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National Geographic Visual History of the World Hardcover – November 1, 2005
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This hefty volume covers history from around 4000 B.C.E. to the contemporary era. Each of the eight chapters--"Prehistory," "First Empires," "The Ancient World," "The Middle Ages," "The Early Modern Period," "The Modern Era," "The World Wars and The Interwar Period" and "The Contemporary Period"--is divided into topical sections and one-page subsections. Each section has a brief introduction, and each subsection is introduced by a one-sentence description. A time line found at the bottom of every page pinpoints key events, names, and dates corresponding to the page's content. Embellishing every page are anywhere from 5 to 10 illustrations, mostly in color, and though they are small, the illustrations are clear and well chosen and do a good job of bringing history to life. Numbers are used to key the images to the text. Other features include sidebars containing quotations, brief biographies, or interesting facts. Five two-page "Key Ideas" sections cover topics such as Christianity and Islam, and four "In Focus" foldouts offer chronological summaries of the Roman Empire, the Reformation, the French Revolution, and World War II.
Other recent single-volume world histories for the high-school level and up include Facts On File's Encyclopedia of World History (2000) and the sixth edition of Houghton's standard Encyclopedia of World History (2001). Each offers something different; the copiously illustrated Facts On File volume is arranged alphabetically, while the Houghton volume is arranged by broad time period, with divisions for regions, countries, and cultures. The National Geographic volume is more current, and this, along with content that is well organized, balanced, and attractively presented, makes it an exceptional value for school and public libraries. Carol Sue Harless
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC is one of the world’s leading nonfiction publishers, proudly supporting the work of scientists, explorers, photographers, and authors, as well as publishing a diverse list of books that celebrate the world and all that is in it. National Geographic Books creates and distributes print and digital works that inspire, entertain, teach, and give readers access to a world of discovery and possibility on a wide range of nonfiction subjects from animals to travel, cartography to history, fun facts to moving stories. A portion of all National Geographic proceeds is used to fund exploration, conservation, and education through ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society.
Douglas Brinkley is the director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies and a professor of history at the University of New Orleans. He is a bestselling author who has written The American Heritage History of the United States, as well as books on Jimmy Carter, James Forrestal, and FDR.
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The pictures were well rendered and I loved the stuff written on the early cultures (the byzantine empire, etc).
However, I was a little disappointed on the all-too brief pages written on Asian history. Asia has over 12,000 years of history combined (if you include India, Japan, China, Korea and the Islamic worlds etc). and the authors/editors decide to skim it with only 15 pages or so?
That's not quite a complete view of the world, if you ask me....
There's plenty of focus on the European eras (all of them) and not enough on the Asian ones.
Still an excellent read though; and for any student of history (or needing a paper done in minutes) this is definitely the book to use!