The World: A History#xA0;interweaves two stories: the story#xA0;of our interactions with nature and the story of our interactions with each other. The environment-centered story is about humans distancing themselves from the rest of nature and searching for a relationship that strikes a balance between constructive and destructive exploitation. The culture-centered story is about how human cultures have become mutually influential and yet mutually differentiating. Both stories have been going on for thousands of years. We do not know whether they will end in triumph or disaster. #xA0; There is no prospect of covering all of world history in one book. Rather, the fabric of this book is woven from selected strands. Readers will see these at every turn, twisted together into yarn, stretched into stories. Human-focused historical ecology-the environmental theme-will drive readers back, again and again, to the same concepts: sustenance, shelter, disease, energy, technology, art. (The last is a vital category for historians, not only because it is part of our interface with the rest of the world, but also because it forms a record of how we see reality and of the way we see its changes.) In the global story of human interactions-the cultural theme-we return constantly to the ways people make contact with each another: migration, trade, war, imperialism, pilgrimage, gift exchange, diplomacy, travel-and to their social frameworks: the economic and political arenas, the human groups and groupings, the states and civilizations, the sexes and generations, the classes and clusters of identity.
Felipe Fernández-Armesto holds the William P. Reynolds Chair of History at the University of Notre Dame. He has master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Oxford, where he spent most of his teaching career, before taking up the Chair of Global Environmental History at Queen Mary College, University of London, in 2000, and the Prince of Asturias Chair at Tufts University (2005—2009).He is on the editorial boards of the History of Cartography for the University of Chicago Press, Studies in Overseas History (Leiden University), Comparative Studies in Society and History, Journeys, and Journal of Global History. Recent awards include the World History Association Book Prize (2007), Spain’s Premio Nacional de Gastronomía(2005, for his work on the history of food), and the PremioNacional de Investigación (Sociedad Geográfica Española,2004). He has had many distinguished visiting appointments, including a Fellowship of the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences and aUnion Pacific Visiting Professorship at the University of Minnesota. He won the Caird Medal of the National Maritime Museum in 1995 and the John Carter Brown Medal in 1999 and has honorary doctorates from La Trobe University and the Universidad de los Andes. He has served on the Council of the Hakluyt Society, on the Committee of English PEN, and as Chairman of the PEN Literary Foundation.
His work in journalism includes regular columns in the British and Spanish press, and, among his many contributions
to broadcasting, he is the longest-serving presenter of BBC radio’s flagship current affairs program, Analysis. He has
been short-listed for the most valuable literary prize in the United Kingdom.
Fernández-Armesto is the author, coauthor, or editor of 30 books and numerous papers and scholarly articles. His
work has been translated into 25 languages. His books include Before Columbus; The Times Illustrated History of
Europe; Columbus; Millennium: A History of the Last Thousand Years (the subject of a ten-part series on CNN);
Civilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature; Near a Thousand Tables; The Americas; Humankind:
A Brief History; Ideas that Changed the World; The Times Atlas of World Exploration; The Times Guide to the Peoples of
Europe; Amerigo: The Man Who Gave His Name to America; and Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration.
Getting the Most Out of the Maps in The World
About Felipe Fernández-Armesto
From the Author to the Reader
Introducing The World
A Note on Dates and Spelling
Part 1: Foragers and Farmers, to 5000 B.C.E.
Chapter 1: Out of the Ice: Peopling the Earth
Chapter 2: Out of the Mud: Farming and Herding after the Ice Age
Part 2: Farmers and Builders, 5000 to 500 B.C.E.
Chapter 3: The Great River Valleys: Accelerating Change and Developing States
Chapter 4: A Succession of Civilizations: Ambition and Instability
Chapter 5: Rebuilding the World: Recoveries, New Initiatives, and Their Limits
Part 3: The Axial Age, from 500 B.C.E. to 100 C.E.
Chapter 6: The Great Schools
Chapter 7: The Great Empires
Part 4: Fitful Transitions, from the Third Century to the Tenth Century
Chapter 8: Postimperial Worlds: Problems of Empires in Eurasia and Africa, ca. 200 C.E. to ca. 700 C.E.
Chapter 9: The Rise of World Religions: Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism
Chapter 10: Remaking the World: Innovation and Renewal on Environmental Frontiers in the Late First Millennium
Part 5: Contacts and Conflicts, 1000 C.E. to 1200 C.E.
Chapter 11: Contending with Isolation: ca. 1000—1200
Chapter 12: The Nomadic Frontiers: The Islamic World, Byzantium, and China ca. 1000—1200
Part 6: The Crucible: The Eurasian Crises of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
Chapter 13: The World the Mongols Made
Chapter 14: The Revenge of Nature: Plague, Cold, and the Limits of Disaster in the Fourteenth Century
Chapter 15: Expanding Worlds: Recovery in the Late Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries