Covering the time of 500-200 BC, this slim volume reminds readers that all over the world at this time people were building belief systems, discovering building principles, inventing, warring, and building and tearing down civilizations. Thus, Alexander's triumphant union of the land and people from, roughly, Macedonian and Egypt west to India is seen in context of world history. You have to know a lot to read this book, but the book also teaches you as you go-it's just that short paragraphs on one or two topics from a culture with a jump to the next are distracting. It is difficult to take in the whole world at once but this book whets the appetite. Two visuals help: one is a map with helpful keys and locations; the other is a seven-layer timeline that traces important ideas continent by continent. It's color coded so that the dark green of Africa on the map keys into this time line and to a later colored section on How People Lived in Africa. Pristinely reproduced photos of antique objects and important sites, all with well-written captions, add interest and a glossary and index help the researcher. For the intelligent reader, this book pulls together a great deal of history in 48 pages and it demands plenty of rereading to put it in place. That's pretty good value for the modest price.