Ways of the World: A Brief Global History, Volume 1 / Edition 2

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A book that helps students see the big picture

Ways of the World has quickly become one of the most widely adopted new world history textbooks and offers a genuine alternative for your world history survey. Designed as a brief text, Ways of the World focuses on the big picture of significant historical trends, themes, and developments. Author Robert W. Strayer, a pioneer in the world history movement with years of classroom experience, provides a thoughtful and insightful synthesis. The brief narrative allows you to supplement with your own readings and course materials and provides an affordable option for your students. The second edition rolls out Bedford/St. Martin's new digital history tools, including LearningCurve, an adaptive quizzing engine that garners over a 90% student satisfaction rate, and LaunchPad, the all new interactive e-book and course space that puts high quality easy-to-use assessment at your fingertips. Easy to integrate into your campus LMS, and featuring video, additional primary sources, a wealth of adaptive and summative quizzing, and more, LaunchPad cements student understanding of the text while helping them make progress toward learning outcomes.  It's the best content joined up with the best technology. Available in combined and split volumes and in a variety of electronic formats. Also available in a docutext edition with sources.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312487041
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 10/26/2012
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 241,948
  • Product dimensions: 7.45 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert W. Strayer (PhD, University of Wisconsin) taught African, Soviet, and world history for many years at SUNY College at Brockport, where he received Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching and for Excellence in Scholarship. In 1998 he was visiting professor of world and Soviet history at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Since 2002, he has taught world history at the University of California, Santa Cruz; California State University, Monterey Bay; and Cabrillo College. His scholarship includes work in African history (Kenya: Focus on Nationalism, 1975; The Making of Mission Communities in East Africa, 1978); Soviet history (Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse?,1998;  The Communist Experiment, 2007) and World History (The Making of the Modern World, 1988, 1995; Ways of the World, 2009, 2011). He is a long-time member of the World History Association and served on its Executive Committee.

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Table of Contents


Versions and Supplements 


Special Features

Prologue: From Cosmic History to Human History

The History of the Universe

The History of a Planet

The History of the Human Species... in a Single Paragraph

Why World History?

Comparison, Connection, and Change: The Three Cs of World History

Snapshot: A History of the Universe as a Cosmic Calendar 

Part One: First Things First: Beginnings in History, to 500 b.c.e.

The Big Picture

Turning Points in Early World History 

  The Emergence of Humankind 

  The Globalization of Humankind  

  The Revolution of Farming and Herding

  The Turning Point of Civilization 

  A Note on Dates

*Mapping Part One

1 Chapter One: First Peoples; First Farmers: Most of History in a Single Chapter, To 4000 b.c.e.

Out of Africa to the Ends of the Earth: First Migrations 

  Into Eurasia 

  Into Australia 

  Into the Americas

  Into the Pacific

The Ways We Were

  The First Human Societies 

  Economy and the Environment 

  The Realm of the Spirit

  Settling Down: The Great Transition

Breakthroughs to Agriculture

  Common Patterns 


The Globalization of Agriculture

  Triumph and Resistance 

  The Culture of Agriculture

Social Variation in the Age of Agriculture

  Pastoral Societies 

  Agricultural Village Societies 


Reflections: The Uses of the Paleolithic

Second Thoughts

  What's the Significance 

  Big Picture Questions 

  Next Steps: For Further Study


Snapshot: Paleolithic Era in Perspective

*Portrait: Ishi, The Last of His People

2 First Civilizations: Cities, States, and Unequal Societies, 3500 b.c.e.–500 b.c.e.

Something New: The Emergence of Civilizations

  Introducing the First Civilizations

  The Question of Origins

  An Urban Revolution

The Erosion of Equality

  Hierarchies of Class

  Hierarchies of Gender

  Patriarchy in Practice

The Rise of the State

  Coercion and Consent

  Writing and Accounting

  The Grandeur of Kings

Comparing Mesopotamia and Egypt

  Environment and Culture

  Cities and States

  Interaction and Exchange

Reflections: "Civilization": What’s in a Word?

Second Thoughts

  What’s the Significance?

  Big Picture Questions

  Next Steps: For Further Study


Snapshot: Writing in Ancient Civilizations

*Portrait: Paneb of Egypt

Part Two: Second Wave Civilizations in World History, 500 b.c.e.–500 c.e.

The Big Picture

After the First Civilizations: What Changed and What Didn’t?

  Continuities in Civilization

  Changes in Civilization

Snapshot: World Population during the Age of Agricultural Civilization

*Mapping Part Two

3 State and Empire in Eurasia/North Africa, 500 b.c.e.–500 c.e.

Empires and Civilizations in Collision: The Persians and the Greeks

  The Persian Empire

  The Greeks

  Collision: The Greco-Persian Wars

  Collision: Alexander and the Hellenistic Era

Comparing Empires: Roman and Chinese

  Rome: From City-State to Empire

  China: From Warring States to Empire

  Consolidating the Roman and Chinese Empires

  The Collapse of Empires

Intermittent Empire: The Case of India

Reflections: Enduring Legacies of Second-Wave Empires

Second Thoughts

  What’s the Significance?

  Big Picture Questions

  Next Steps: For Further Study


Snapshot: Distinctive Features of Second-Wave Eurasian Civilizations

*Portrait: Trung Trac, Resisting the Chinese Empire

4 Culture and Religion in Eurasia/North Africa, 500 b.c.e.–500 c.e.

China and the Search for Order

  The Legalist Answer

  The Confucian Answer

  The Daoist Answer

Cultural Traditions of Classical India

  South Asian Religion: From Ritual Sacrifice to Philosophical Speculation

  The Buddhist Challenge

  Hinduism as a Religion of Duty and Devotion

Moving toward Monotheism: The Search for God in the Middle East



The Cultural Tradition of Classical Greece: The Search for a Rational Order

  The Greek Way of Knowing

  The Greek Legacy

The Birth of Christianity—with Buddhist Comparisons

  The Lives of the Founders

  The Spread of New Religions

  Institutions, Controversies, and Divisions

Reflections: Religion and Historians

Second Thoughts

  What’s the Significance?

  Big Picture Questions Next Steps: For Further Study


Snapshot: Thinkers and Philosophies of the Second-Wave Era

*Portrait: Perpetua, Christian Martyr

5 Society and Inequality in Eurasia/North Africa, 500 b.c.e.–500 c.e.

Society and the State in China

  An Elite of Officials

  The Landlord Class



Class and Caste in India

  Caste as Varna

  Caste as Jati

  The Functions of Caste

Slavery: The Case of the Roman Empire

  Slavery and Civilization

   The Making of Roman Slavery

  Resistance and Rebellion

Comparing Patriarchies

  A Changing Patriarchy: The Case of China

  Contrasting Patriarchies in Athens and Sparta

Reflections: Arguing with Solomon and the Buddha

Second Thoughts

  What’s the Significance? Big Picture Questions

  Next Steps: For Further Study


Snapshot: Social Life and Duty in India *Portrait: Ge Hong, a Chinese Scholar in Troubled Times

6 Commonalities and Variations: Africa and the Americas, 500 b.c.e.–1200 c.e.

Continental Comparisons

African Civilizations

  Meroe: Continuing a Nile Valley Civilization

  Axum: The Making of a Christian Kingdom

  Along the Niger River: Cities without States

Civilizations of Mesoamerica

  The Maya: Writing and Warfare

  Teotihuacan: The Americas’ Greatest City

  Civilizations of the Andes

  Chavin: A Pan-Andean Religious Movement

  Moche: A Civilization of the Coast

  Wari and Tiwanaku: Empires of the Interior

Alternatives to Civilization: Bantu Africa

  Cultural Encounters

  Society and Religion

Alternatives to Civilization: North America

  The Ancestral Pueblo: Pit Houses and Great Houses

  Peoples of the Eastern Woodlands: The Mound Builders

Reflections: Deciding What’s Important: Balance in World History

Second Thoughts

  What’s the Significance?

  Big Picture Questions

  Next Steps: For Further Study


Snapshot: Continental Population in the Second-Wave Era

*Portrait: Piye, Kushite Conqueror of Egypt

Part Three: An Age of Accelerating Connections, 500–1500

The Big Picture

Defining a Millennium

  Third-Wave Civilizations: Something New, Something Old, Something Blended

  The Ties That Bind: Transregional Interaction in the Third Wave Era

*Mapping Part Three

7 Commerce and Culture, 500–1500

Silk Roads: Exchange across Eurasia

  The Growth of the Silk Roads

  Goods in Transit

  Cultures in Transit

  Disease in Transit

Sea Roads: Exchange across the Indian Ocean

  Weaving the Web of an Indian Ocean World

  Sea Roads as a Catalyst for Change: Southeast Asia

  Sea Roads as a Catalyst for Change: East Africa

Sand Roads: Exchange across the Sahara

  Commercial Beginnings in West Africa

  Gold, Salt, and Slaves: Trade and Empire in West Africa

An American Network: Commerce and Connection in the Western Hemisphere

Reflections: Economic Globalization—Ancient and Modern

Second Thoughts

  What’s the Significance?

  Big Picture Questions

  Next Steps: For Further Study


Snapshot: Economic Exchange along the Silk Roads

Snapshot: Economic Exchange in the Indian Ocean Basin *Portrait: Thorfinn Karlsefni, Viking Voyager

8 China and the World: East Asian Connections, 500–1300

Together Again: The Reemergence of a Unified China

  A "Golden Age" of Chinese Achievement

  Women in the Song Dynasty

China and the Northern Nomads: A Chinese World Order in the Making

  The Tribute System in Theory

  The Tribute System in Practice

  Cultural Influence across an Ecological Frontier

Coping with China: Comparing Korea, Vietnam, and Japan

  Korea and China

  Vietnam and China

  Japan and China

China and the Eurasian World Economy

  Spillovers: China’s Impact on Eurasia

  On the Receiving End: China as Economic Beneficiary

China and Buddhism

  Making Buddhism Chinese

  Losing State Support: The Crisis of Chinese Buddhism

Reflections: Why Do Things Change?

Second Thoughts

  What’s the Significance?

  Big Picture Questions

  Next Steps: For Further Study


*Snapshot: Chinese Technological Achievements

*Portrait: Izumi Shikibu, Japanese Poet and Lover

9 The Worlds of Islam: Afro-Eurasian Connections, 600–1500

The Birth of a New Religion

  The Homeland of Islam

  The Messenger and the Message

  The Transformation of Arabia

The Making of an Arab Empire

  War, Conquest, and Tolerance


  Divisions and Controversies

  Women and Men in Early Islam

Islam and Cultural Encounter: A Four-Way Comparison

  The Case of India

  The Case of Anatolia

  The Case of West Africa

  The Case of Spain

The World of Islam as a New Civilization

  Networks of Faith

  Networks of Exchange

Reflections: Past and Present: Choosing Our History

Second Thoughts

  What’s the Significance?

  Big Picture Questions

  Next Steps: For Further Study


Snapshot: Key Achievements in Islamic Science and Scholarship

*Portrait: Mansa Musa, West African Monarch and Muslim Pilgrim

10 The Worlds of Christendom: Contraction, Expansion, and Division, 500–1300

Christian Contraction in Asia and Africa

  Asian Christianity

  African Christianity

Byzantine Christendom: Building on the Roman Past

  The Byzantine State

  The Byzantine Church and Christian Divergence

   Byzantium and the World

  The Conversion of Russia

Western Christendom: Rebuilding in the Wake of Roman Collapse

  Political Life in Western Europe, 500–1000

  Society and the Church, 500–1000

  Accelerating Change in the West, 1000–1300

  Europe Outward Bound: The Crusading Tradition

The West in Comparative Perspective

  Catching Up

  Pluralism in Politics

  Reason and Faith

Reflections: Remembering and Forgetting: Continuity and Surprise in the Worlds of Christendom

Second Thoughts

  What’s the Significance?

  Big Picture Questions

  Next Steps: For Further Study


*Snapshot: European Borrowing

*Portrait: Cecilia Penifader, An English Peasant and Unmarried Woman

11 Pastoral Peoples on the Global Stage: The Mongol Moment, 1200–1500

Looking Back and Looking Around: The Long History of Pastoral Nomads

  The World of Pastoral Societies

  Before the Mongols: Pastoralists in History

Breakout: The Mongol Empire

  From Temujin to Chinggis Khan: The Rise of the Mongol Empire

  Explaining the Mongol Moment

Encountering the Mongols: Comparing Three Cases

  China and the Mongols

  Persia and the Mongols

  Russia and the Mongols

The Mongol Empire as a Eurasian Network

  Toward a World Economy

  Diplomacy on a Eurasian Scale

  Cultural Exchange in the Mongol Realm

  The Plague: An Afro-Eurasian Pandemic

Reflections: Changing Images of Nomadic Peoples

Second Thoughts

  What’s the Significance?

  Big Picture Questions

  Next Steps: For Further Study


Snapshot: Varieties of Pastoral Societies

*Portrait, Khutulun, A Mongol Wrestler Princess

12 The Worlds of the Fifteenth Century

The Shapes of Human Communities

  Paleolithic Persistence: Australia and North America

  Agricultural Village Societies: The Igbo and the Iroquois

  Herding Peoples: Central Asia and West Africa

Civilizations of the Fifteenth Century: Comparing China and Europe

  Ming Dynasty China

  European Comparisons: State Building and Cultural Renewal

  European Comparisons: Maritime Voyaging

Civilizations of the Fifteenth Century: The Islamic World

  In the Islamic Heartland: The Ottoman and Safavid Empires

  On the Frontiers of Islam: The Songhay and Mughal Empires

Civilizations of the Fifteenth Century: The Americas

  The Aztec Empire

  The Inca Empire

Webs of Connection

A Preview of Coming Attractions: Looking Ahead to the Modern Era, 1500–2012

Reflections: What If? Chance and Contingency in World History

Second Thoughts

  What’s the Significance?

  Big Picture Questions

  Next Steps: For Further Study


Snapshot: Major Developments around the World in the Fifteenth Century

Snapshot: World Population Growth, 1000–2000

*Portrait: Zheng He, China's Non-Chinese Admiral




About the Author

*New to this edition

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