The Human Web: A Bird's-Eye View of World History

The Human Web: A Bird's-Eye View of World History

ISBN-10:
039305179X
ISBN-13:
9780393051797
Pub. Date:
12/01/2003
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

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Overview

The Human Web: A Bird's-Eye View of World History

Why did the first civilizations emerge when and where they did? How did Islam become a unifying force in the world of its birth? What enabled the West to project its goods and power around the world from the fifteenth century on? Why was agriculture invented seven times and the steam engine just once? World-historical questions such as these, the subjects of major works by Jared Diamond, David Landes, and others, are now of great moment as global frictions increase. In a spirited and original contribution to this quickening discussion, two renowned historians, father and son, explore the webs that have drawn humans together in patterns of interaction and exchange, cooperation and competition, since earliest times. Whether small or large, loose or dense, these webs have provided the medium for the movement of ideas, goods, power, and money within and across cultures, societies, and nations. From the thin, localized webs that characterized agricultural communities twelve thousand years ago, through the denser, more interactive metropolitan webs that surrounded ancient Sumer, Athens, and Timbuktu, to the electrified global web that today envelops virtually the entire world in a maelstrom of cooperation and competition, J. R. McNeill and William H. McNeill show human webs to be a key component of world history and a revealing framework of analysis. Avoiding any determinism, environmental or cultural, the McNeills give us a synthesizing picture of the big patterns of world history in a rich, open-ended, concise account.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393051797
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 12/01/2003
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.34(w) x 9.48(h) x 1.17(d)

Table of Contents

List of MapsXIII
List of TablesXV
PrefaceXVII
Introduction: Webs and History3
IThe Human Apprenticeship9
IIShifting to Food Production, 11,000-3,000 Years Ago25
IIIWebs and Civilizations in the Old World, 3500 B.C.E.-200 C.E.41
The First Civilizations43
Rise of Bureaucratic Empire55
Portable, Congregational Religions60
Indian Civilization62
Chinese Civilization65
Greek and Roman Civilization68
Population, Environment, and Disease79
Conclusion81
IVThe Growth of Webs in the Old World and America, 200-1000 C.E.82
Shifts in Relative Wealth and Power82
Expanding and Thickening the Old World Web94
New Roles for Religion103
Emergence of an American Web108
Conclusion: Common Patterns114
VThickening Webs, 1000-1500116
Overview116
How China Became the First Market Society121
The Transformation of Islam, 1000-1500127
Christendom's Thickening Web137
The Old World Web's Pacific Flank147
Southern and Northern Frontiers of the Old World Web150
The American Webs153
Conclusion153
VISpinning the Worldwide Web, 1450-1800155
The World's Webs as of 1450156
Fusing and Extending the World's Webs, 1450-1800162
The World the Web Made, 1500-1800178
Conclusion211
VIIBreaking Old Chains, Tightening the New Web, 1750-1914213
The Progress of the Web214
Igniting the Population Explosion221
New Foundations for Politics223
The Industrial Revolution230
Impacts of the Industrial Revolution236
Abolition of Slavery and Serfdom252
Globalization in the Age of Imperialism258
Ecological Change264
Conclusion: Lock-In266
VIIIStrains on the Web: The World Since 1890268
Communications and Ideas269
The Marriage of Science and Technology277
Population and Urbanization279
Energy and Environment284
Retreat from Globalization: War and Depression, 1914-41288
Resurgent Globalization: War and the Long Boom Since 1941296
Conclusion317
IXBig Pictures and Long Prospects319
Further Readings329
Index339

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The Human Web: A Bird's-Eye View of World History 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is extrordinarily boring and EXPENSIVE. I recommend that no one reads it. It is easy to fall asleep reading it. I say tht an insomniac should read the book for a few mins. it will definitely help.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was given as read for an AP course at my High School. I am sure to fail the test on this book as you cannot read it for more than 15 minutes without wanting to pull your fingernails out so one can endure less pain.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was required by a teacher to read this heinous book during the summer before my sophmore year in high school. It was dry, lifeless, and usually made me fall into a deep sleep within 10 min of opening it's cover. Besides insomniacs, I'd recommend this book to no one.