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A World History 4th Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195116168
ISBN-10: 019511616X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fine synthesis with clear maps and plates and an extraordinarily useful bibliographical guide."--Aran S. MacKinnon, State University of West Georgia

"Mc Neill's survey is a genuine world history that integrates traditional western civilization with an expansive global synthesis."--James A. Brown, Tougaloo College

Praise for previous editions

"He has a vision of the history of mankind as the unity that it always has been potentially and that it has become in fact in our time....He makes a complicated story lucid." --Arnold Toynbee

"This work reveals anew the breadth of vision and gift for synthesis that distinguished Professor McNeills The Rise of the West. He has a special talent for relating in meaningful ways the patterns of the great civilizations, their borrowings, their conflicts, and their contributions to global history."--Geoffrey Bruun

About the Author

William H. McNeill is at University of Chicago.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 4 edition (October 29, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019511616X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195116168
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.3 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've been trying to read a survey of World History for years, but found most of the commonly available titles too dry and slow to get trough. McNeill did an admirable job of combining the history of eastern and western civilizations chronologically, and I can say that it's a great place to start if you're looking for an overview. Of course, it's light on many subjects as is necessary due to its size, and yes it's somewhat dated. However, I don't think you'll find a more readable survey.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
McNeil is an old-fashioned narrative historian whose most famous book is Rise of the West. This book adopts a similar broad approach to world history. It makes an excellent gift for college students and young adult who want to lay a base for historical understanding.
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Format: Paperback
William Hardy McNeill (born 1917) is an American historian who has written other books such as The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community; with a Retrospective Essay, Plagues and Peoples, etc. He wrote in the Preface to the 1979 edition of this book, "The success of my book 'The Rise of the West' made it plausible to believe that a shorter work would make my personal vision of the whole history of mankind more accessible to students and to general readers---a vision which... has the virtue of being cohesive and intelligible, something that can be grasped and remembered and reflected upon afterwards." (Pg. vi)

He states, "it is clear that mankind's achievements by 1700 B.C. were impressive... the pace of social change had assumed a dizzying rapidity... In short, civilized history, in all its complexity, was well launched." (Pg. 46-47) He notes, "The intellectual and religious evolution of ancient Middle Eastern society tended toward ethical and transcendental monotheism. But only the Jews were able consistently to carry the trend to a logical, unambiguous conclusion. Other peoples... could not throw away traditional polytheisms altogether." (Pg. 67)

He argues, "Such analysis of the antecedents of Christianity should not disguise the fact that the events so simply narrated in the Gospels and in Acts generated something new and enormously appealing...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has been in print a long time because it is a gem. For the person that wants to get "The Big Picture" of human history. It touches all the major civilizations, and many that you thought were minor.

I will be honest that I had to trudge through the opening chapter on man's prehistory (the prehuman to hunter gather to agricultural stuff), but that is probably because of my faith in the Bible version of creation. But do not be scared off, this book is a wonderful read for getting a base of human history.

I understand so much better, the how's and why's of current world events and politics because I read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
His approach to view history is very unique and deserving of readers' attention.
His writing was a page-turner and his perspective is an an eye-opener for a amateur historian like me who have been thirsty over the right way to interpret history.
Although each reader may have a different view of this book, it would still challenge us with his masterful overview.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A lot of corrections have been made to the previous edition. Appreciate such endless effort as we are living in the ever-changing world.
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