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An illustrated record covering all the major events and achievements in human history. Designed for history aficionados, trivia buffs, or anyone with a curious mind, Timelines of World History takes an innovative approach to the traditional, text-driven style of a date-by-date chronology. Tracing the progress of humanity from the dawn of history to the present day, the book follows major historical events, cultural milestones, the expansions of empires, and the inventions and achievements of civilizations. Important events are cross-referenced with specific dates, important historical figures are profiled, and introductory essays profile what was happening and why. With more than 500 photographs and illustrations and over 25 maps, this is the most authoritative visual chronological record of the last 20,000 years.
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Intended for quick reference or for trivia buffs rather than for any kind of genuine historical research, this volume uses time lines to provide "a visual chronicle of human history and development" from 10,000 B.C.E. to the present. Time lines appear in four columns--one each for Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas and Australasia--and are accompanied by gorgeous illustrations and maps. The outer column of each page has sidebars containing summaries of key events, condensed biographies, or descriptions of places. There is no index but rather a concordance, which occupies more than 200 pages at the back of the book, containing its own individual country chronologies, more brief biographies, and cross-references.
As might be expected from a work of this nature, its breadth is so wide that it renders the depth of coverage extremely shallow. In terms of volume of information, there is not much more conveyed here per subject than there would be in a good dictionary. For example, there are a total of about five brief paragraphs on World War I and about seven on World War II. Because world events are segregated by continent and presented in parallel fashion on the page, Timelines seems most valuable for comparing contemporaneous significant events at a glance. This also means that numerous pages contain blank columns for Africa and the Americas because of the relative lack of historical information about those parts of the world. The book's greatest strength is its graphics--13 full-color, foldout maps; more than a dozen smaller color maps; and more than 500 attractive illustrations and trenchant photographs.
This is a kind of deluxe version of the popular The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events (3d ed., Simon & Schuster, 1991), though that work is subdivided by subject (history, literature, religion, science, etc.) rather than by continent. This new title can only be the starting point of any meaningful inquiry, but the colorful graphics may grab the attention of younger readers and casual browsers. Recommended for public libraries. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Depth is ruthlessly sacrificed to breadth in this atlas of world history. The material is arranged in separate timelines-for Asia, Africa, Europe and "Americas and Australasia"-running vertically down facing pages, with supplementary maps and short sidebar essays. The format is meant to give these regions equal representation and facilitate comparative history by correlating at a glance contemporaneous events across the globe. Unfortunately, while some developments-such as the early spread of agriculture, technology and cities-are occasionally illuminated by this approach, it is almost always historically incoherent. The division of timelines by continent is particularly thoughtless. Events in the Roman Empire are confusingly split up between Asian, African and European timelines, while the Asia timeline jumbles together the journeys of St. Paul with news from Han China. The "Americas and Australasia" timeline stays blank for pages on end as empires rise and fall elsewhere, taking up space better used to flesh out other too-terse entries; its spurious continuity implies that the United States is more an outgrowth of Olmec history than European history. While possibly of value for quick reference, the graphical juxtaposition of factoids presented here is no substitute for skillful narrative synthesis. Photos and illustrations throughout.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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