The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative

The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative

by Robert B. Marks
     
 

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.

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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.

Editorial Reviews

Pacific Affairs - James L. Huffman
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.
World History Connected - Mary Watrous-Schlesinger
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.
Journal of World History - David Ringrose
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.
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
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780742517530
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
02/25/2002
Series:
World Social Change Series
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.47(h) x 0.67(d)

What People are saying about this

Kenneth L. Pomeranz
This is a concise and thought-provoking treatment of some major themes in world history: state-building, industrialization, environmental change, and the transformation of material life. The treatment of global inequality as a phenomenon in its own right—not just as a residue of more 'development' having occurred in some places than others—gives the book an important additional dimension. And as a single-authored work, it has a consistent and engaging voice that is hard to find in standard textbooks.
Paul Solon
Terrific! It's far and away the best of its type I've found in over thirty years of teaching. It's clear, succinct, and yet wonderfully comprehensive. It brings together all the current thinking in world history in about as nice a package as can be imagined.
Dennis O. Flynn
The best easily-readable overview of the Eurocentric vs. World History debate yet. It should become a standard supplement in the college world history market.
John R. McNeill
An absorbing, crisp, and compact account of how the modern world got to be the way it is. This is the most accessible and comprehensive book yet written that takes into account the recent departures in world history scholarship. Marks sees the world as a whole, and paints a clear and compelling panorama of the transformations that changed history between 1400 and 1900.
Ewa K. Bacon
I am delighted and excited by this book—it provides such an excellent overview of what world history is all about. The economy of the writing, the great balance the book displays in juggling an enormous agenda, and the elucidation of concepts are superb.
E. J. Fabyan
Neat, concise and quite complete. No blue smoke and mirrors. The right and the wrong are there for all to see!
Edward L. Farmer
Splendid—fresh, forceful, and efficient. Marks has a clear focus on the Eurocentrism of most of the textbooks on world history and he has developed an effective, solidly grounded strategy to counter the problem. The ideas are challenging, and the prose is readable and engaging. Ideal for introductory surveys of world history.

Meet the Author

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

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