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The World A History, Penguin Academic Edition, Volume 2



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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.

Author Biography

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.

Table of Contents

Brief Contents



Special Features

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 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



Part 7: Convergence and Divergence, to ca. 1700


Chapter 16: Imperial Arenas: New Empires in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries


Chapter 17: The Ecological Revolution of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries


Chapter 18: Mental Revolutions: Religion and Science in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries


Chapter 19: States and Societies: Political and Social Change in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries



Part 8: Global Enlightenments, 1700—1800


Chapter 20: Driven by Growth: The Global Economy in the Eighteenth Century


Chapter 21: The Age of Global Interaction: Expansion and Intersection of Eighteenth-Century Empires


Chapter 22:The Exchange of Enlightenments: Eighteenth-Century Thought



Part 9: The Frustrations of Progress, to ca. 1900


Chapter 23: Replacing Muscle: The Energy Revolutions


Chapter 24: The Social Mold: Work and Society in the Nineteenth Century


Chapter 25: Western Dominance in the Nineteenth Century: The Westward Shift of Power and the Rise of Global Empires


Chapter 26: The Changing State: Political Developments in the Nineteenth Century



Part 10: Chaos and Complexity: The World in the Twentieth Century


Chapter 27: The Twentieth-Century Mind: Western Science and the World


Chapter 28: World Order and Disorder: Global Politics in the Twentieth


Chapter 29: The Pursuit of Utopia: Civil Society in the Twentieth Century


Chapter 30: The Embattled Biosphere: The Twentieth-Century Environment  







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