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The West: a Narrative History is a unique text in its field, as it was conceived and developed as a brief introduction to the history of the West. It is not a reduced version of a larger study, but a fully realized project in its own right. It defines the West in its broadest terms, encompassing all of the varied cultures that trace at least some of their ancestry to the ancient Mediterranean world. In addition, it consistently reminds its readers of the links between the people who have come to define the West and those in other regions of the world.
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A. Daniel Frankforter is Professor of History at the Pennsylvania State University, where he has taught for nearly four decades. His undergraduate work was in the history of ideas and philosophy at Franklin and Marshall College. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Drew University, did graduate work at Columbia University and the University of Göttingen and completed master’s and doctoral degrees in medieval history and religious studies at Penn State. His research has focused on the medieval English Church and on the evolving role of European women throughout the medieval period. Articles on these topics have appeared in such journals as Manuscripta, Church History, The British Studies Monitor, The Catholic Historical Review, The American Benedictine Review, The International Journal of Women’s Studies, and The Journal of Women’s History. His books include: A History of the Christian Movement: An Essay on the Development of Christian Institutions, Civilization and Survival, The Shakespeare Name Dictionary (with J. Madison Davis), The Medieval Millennium: An Introduction, The Western Heritage, Brief Edition (with Donald Kagan, Stephen Ozment, and Frank Turner), The Heritage of World Civilizations, brief third edition (with Albert Craig, William Graham, Donald Kagan, Stephen Ozment, and Frank Turner), an edition and translation of Poullain de la Barre’s De L’Égalité des deux Sexes, and Stones for Bread: A Critique of Contemporary Worship. Over the course of his career he has developed 15 courses dealing with aspects of the ancient and medieval periods of Western civilization, Judeo-Christian studies, and gender issues. His work in the classroom has been acknowledged by the Penn State Behrend Excellence in Teaching Award and the prestigious Amoco Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching Performance.
William M. Spellman is the Dean of Humanities at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. He is a graduate of Suffolk University, Boston, and holds the Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is the author of John Locke and the Problem of Depravity (Oxford, 1988); The Latitudinarians and the Church of England, 1660-1700 (Georgia, 1993); John Locke (Macmillan, 1995); European Political Thought, 1600-1700 (Macmillan, 1997); Monarchies, 1000-2000 (Reaktion Press, 2000); Extraordinary Women of the Medieval and Renaissance World (Greenwood Press, 2000) co-authored with Carole Levin, et. al.; The Global Community: Migration and the Making of the Modern World, 1500-2000 (Sutton, 2002); A Concise History of the World Since 1945 (Palgrave, 2006); and Migration and the Nation State (Reaktion Press, forthcoming).
The West: A Narrative History is one the newest and best Western Civilization textbooks on the market. It is extremely well written, and is brief enough to allow instructors to assign additional secondary or primary readings. It has a superb companion web site, and is priced well below most introductory textbooks. The West could become the predominant textbook in the field.
- J. Kyle Irvin, Jefferson State Community College
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