The Illustrated History of the World : 11-volume set

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9780195215298: The Illustrated History of the World : 11-volume set
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The Illustrated History of the World is a new, lavishly illustrated edition of J. M. Roberts's bestselling History of the World. Now completely revised and updated, this comprehensive 10-volume set traces the tumultuous story of humankind from the origins of Homo sapiens to the most recent upheavals in Africa and the Balkans. The rise and fall of civilizations; war, revolution, and peace; the attempts of peoples to mold and sustain their national identities; the impact of powerful individuals on world events; the interplay of state and religion; the social and economic factors that influence societies--these are some of the themes of this masterful, sweeping narrative. More than 2,000 photographs in color and black and white present a unique visual panoply of the march of history. In addition, more than 200 maps and artworks in full color bring complex situations into clear focus. Fully integrated sidebars and feature boxes narrow in on key themes, providing an additional layer of interest. Each volume also contains a double-page, illustrated chronology of major events, plus a bibliography and detailed index.
Dr. Roberts' revisions to the ancient history portion of the text, made specifically for this edition, ensure that the latest findings of archaeology and anthropology are taken into account. At the opposite extreme of the timescale--the modern world at the threshold of the 21st century--the distinguished author has amended the existing text and added new chapters to reflect all the complex adjustments in the balance of politics and power since the first edition was published in 1976. Authoritative, brilliantly written, and superbly illustrated, this outstanding and popular work of scholarship makes the whole sweep of history vivid and accessible as never before.
The volumes of The Illustrated History of the World are:
I. Prehistory and the First Civilizations
II. Eastern Asia and Classical Greece
III. Rome and the Classical West
IV. The Age of Diverging Traditions
V. The Far East and a New Europe
VI. The Making of the European Age
VII. The Age of Revolution
VIII. The European Empires
IX. Emerging Powers
X. The New Global Era

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About the Author:


J.M. Roberts is the highly-acclaimed author of History of the World (OUP, 1993) and the best-selling A History of Europe. He is the Warden of Merton College, Oxford, England.

From Booklist:

This history covers the time period from prehistory to 1997. It is notable for its many time lines, charts, maps, drawings, illustrations, and photographs, which complement the text and bring it to life.

The set is a revision of History of the World (1976) by Roberts, a British historian, professor, editor, and author. He points out that any history of the world must be selective. In this one he has tried "to set our events, movements, determining facts and circumstances which have shaped most human lives." He emphasizes the most significant civilizations and tells their stories in all their interconnectedness, highlighting their most important contributions. The tone is optimistic, stressing human power to manage nature, overcome obstacles, and bring about conscious change.

Primary arrangement is chronological by volume, with the chapters within each volume combining a thematic and geographic approach. For example, volume one, Prehistory and the First Civilizations, includes chapters on "Early Civilized Life," "Ancient Mesopotamia," and "Ancient Egypt." Some topics covered in "Ancient Egypt" are Mesopotamian influence, the role of the Nile, agriculture, religion, death and burial, hieroglyphic writing, the invention of papyrus, and the pyramids, as well as political topics, individuals, and the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. These topics are covered with little detail, however. The significance of hieroglyphic writing is related in one long paragraph, but there are no details or illustrations of how it is done. Each volume has its own index and contents list, in addition to a series contents page telling the time periods and events covered in each volume. There is no cumulative index.

Roberts' goal of telling the main points of civilizations leads to his coverage being less detailed than sets it can be compared to, such as Time Life's Time Frame (1987^-1999) and Lost Civilizations (1992^-1999), or History of the Ancient and Medieval World [RBB O 15 97] and History of the Modern World (see review on p.1491). However, it gives a broad view and does lead to a quick identification of the main facts, which is often very useful. Its distillation of topics makes it valuable for younger readers, from the fifth grade through high school, and for this group it would be valuable both as a reference set and as circulating volumes. The fact that each volume can stand alone also makes it appropriate for the circulating collection for adults.

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