of the natural world. This is a framework in which, ideally, all history should be investigated, taught and discussed.”
R.I. Moore, Emeritus Professor, Newcastle University

"The most exciting book that I've read in 30 years. A masterpiece!"
Barry Rodrigue, University of Southern Maine

“Narratives don’t come much grander than the current scientific view of the history of the Universe…  Spier is one of a small band of exponents of big history, the effort to put the whole story together in an academically rigorous way…  Everyone should have access to this.” 
Times Higher Education Supplement


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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Yehezkel Dror on July 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Capacity to Govern: A Report to the Club of RomeOn Deep History and the Brain

This book can serve as an acceptable introduction to what is called "big history," that is the time line from the big bang to contemporary humanity. But it is also dangerous for students unless accompanied by texts going deeper into human history and its fundamental drivers, such as On Deep History and the Brain by Daniel Lord Smail (2008).
Related is the rather mono-dimensional emphasis on interaction with the environment, however important, without serious penetration into other deep drivers of human history, such as religions (as illustrated by Karl Jasper's Axial Age theory), violence (see Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, Barry R. Weingast, Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History , 2009), and evolving political institutions and the future-shaping choices they are sometimes making (see S. E. Finer, The History of Government, 1997, and Francis Hukuyama, The Origins of Political Order, 2011).
These weaknesses find their fullest expression is the discussion of main problems facing humanity at present, with surprising neglect of the fundamental break in human history caused by increasing acquisition by humanity of the power to shape its future, including self-destruction or creation of a superior specie, as supplied by bio-technology and "thinking machines (see Bill Joy, "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us," Wired, Issue 8.
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I am not sure if the urge to unify all natural and cultural developments since the Big Bang will yield meaningful results. Never the less, the book offers a compact and fairly complete overview of many of the fields of science. Even so the author is a member of the 'non-natural' sciences (history), he has done an excellent job making himself familiar with - and obviously even understanding - the intricacies of the 'natural' sciences he outlines. I enjoyed his book very much!
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By hanks products on March 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to read and it places the scientific area of importance on various fields that should be considered when drawing conclusions or looking for more reference material.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By peter schroder on March 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Imaginative thinking, finding an excellent balance between analysis and synthesis of large scale/long term developments and relevant details. In dispensable reading for sociologists and historians.
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