A People's History of the World: From the Stone Age to the New Millennium

A People's History of the World: From the Stone Age to the New Millennium


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Chris Harman describes the shape and course of human history as a narrative of ordinary people forming and re-forming complex societies in pursuit of common human goals.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541405820
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 08/29/2017
Sales rank: 858,357
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Chris Harman was the author of numerous books including A People's History of the World, The Fire Last Time: 1968 and After, and The Lost Revolution: Germany 1918-23.

Napoleon Ryan is a British actor from London. He began his career on stage, acting in the West End and touring with plays and musicals across Britain, Ireland, and Europe. Napoleon performs on television and in films, and is also known for his work as an audiobook narrator.

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A People's History of the World: From the Stone Age to the New Millennium 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
buckeye75 More than 1 year ago
Excellent history book written from people's perspecitive. Begins at the beginning, right up to modern times. Excellent sources for further reading, an extensive glossary, notes galore, and well indexed. A book you will want to read, and keep for future reference.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent work of scholarship that is too often ignored in the American academy. Our teenagers and college undergrads should be assigned this text as 'required reading.' We have not reached the end of history. Re-humanize yourself and gird for battle. The struggle continues! My hat is off to you Mr. Harman! If I'm not Spartacus, surely you are!
Brian Jones More than 1 year ago
Well done but not always sufficiently comprehensive.
MeditationesMartini on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The basic argument - technical innovation leads to establishment of a means of production and corresponding relations of production that persist until the avarice of the ruling class absorbs all the available surplus and squeezes the working classes too hard, leading either to revolution and change in means/relations of production, or mutual collapse - is of course partial, but illuminates big-picture human history better than any other partial argument I can think of. And it's always wonderful to take a journey at this level - you're like, "All these things happened. Every sentence in this book contains a world."Energy of course flags a bit at moments in a book this size, and Harman has the orthodox Marxist's bias for focus on Europe at the expense of Asia even in the pre-modern era, but you can't fault him for that when it vivifies the moments of revolutionary change - your French and Russian Revolutions, in particular - so powerfully. Sometimes he falls into the bad kind of partiality (as opposed to the good kind, which is basically rooting for the common people in all circumstances) and overjustifies e.g. the Jacobin terror - God knows it's enough, and appreciated, to remind us of the numbers that were beign killed by monarchist reactionaries at the same time, and the disconnect between that and our popular images of crazy Robespierre and the guillotine.The only substantial criticism I have to make is that Harman keeps moving the goalposts when he discusses the failure of worker's movements at potentially revolutionary moments. Usually that failure comes in the form of "they weren't radical enough, didn't rise to the moment, tried to compromise with the cuddlier sections of the bourgeoisie" and fair enough, that certainly fits the revolution-or-collapse model. sometimes, though, it's all of a sudden "they should have made common cause against the facists with the social democrats" or whatever, and you're all "I thought you just said - " and sure, he can argue that obviously they should have done the thing they didn't do because of how it all didn't work out so good with what they did do, but providing a specific plan of action is a hard thing, let alone retroactively setting out a plausible way they could have come to it at the time. Every disfferent situation requires a new response, and we sure as hell don't know what they are, and Harman sort of implicitly admits as much when he says look at how long it took bourgeois consciousness to mature, and we're expecting a proletarian consciousness strong enough to build a social system on how fast? But you understand. He gets frustrated. We all do.
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Peameal More than 1 year ago
On the first page of the Prologue, Harman describes the modern world as greedy and divided by class. He says it's easy to understand why we may feel the world has always been this way, since so many politicians, thinkers, writers and scientists pound into us that we are a selfish species. He then starts dropping names, and accuses Richard Dawkins' book, “The Selfish Gene,” of saying humans are "programmed" to be selfish. Harman has never read "The Selfish Gene," otherwise, he would have realized “The Selfish Gene” was saying that genes compete selfishly to produce more of themselves; human nature wasn't what Dawkins was talking about. Harman never even read a synopsis of Dawkins' work before assuming it was saying people are selfish. And that's just the first page! If you want a historical account of the world from a socialist perspective that is rife with inaccuracy and political bias posing as fact, this is your book! It's perhaps not as unhinged as O'Reilly's "Killing Jesus," but it reinvents history to make sense to modern socialism. Some might call that propaganda, or intellectual dishonesty. Rest easy knowing this is not a peer-reviewed book, and has no academic requirement to be accurate. Feel better about modern society by learning that every previous society was defined by class struggle, too. And feel the tragedy as Harman bemoans the Neolithic Revolution, the beginning of the end, when people learned how to stick plants in the ground and keep animals in stick fences. If only we hadn't stuck plants in the ground! We could have been hunter-gatherers who ran from their own shadow and died at forty! Instead, we have the highest life expectancy in the world and eat too much fatty food! Actually, Harman also argues hunter-gatherers had pretty long lifespans, and it was urban life that caused lower life expectancy. Where are his sources? Pft. Sources. Who needs those things, anyway? To be fair, it is still a compelling read. However, it is inaccurate in parts, and you should always consider what Harman is telling you might only be his opinion, not a fact. 2/5 for not knowing what “The Selfish Gene” was actually talking about.
willyvan More than 1 year ago
The late Chris Harman was the editor of the Socialist Workers Party¿s paper. In this book, he attempted to write a Marxist history of the world. His method was to rely on good Marxists who did the best studies of each period of history. So for the rise of class societies, he relied on V. Gordon Childe, for the ancient world, on Geoffrey De Ste Croix, for the Middle Ages, on Rodney Hilton, for the great transformation, on Christopher Hill and J. V. Polisensky, for the spread of the new order, on George Rudé, and for the world turned upside down, on Albert Soboul, Marx and Engels. Unfortunately, when it came to the 20th century, he relied only on Trotsky and Tony Cliff. How did Harman, this self-proclaimed revolutionary, deal with the 20th century¿s defining revolution, the great October revolution? He wrote that in 1926 Stalin adopted ¿a completely new doctrine known as ¿socialism in one country¿¿. This ignored Lenin¿s article The United States of Europe slogan, where he wrote, ¿Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country taken separately. The victorious proletariat of that country, having expropriated the capitalists and organised its own socialist production, would stand up against the rest of the world, the capitalist world.¿ Harman wrote that Stalin represented a ruling group whose ¿chief characteristic was inertia and complacency¿. Yet this inert and complacent group ¿did break the backbone of private capitalism in Russia, and later did the same in Eastern Europe and China.¿ Even Harman had to acknowledge ¿the economic success of the USSR¿ in the 1930s and its ¿rapid industrial advance¿ in the 1950s and early 1960s. Harman¿s account of World War Two is provably false (see Grover Furr¿s Khrushchev lied for details). Harman wrongly wrote that Stalin ignored the Nazi threat and the warnings of war, that the Red Army was ¿utterly unprepared¿, that Stalin ¿panicked¿ when the Nazis attacked, that he turned to ¿chauvinism¿, that he ¿deported whole peoples¿ for no good reason, and that he ordered Soviet forces to stand back from Warsaw when the Nazis crushed the rising. Harman denied that World War Two was a war between progress and reaction, between democracy and fascism, and even doubted that the Grand Alliance was anti-fascist. His analysis of revolution is fatally flawed by his embrace of the counter-revolutionary notion of state capitalism. Capitalist classes have used the state to develop the economy, but when a working class used the state to develop the economy, the SWP denounced it as practising capitalism. Any use of the state has, apparently, to be capitalist. This dogmatic opposition to the state is anarchism, the polar opposite of Marxism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago