One World Divisible: A Global History Since 1945 (Allen Lane History)

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9780713994612: One World Divisible: A Global History Since 1945 (Allen Lane History)
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"A magisterial account of our time by a distinguished historian."―Walter LaFeber, prize-winning author of The Clash

Global change has accelerated at an unprecedented pace in the last half-century. The trajectory of change points in different directions, with the world growing at once more interconnected and more fragmented. Commerce and migrations, television and the World Wide Web suggest a story of growing interconnection, while at the same time the proliferation of nation-states and the divisions rooted in religion, race, and material inequality tell of separation and conflict. David Reynolds’s brilliant history captures both themes and grounds them vividly in the people and events of the last fifty years. Reynolds captures the great political events: the Cold War, the Chinese revolution, independence movements, Vietnam, and the fall of the Soviet Union, and broader developments: economic and population growth, the spread of cities, vast technological change, genetic manipulation, and the creation of a digital world. Carefully avoiding an encyclopedic approach, Reynolds integrates these themes into a narrative with authority, vision, and style. A volume in the Global Century series, books by outstanding scholars on the history of the world in the twentieth century―general editor, Paul Kennedy. Illustrated, maps

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Review:

"Writing a global history of the second half of this century is, of course, an impossible task."

You've got to give Cambridge fellow David Reynolds credit for such frankness, but it certainly didn't stop him from setting out to accomplish the impossible. Thankfully, Reynolds succeeds brilliantly, as becomes quickly clear from this marvelous, unbelievably readable 860-page survey, roughly bookended by the Berlin blockade and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The project is impossible, "of course," thanks to the subject's staggering size and complexity, but Reynolds takes this in stride, admits his limitations, and digs into a robust, good-spirited, and even-handed analysis, intimidating as a whole but approachable and engaging in its parts.

One World Divisible does tackle it all--the political, social, and cultural changes of an era that witnessed ever-increasing unity, interconnectedness, and globalization. All the usual suspects--the cold war, the decolonization of Africa and Asia, the rebirth of post-war Germany and Japan--get predictably thorough treatment, but Reynolds also takes on the "feminist earthquake" of women's lib and the pill, examines how advances in electronics and genetics far outweighed the impact of exploiting the atom, and even tracks the global spread of "Coca-colonization" and rock & roll. Through it all, Reynolds's readable voice and thoughtful organization keep you reading; discrete, intuitive chapters such as "Israel, Oil, and Islam," "Color, Creed, and Coups," and "Chips and Genes" give you just enough to chew on along the way. A fine beginning to W.W. Norton's ambitious Global Century series. --Paul Hughes

About the Author:

David Reynolds is a professor of international history at Cambridge University. He is the author of books including The Long Shadow and In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War, which won the Wolfson Prize.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780393321081: One World Divisible: A Global History Since 1945 (The Global Century Series)

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ISBN 10:  0393321088 ISBN 13:  9780393321081
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001
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9780140295108: One World Divisible: A Global History Since 1945 (Penguin History)

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9780393048216: One World Divisible: A Global History Since 1945 (The Global Century Series)

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