The World: A History, Volume 1 / Edition 2

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The World interweaves two stories—of our interactions with nature and with each other. The environment-centered story is about humans distancing themselves from the rest of nature and searching for a relationship that strikes a balance between constructive and destructive exploitation. The culture-centered story is of how human cultures have become mutually influential and yet mutually differentiating. Both stories have been going on for thousands of years. We do not know whether they will end in triumph or disaster.

There is no prospect of covering all of world history in one book. Rather, the fabric of this book is woven from selected strands. Readers will see these at every turn, twisted together into yarn, stretched into stories. Human-focused historical ecology—the environmental theme—will drive readers back, again and again, to the same concepts: sustenance, shelter, disease, energy, technology, art. (The last is a vital category for historians, not only because it is part of our interface with the rest of the world, but also because it forms a record of how we see reality and of how the way we see it changes.) In the global story of human interactions—the cultural theme—we return constantly to the ways people make contact with each another: migration, trade, war, imperialism, pilgrimage, gift exchange, diplomacy, travel—and to their social frameworks: the economic and political arenas, the human groups and groupings, the states and civilizations, the sexes and generations, the classes and clusters of identity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780136061489
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 2/16/2009
  • Series: Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, The World, 2/e Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 749,953
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Felipe Fernández-Armesto holds the William P. Reynolds Chair of History at the University of Notre Dame. He has master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Oxford, where he spent most of his teaching career, before taking up the Chair of Global Environmental History at Queen Mary College, University of London in 2000, and the Prince of Asturias Chair at Tufts University (2005-9). He is on editorial boards for the History of Cartography for the University of Chicago Press, Studies in Overseas History (Leiden University), Comparative Studies in Society and History, Journeys, and Journal of Global History. Recent awards include the World History Association Book Prize (2007), Spain’s Premio Nacional de GastronomIa (2005, for his work on the history of food), the Premio Nacional de Investigación (Sociedad Geográfica Española, 2004). He has had many distinguished visiting appointments, including a Fellowship of the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and a Union Pacific Visiting Professorship at the University of Minnesota. He won the Caird Medal of the National Maritime Museum in 1995 and the John Carter Brown Medal in 1999 and has honorary doctorates from La Trobe University and the Universidad de los Andes. He has served on the Council of the Hakluyt Society, on the Committee of English PEN, and as Chairman of the PEN Literary Foundation. His work in journalism includes regular columns in the British and Spanish press, and, among many contributions to broadcasting, he is the longest-serving presenter of BBC radio’s flagship current affairs program, Analysis. He has been short-listed for the most valuable literary prize in the U.K.
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Table of Contents

Volume 1: Chapters 1-15
Volume 2: Chapters 13-30
Volume A: Chapters 1-10
Volume B: Chapters 11-20
Volume C: Chapters 20-30

Part 1: Foragers and Farmers, to 5,000 BCE

Chapter 1

Out of the ice: Peopling the Earth

So you think you’re Human?

  • Human Evolution

Out of Africa

  • Peopling the Old World
  • Migration, Population, and Social Change

The Last Great Ice Age

  • Ice-Age Hunters
  • Ice-Age Art
  • Ice-Age Culture and Society
  • Peopling the New World

Survival of the Foragers

In Perspective: After the Ice

Chapter 2

Out of the Mud: Farming and Herding After the Ice Age

The Problem of Agriculture

  • A Case in Point: Aboriginal Australians
  • Preagriculural Settlements
  • The Disadvantages of Farming

Husbandry in Different Environments

  • Herders’ Environments
  • Tillers’ Environments

The Spread of Agriculture

  • Europe
  • Asia
  • The Americas
  • Africa
  • The Pacific Islands

So Why did Farming Start?

  • Population Pressure
  • The Outcome of Abundance
  • The Power of Politics
  • Cult Agriculture
  • Climatic Instability
  • Agriculture by Accident
  • Production As an Outgrowth of Procurement

In Perspective: Seeking Stability

Part 2: Farmers and Builders, 5000 to 500 BCE

Chapter 3

The Great River Valleys: Accelerating Change and Developing States

Growing Communities, Divergent Cultures

  • Intensified Settlement and Its Effects

The Ecology of Civilization

The Great Floodplains

  • The Ecology of Egypt
  • Shifting Rivers of the Indus Valley
  • Fierce Nature in Early Mesopotamia
  • The Good Earth of Early China

Configurations of Society

  • Patterns of Settlement and Labor
  • Politics
  • Statecraft in Mesopotamia
  • The First Documented Chinese State
  • Ruling Harappan World
  • The Politics of Expansion
  • Literate Culture

In Perspective: What Made the Great River Valleys Different?

Chapter 4

A Succession of Civilizations: Ambition and Instability

The Case of the Hittite Kingdom

  • The Importance of Trade
  • Hittite Society and Politics
  • Fragility and Fall: The End of the Hatti

Instability and Collapse in the Aegean

  • Cretan Civilization
  • Mycenean Civilization

A General Crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean World?

  • The Egyptian Experience
  • The Roots of Instability

The Extinction of Harappan Civilization

  • The Evidence of the Rig Veda
  • The Environment of Stress

Conflict on the Yellow River

  • The Rise of the Zhou
  • The Zhou Political System

State-Building in the Americas

  • Andean Examples
  • Developments in Mesoamerica

Assessing the Damage

  • The Survival of Egypt

In Perspective: The Fatal Flaws

Chapter 5

Rebuilding the World: Recoveries, New Initiatives, and Their Limits

Trade and Recovery in the Middle East

  • The Phoenician Experience
  • The Assyrian Empire
  • The Babylonian Revival

Greece and Beyond

  • The Greek Environment
  • Greek Colonialism
  • Early Greek Society
  • The Spread of State-Building and City-Building

Empire and Recovery in China and South Asia

  • The Zhou Decline
  • South Asia: Relocated Centers of Culture
  • The Ganges Valley
  • Building Anew in Sri Lanka

The Frustrations of Isolation

  • Developments in North Ameica
  • New Initiatives in Africa

In Perspective: The Framework of Recovery

Part 3: The Axial Age, from 500 BCE to 100 CE

Chapter 6

The Great Schools

The Thinkers of the Axial Age

The Thoughts of the Axial Age

  • Religious Thinking
  • New Political Thinking
  • Challenging Illusion
  • Mathematics
  • Reason
  • Science
  • Medicine
  • Skepticism

Axial Age-Axial Area: The Structures of the Axial Age

In Perspective: The Reach of the Sages

Chapter 7

The Great Empires

Routes that Drew the Old World Together

  • The Sea Routes of the Indian Ocean
  • Land Routes: The Silk Roads

The First Eurasian Empire: Persia

  • The Persian Heartland
  • Persian Government
  • The Persian-Greek Wars
  • The Empire of Alexander the Great

The Rise of Rome

  • The Roman Frontiers
  • Imperial Culture and Commerce
  • The Celts

The Beginnings of Imperialism in India

  • Government
  • Asoka and His Mental World

Chinese Unity and Imperialism

  • Unity Endangered and Saved
  • The Menace from the Steppes

Beyond the Empires

  • Japan and Korea
  • The Western Eurasian Steppe
  • Mesoamerica

In Perspective: The Aftermath of Axial Age

Part 4: Fitful Transitions, from the Third Century to the Tenth Century

Chapter 8

Postimperial Worlds: Problems of Empires in Eurasia and Africa, ca. 200 to 700 CE

The Western Roman Empire and Its Invaders

  • Changes Within the Roman Empire
  • The “Barbarian” West

Steppeelanders and Their Victims

  • China
  • India

New Frontiers in Asia

  • Korea
  • Funan

The Rise of Ethiopia

The Crises of the Sixth and Seventh Centuries

Justinian and the Eastern Roman Empire

The New Barbarians

The Arabs

  • Islam
  • The Arabs Against Persia and Rome

The Muslim World

Recovery and Its Limits in China

  • Rise of the Tang
  • Empress Wu
  • Tang Decline

In the Shadow of the Tang: Tibet and Japan

  • Tibet
  • Japan

In Perspective: The Triumph of Barbarism?

Chapter 9

The Rise of World Religions: Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism

Commerce and Conflict: Carriers of Creeds

  • In The Islamic World
  • In Christendom
  • In the Buddhist World
  • Trade
  • Manichaeanism and the Uighurs
  • Christianity on the Silk Roads
  • Islam on Trade Routes

Monarchs and Missionaries

  • Constantine
  • Ezana
  • Trdat
  • Diplomatic Conversions
  • Buddhist Politics
  • Korea
  • Japan
  • Tibet
  • India
  • The Margins of Christendom
  • Vladimir and the Rus
  • Islam and the Turks

Trickle Down: Christianization and Islamization

Religious Lives: The World of Monks and Nuns

  • Christian Monasticism
  • Buddhist Monks
  • Sufism
  • Religious Women

In Perspective: The Triumph of the Potential World Religions

Chapter 10

Remaking the World: Innovation and Renewal on Environmental Frontiers in the Late First Millenium

Isolation and Initiative: Sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas

  • African Geography
  • American Geography
  • The Maize Frontiers

The Islamic World and the Environment

Frontier Growth in Japan

China and Southeast Asia

The Pacific

The Expansion of Christendom

In Perspective: The Limits of Divergence

Part 5: Contact and Conflicts, 1000 CE to 1200 CE

Chapter 11

Contending with Isolation: ca. 1000-1200

Around the Indian Ocean: Ethiopia, the Khmer, and India

  • East Africa: The Ethiopian Empire
  • Southeast Asia: The Khmer Kingdom
  • India: Economy and Culture
  • India: The Chola Kingdom

Eurasia’s Extremities: Japan and Western Europe

  • Japan
  • Western Europe: Economics and Politics
  • Western Europe: Religion and Culture

In Perspective: The Patchwork of Effects

Chapter 12

The Nomadic Frontiers: The Islamic World, Byzantium, and China, ca. 1000-1200

The Islamic World and Its Neighbors

  • The Coming of the Steppelanders
  • The Crusades
  • The Invaders from the Sahara
  • The Progress of Sufism

The Byzantine Empire and Its Neighbors

  • Byzantium and the Barbarians
  • Basil II
  • The Era of Difficulties
  • Byzantium and the Crusaders
  • Byzantine Art and Learning

China and the Northern Barbarians

  • The End of the Tang Dynasty
  • The Rise of the Song and the Barbarian Conquests
  • Economy and Society Under the Song
  • Song Art and Learning

In Perspective: Cains and Abels

PART 6: the crucible: the eurasian crises of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries

Chapter 13

The World the Mongols Made

The Mongols: Reshaping Eurasia

  • Genghis Khan
  • The Mongol Steppe

The Mongol World Beyond the Steppes: The Silk Roads, China, Persia, and Russia

  • China
  • Persia
  • Russia

The Limits of Conquest: Mamluk Egypt and Muslim India

  • Mamluk Egypt
  • Muslim India: The Delhi Sultanate


In Perspective: The Uniqueness of the Mongols

Chapter 14

The Revenge of Nature: Plague, Cold, and the Limits of Disaster in the Fourteenth Century

Climate Change

The Coming of the Age of Plague

  • The Course and Impact of Plague
  • Medicine and Morals
  • The Jews
  • Distribution of Wealth
  • Peasant Millenarianism

The Limits of Disaster: Beyond the Plague Zone

  • India
  • Southeast Asia
  • Japan
  • Mali

The Pacific: Societies of Isolation

  • Easter Island
  • New Zealand
  • Ozette
  • Chan Chan

In Perspective: The Aftershock

Chapter 15

Expanding Worlds: Recovery in the Late Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

Fragile Empires in Africa

  • East Africa
  • West Africa

Ecological Imperialism in the Americas

  • The Inca Empire
  • The Aztec Empire

New Eurasian Empires

  • The Russia Empire
  • Timurids and the Ottoman Empire

The Limitations of Chinese Imperialism

The Beginnings of Oceanic Imperialism

The European Outlook: Problems and Promise

In Perspective: Beyond Empires

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