Top positive review
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An excellent resource for both students and professionals
on March 7, 2002
You know you've finally run across an excellent encyclopedia when you pull it off the shelf to look up a specific topic only to find yourself a couple of hours later reading totally unrelated entries for the sheer pleasure of it. This is my experience with this newest edition of Peter Stearns' *Encyclopedia of World History*.
The Encyclopedia's entries, which run from prehistoric to contemporary times, are incredibly detailed, summarizing each periods intellectual, economic, political, social, religious, and military history. They also include features not found in typical historical overviews. One of my favorites is "Global Interaction Networks," a section that ties together causal interactions between different parts of the world at different historical periods. The Global Interaction Networks for Europe, 1479-1675, for example, features mini-essays on emerging world economies, exchange of new agricultural products (such as maize and potatoes discovered in the New World), and worldwide epidemics.
In this edition of the Encyclopedia, there's also an accompanying CD which provides, among other things, a wonderful historical atlas. Finally, the index is to die for: over 150 pages of closely-printed text. Wonderful!
An overall reflection of the usefulness of this Encyclopedia is that one needn't be a rocket scientist to find it useful. A high school student can profit from it just as much as a graduate student or history professor. I've frequently referred to past editions of it in preparing for my own classes, and I've never hesitated to refer it to students.