Origins of the Modern World

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This clearly written and engrossing book presents a global narrative of the origins of the modern world. Unlike most studies, which assume that the "rise of the West" is the story of the coming of the modern world, this history, drawing upon new scholarship on Asia, Africa, and the New World, constructs a story in which those parts of the world play major roles. Robert B. Marks defines the modern world as one marked by industry, the nation state, interstate warfare, a large and growing gap between the wealthiest ...

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Overview

This clearly written and engrossing book presents a global narrative of the origins of the modern world. Unlike most studies, which assume that the "rise of the West" is the story of the coming of the modern world, this history, drawing upon new scholarship on Asia, Africa, and the New World, constructs a story in which those parts of the world play major roles. Robert B. Marks defines the modern world as one marked by industry, the nation state, interstate warfare, a large and growing gap between the wealthiest and poorest parts of the world, and an escape from "the biological old regime." He explains its origins by emphasizing contingencies (such as the conquest of the New World); the broad comparability of the most advanced regions in China, India, and Europe; the reasons why England was able to escape from common ecological constraints facing all of those regions by the 18th century; and a conjuncture of human and natural forces that solidified a gap between the industrialized and non-industrialized parts of the world. View an online study guide for this book.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of World History
Sets out an analytical framework that is accessible to students while providing an approach to world history that aspires to be truly global. Remarkable in [its] presentation of coherent global narratives in less than two hundred pages. Marks's book has a strong emphasis on economic factors and Western coercion and exploitation and has a clear analytical framework. Closely accompanied by lecture and discussion, it could be used to frame a world history course for the period after 1400.
— David Ringrose
Pacific Affairs
Marks convincingly discredits the standard Eurocentric narrative of mainstream historians, replacing it with a balanced story that places Asia at the centre prior to the 1800s and Europe (then, America) at the centre thereafter….[The author uses] a cogent, accessible style grounded in key historical concepts such as contingency, conjuncture, and accident.
— James L. Huffman
World History Connected
A very useful tool for world history courses, undergraduate and graduate, as well as offering new concepts for scholars still locked in rigid territorial or national studies. . . . The composition in this concise book is clear and topics are interestingly presented, while the source references make it useful for classroom research projects. . . . A helpful account of the principles and organization of trade in world history, written from a global perspective.
— Mary Watrous-Schlesinger
Booknews
Providing a global narrative on the origins of the modern world, this book emphasizes the roles of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Chapters focus on trade, industrialization, material inequalities, and the state. Current implications of this history, as it shapes economic globalization, warfare, and international terrorism, are stressed. Maps and other figures support the text. Marks teaches history at Whittier College. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742517547
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2002
  • Series: World Social Change Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert B. Marks is professor of history at Whittier College.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Introduction: The Rise of the West? Chapter 3 The Material and Trading Worlds, circa 1400 Chapter 4 Starting with China Chapter 5 Empires, States, and the New World, 1500-1775 Chapter 6 The Industrial Revolution and its Consequences, 1750-1850 Chapter 7 The Gap Chapter 8 Conclusion: Change or Continuity?

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