The Human Venture: From Prehistory to Present (Combined Edition) / Edition 5

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Overview

Written from a truly global perspective, this narrative tells the story of human events on the move—the exciting "event history" of wars and politics, booms and busts, the rise and fall of empires, and more. It also reaches beyond the events that have shaped world history to trace the broader development of human institutions and ideas as they evolve through time. Coverage of both events and broader trends is presented as part of major global movements, through the lives of the people who lived them, and as succinctly and vividly as possible.

The author has made a substantial effort to restructure this fifth edition of The Human Venture with emphasis on classroom use, student appeal, and clarifying the broad patterns of human history. New features include:

  • Reorganization to a thirty-chapter format.
  • New "Glance Ahead" chapter openers to introduce main themes early on.
  • Many new "Voices from the Past" boxes to make some of these long-vanished people "come alive."
  • New timelines in each section and a number of new maps and photos.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131834811
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 6/27/2003
  • Edition description: Book with CD
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 798
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.09 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony Esher has taught history at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, for most of his sixty-odd years. But he has also lived in many parts of the United States, accumulated several years of living and travel in Europe, and visited every inhabited continent several times. He spends a minimum of three months overseas each year, sampling the wine, exploring the streets and the ruins, and checking to see if the rainforests are still there. Esler's books reflect his enthusiasms. These include a fascination with generational conflict nurtured in the streets of the sixties, a passion for story-telling, and a preference for panoramic "big picture" history—like The Human Venture.

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Read an Excerpt

Prefaces are always challenging, and the prefaces to this book seem to get more challenging with each new edition. For a preface is at least in part a look ahead. And in the opening years of the twenty-first century, the global prospect before us looks less predictable than ever.

This fifth edition of The Human Venture, like its predecessors, attempts to provide a historical background to the changing world of today. Like earlier editions, this one tries to offer a genuinely global perspective, rather than a European history with add-ons about other cultures. It still aims at the broadest possible coverage—coverage of women as well as of men, of preurban as well as of urban-imperial peoples, of culture as well as of politics. It still tries to humanize the past with emphasis on the historical roles of individual human beings, from ancient emperors to laboring peasants. And this particular version of our global past still builds on a strong narrative line that reflects the nature of history as the author sees it—as a story going somewhere, obscure though that somewhere may still be to the principal historical actors—us.

A major goal of this new edition has been to adapt the book more closely to the requirements of classroom teaching and learning. The number of chapters, for instance, has been reduced from fifty to thirty—roughly the number of weeks in many academic years. This change, I hasten to add, has been largely accomplished by combining chapters, not by cutting! All chapters have again been revised, and each now has a new theme-setting "Glance Ahead" opener and a substantially updated bibliography.

There are also some new maps, some new pictures, and a new emphasis on the "Voices from the Past" boxes—one for each chapter now. The "Overviews" introducing each of the six large sections into which the book is divided have also been revised, and a new big-picture time line appended to each. And the book as a whole has been redesigned in a "trade-book" format that I hope will be easier for the reader to hold while absorbing the carefully digested insights of twenty-five centuries of historians from many times and lands.

Once more, I have included the odd anecdote and I hope some new insights picked up during the three months or more I spend overseas each year. Several weeks each on the upper Amazon, across the Outback and the Top End of Australia; in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, and among the ethnic minority villages of western China have certainly added to my respect for the indigenous peoples of the world. And annual visits to familiar neighborhoods in favorite European cities serve as a healthy reminder that the peoples of the developed world have a lot to teach each other too.

A key function of the preface, finally, remains to express proper gratitude to the many people without whom there would be no book at all. Here a primary debt must be to Charles Lavaliere, the new Prentice Hall history editor, for injecting a surge of youthful dynamism into this particular venture into the human past. Many thanks also to Emsal Hasan and Patty Donovan for getting me through the hard part—finishing—and to Adrienne Paul for handling every unlikely request of mine effectively and expeditiously.

Without the shared insights and shrewd criticisms of scholarly readers, of course, a synthesis as broad as this would be impossible. My thanks, then, to Kenneth Wilburn, East Carolina University; Louis McDermott, California Maritime Academy; Trevor Getz, University of New Orleans; Robert Garfield, DePaul University; and Pamela McVay, Urtuline College.

Thanks for past critical readings should also go to Akanmu G. Adebayo, Kennesaw State University; Alana Cain Scott, Morehead State University; Elizabeth C. George, Southern Illinois University; Farid Mahdavi-Izadi, San Diego State University; Linda L. Taber, Wayne. State University; Joe Gowaskie, Rider College; John Voll, University of New Hampshire; Penny S. Gold, Knox College; Walter S. Hanchett, SUNY/Cortland; Donald L. Layton, Indiana State University; Melvin E. Page, Murray State University; Susan Fitzpatrick, Lindenwood College; Curtis Anderson, Oakland Community College; Dorothy Zeisler-Vralsted, University of Wisconsin, La Crosses Ed Balog and James Hood, Lindenwood College; James Weland and Nancy R. Northrop, Bentley College; Thomas Anderson, Eastern Connecticut State University; Howard A. Barnes, Winston Salem University; Olwyn M. Blouet, Virginia State University; Robert Garfield, De Paul University; W. Scott Jessee, Appalachian State University; Gerald Newman, Kent State University; and John A. Phillips, University of California-Riverside.

Thanks again to scholars who have patiently labored to educate me over the years, including Marjorie W. Bingham of Women in World Area Studies; Mario D. Mazzarella and the Department of History at Christopher Newport College; J. F. Watts and the faculty of the trailblazing World Civilization course at City College of New York; Richard Snyder, William Pemberton, and the landmark World History program at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosses and Bill Alexander, Cassandra Newby, and Jeanne Zeidler of Hampton University.

As always, my thanks must go to friends and colleagues here at William and Mary, who do their best to correct the sweeping generalizations I bring to the acid test of their expertise. For many years of help, my thanks to Ismail Abdalla, Berhanu Abegaz, Jim Axtell, Craig Canning, John Carroll, Ed Crapol, Judy Ewell, A. Z. Freeman, Phil Funigiello, Dale Hoak, Ward Jones, Kris Lane, Gil McArthur, Jim McCord, Leisa Meyer, Ed Pratt, Abdul Karim Rafeq, Ernie Schwintzer, John Selby, Tom Sheppard, Rich Sigwalt, George Strong, Cam Walker, and Jim Whittenburg.

For introductions to some fascinating corners of the world, my thanks to Steve and Peggy Brush, for Peru when things were much too exciting to be saddled with a guest as well; to Professor Dong Leshan, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; to Chris Drake, for showing me how to look at the African land; to Carol Clemeau Esler, for all the village-level sojourns in Europe; to Marcia Davidson Field, for her insights into Latin America over many years; to Richard Goff, for caustic comments and sage council along the Atlantic; to Professor Isaria N. Kimambo, of the University of Dar es Salaam, for insights into African historiography; to Ross Kreamer for Java, Sumatra, and Vietnam; to Chris Mullen Kreamer, for sharing her remarkable "African destiny"; to Steve and Ann Marlowe, for expat Europe and much more; to Don Meyer, for Benares, the Ganges, and the border roads of India; to Ernie Schwintzer and Alice Davenport for Jakarta in tense times; and to Jerry Weiner, for running a tight ship from Abidjan to Zanzibar.

And thanks again to Cam Walker, who keeps coming up with amazing places we haven't ever been—two different versions of Shangri-la so far!—but never lets anything get in the way of that evening trip to the corner cafe.

Anthony Esler

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Table of Contents

Volume I: A Global History to 1500

Introduction: Venture into History.

1. Before History: Stone Age People.

I. ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS (3500 - 200 BCE).

2. Pyramid Tombs and Ziggurat Temples: Egypt and Mesopotamia.
3. Prophets and Philosophers: The Hebrews and the Greeks.
4. Brahman, Buddha, and the Age of the Sages: The Emergence of India and China.
5. The Furnaces of Meroe and the Olmec Heads: Ancient Civilizations of Africa and the Americas.

II. THE CLASSIC AGE (500 BCE - CE 500).

6. From Persepolis to the Palatine: The Roman and Persian Empires.
7. From the Ganges to the Gobi: Gupta India and Han China.
8. From the Sahara to Peru: The Classic Age in Africa and the Americas.

III. EXPANDING CULTURAL ZONES (500 - 1500 CE).

9. Cathedral Spires: The Growth of Christendom.
10. Domes and Minarets: The Spread of Islam.
11. Merchants and Missionaries of the Indies: India and Southeast Asia.
12. The Middle Kingdom: China and East Asia.
13. Kings and Conquering Peoples: Empires of Africa and the Americas.
14. Toward a Larger World: From the Bantu Migrations to the Mongol Empire.

Volume II: A Global History Since 1500

Introduction: The Convergence of History.

IV. THE WORLD IN BALANCE (1350 - 1600).

15. The West Reborn: Europe in the Renaissance and Reformation.
16. The Muslim Center: Ottoman Turkey, Safavid Persia, and Mughal India.
17. Mandarins and Samurai: Ming China and the Emergence of Japan.
18. Power Beyond Eurasia: Songhai and Great Zimbabwe, the Aztecs and the Incas.

V. THE WORLD OF INTERCONTINENTAL EMPIRES (1500 - 1900).

19. Caravels and Cannon: The Rise of Western Imperialism.
20. Barricades, Ballots, and Steam: The Transformation of Europe.
21. Liberators and Robber Barons: The Americas from Colonies to Countries.
22. Maxim Guns and Merchant Bankers: The Climax of Western Imperialism.
23. Maximum Guns and Merchant Bankers: The Climax of Western Imperialism.

VI. STRUGGLES FOR THE GLOBAL FUTURE (1900 - 2000).

24. A World Order Comes Unstuck: World War I and the Great Depression.
25. A Schizophrenic Age: Revolution and Totalitarianism Shake the World.
26. Blitzkrieg and Burning Cities: World War II and the American Predominance.
27. The Long Twilight Struggle and the Age of Uhuru: The Cold War and the End of Empire.
28. Skyscrapers and Shanty Towns: Rich Countries and Poor Countries.
29. From Eliot to Afro-Pop: Art and Thought Around the World.
30. The American Age and Its Foes: America, Globalization, and Terror.

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Preface

Prefaces are always challenging, and the prefaces to this book seem to get more challenging with each new edition. For a preface is at least in part a look ahead. And in the opening years of the twenty-first century, the global prospect before us looks less predictable than ever.

This fifth edition of The Human Venture, like its predecessors, attempts to provide a historical background to the changing world of today. Like earlier editions, this one tries to offer a genuinely global perspective, rather than a European history with add-ons about other cultures. It still aims at the broadest possible coverage—coverage of women as well as of men, of preurban as well as of urban-imperial peoples, of culture as well as of politics. It still tries to humanize the past with emphasis on the historical roles of individual human beings, from ancient emperors to laboring peasants. And this particular version of our global past still builds on a strong narrative line that reflects the nature of history as the author sees it—as a story going somewhere, obscure though that somewhere may still be to the principal historical actors—us.

A major goal of this new edition has been to adapt the book more closely to the requirements of classroom teaching and learning. The number of chapters, for instance, has been reduced from fifty to thirty—roughly the number of weeks in many academic years. This change, I hasten to add, has been largely accomplished by combining chapters, not by cutting! All chapters have again been revised, and each now has a new theme-setting "Glance Ahead" opener and a substantially updated bibliography.

There are also some new maps, some new pictures, and a new emphasis on the "Voices from the Past" boxes—one for each chapter now. The "Overviews" introducing each of the six large sections into which the book is divided have also been revised, and a new big-picture time line appended to each. And the book as a whole has been redesigned in a "trade-book" format that I hope will be easier for the reader to hold while absorbing the carefully digested insights of twenty-five centuries of historians from many times and lands.

Once more, I have included the odd anecdote and I hope some new insights picked up during the three months or more I spend overseas each year. Several weeks each on the upper Amazon, across the Outback and the Top End of Australia; in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, and among the ethnic minority villages of western China have certainly added to my respect for the indigenous peoples of the world. And annual visits to familiar neighborhoods in favorite European cities serve as a healthy reminder that the peoples of the developed world have a lot to teach each other too.

A key function of the preface, finally, remains to express proper gratitude to the many people without whom there would be no book at all. Here a primary debt must be to Charles Lavaliere, the new Prentice Hall history editor, for injecting a surge of youthful dynamism into this particular venture into the human past. Many thanks also to Emsal Hasan and Patty Donovan for getting me through the hard part—finishing—and to Adrienne Paul for handling every unlikely request of mine effectively and expeditiously.

Without the shared insights and shrewd criticisms of scholarly readers, of course, a synthesis as broad as this would be impossible. My thanks, then, to Kenneth Wilburn, East Carolina University; Louis McDermott, California Maritime Academy; Trevor Getz, University of New Orleans; Robert Garfield, DePaul University; and Pamela McVay, Urtuline College.

Thanks for past critical readings should also go to Akanmu G. Adebayo, Kennesaw State University; Alana Cain Scott, Morehead State University; Elizabeth C. George, Southern Illinois University; Farid Mahdavi-Izadi, San Diego State University; Linda L. Taber, Wayne. State University; Joe Gowaskie, Rider College; John Voll, University of New Hampshire; Penny S. Gold, Knox College; Walter S. Hanchett, SUNY/Cortland; Donald L. Layton, Indiana State University; Melvin E. Page, Murray State University; Susan Fitzpatrick, Lindenwood College; Curtis Anderson, Oakland Community College; Dorothy Zeisler-Vralsted, University of Wisconsin, La Crosses Ed Balog and James Hood, Lindenwood College; James Weland and Nancy R. Northrop, Bentley College; Thomas Anderson, Eastern Connecticut State University; Howard A. Barnes, Winston Salem University; Olwyn M. Blouet, Virginia State University; Robert Garfield, De Paul University; W. Scott Jessee, Appalachian State University; Gerald Newman, Kent State University; and John A. Phillips, University of California-Riverside.

Thanks again to scholars who have patiently labored to educate me over the years, including Marjorie W. Bingham of Women in World Area Studies; Mario D. Mazzarella and the Department of History at Christopher Newport College; J. F. Watts and the faculty of the trailblazing World Civilization course at City College of New York; Richard Snyder, William Pemberton, and the landmark World History program at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosses and Bill Alexander, Cassandra Newby, and Jeanne Zeidler of Hampton University.

As always, my thanks must go to friends and colleagues here at William and Mary, who do their best to correct the sweeping generalizations I bring to the acid test of their expertise. For many years of help, my thanks to Ismail Abdalla, Berhanu Abegaz, Jim Axtell, Craig Canning, John Carroll, Ed Crapol, Judy Ewell, A. Z. Freeman, Phil Funigiello, Dale Hoak, Ward Jones, Kris Lane, Gil McArthur, Jim McCord, Leisa Meyer, Ed Pratt, Abdul Karim Rafeq, Ernie Schwintzer, John Selby, Tom Sheppard, Rich Sigwalt, George Strong, Cam Walker, and Jim Whittenburg.

For introductions to some fascinating corners of the world, my thanks to Steve and Peggy Brush, for Peru when things were much too exciting to be saddled with a guest as well; to Professor Dong Leshan, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; to Chris Drake, for showing me how to look at the African land; to Carol Clemeau Esler, for all the village-level sojourns in Europe; to Marcia Davidson Field, for her insights into Latin America over many years; to Richard Goff, for caustic comments and sage council along the Atlantic; to Professor Isaria N. Kimambo, of the University of Dar es Salaam, for insights into African historiography; to Ross Kreamer for Java, Sumatra, and Vietnam; to Chris Mullen Kreamer, for sharing her remarkable "African destiny"; to Steve and Ann Marlowe, for expat Europe and much more; to Don Meyer, for Benares, the Ganges, and the border roads of India; to Ernie Schwintzer and Alice Davenport for Jakarta in tense times; and to Jerry Weiner, for running a tight ship from Abidjan to Zanzibar.

And thanks again to Cam Walker, who keeps coming up with amazing places we haven't ever been—two different versions of Shangri-la so far!—but never lets anything get in the way of that evening trip to the corner cafe.

Anthony Esler

Read More Show Less

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