"WESTERN CIVILIZATION: A BRIEF HISTORY is one of the best, and most comprehensive, introductory college textbooks in history. The book achieves sound balance between political and social issues and maintains student interest through a compelling narrative and compact chapters. It allows the instructor to do more with a course."
"For a new or inexperienced instructor, this text (along with the various supplements) is as close to a fail-safe strategy for teaching Western Civilization as may be found anywhere. The writing itself is exuberant and lively, and may certainly be used (with or without supplements) by more experienced Instructors."
"[Spielvogel] does an excellent overall job of providing the student with an idea of the political, social and cultural history of each of the eras…."
"Spielvogel's greatest strength is the consistent narrative style, the coherence of the chapters' story line, the inclusion of good documents, illustrations, maps, timelines, and glossary of terms. At the end of the day, students who have carefully read the text will have a decent overview of the highlights (and lowlights) of Western Civilization."
"Spielvogel offers a direct, comprehensible survey of the history of western civilization. His book is well written, skillfully organized, and accurate. It has enough details to enable students to understand the causes and consequences of historical events, but not so many as to bog them down in unnecessary trivia."
About the Author
Jackson J. Spielvogel is Associate Professor Emeritus of history at The Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, where he specialized in Reformation history under Harold J. Grimm. His articles and reviews have appeared in journals such as MOREANA; JOURNAL OF GENERAL EDUCATION; CATHOLIC HISTORICAL REVIEW; ARCHIV FÜR REFORMATIONSGESCHICHTE; and AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW. He also has contributed chapters or articles to THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF REFORMATION; THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE: A DICTIONARY HANDBOOK; SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER ANNUAL OF HOLOCAUST STUDIES; and UTOPIAN STUDIES. His work has been supported by fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation and the Foundation for Reformation Research. At Penn State, he helped inaugurate the Western civilization course, as well as a popular course on Nazi Germany. His book HITLER AND NAZI GERMANY was published in 1987 (sixth edition, 2010). He is the author of WESTERN CIVILIZATION, first published in 1991 (eighth edition, 2012) and is the co-author (with William Duiker) of WORLD HISTORY, first published in January 1994 (seventh edition, 2013). Professor Spielvogel has won five major university-wide teaching awards. During the year 1988-1989, he held the Penn State Teaching Fellowship, the university's most prestigious teaching award. In 1996, he won the Dean Arthur Ray Warnock Award for Outstanding Faculty member, and in 2000 received the Schreyer Honors College Excellence in Teaching Award.