Understanding World Societies, Volume 2 A Brief History

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-08-03
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Based on the highly successful A History of World Societies, Understanding World Societies: A Brief History combines innovative pedagogy with a manageable regional and comparative approach to capture students' interest in the everyday life of the past. Abridged by 25%, the narrative is paired with distinctive pedagogy, designed to help students focus on significant developments as they read and review. An innovative end-of-chapter study guide helps students master key facts and move towards synthesis.

Author Biography

John P. McKay (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) is professor emeritus at the University of Illinois. He has written or edited numerous works, including the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize-winning book Pioneers for Profit: Foreign Entrepreneurship and Russian Industrialization, 1885-1913.
Patricia B. Ebrey (Ph.D., Columbia University), Professor of History at the University of Washington in Seattle, specializes in China. She has published numerous journal articles and The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, as well as numerous monographs.  In 2010 she won the Shimada Prize for outstanding work of East Asian Art History for Accumulating Culture: The Collections of Emperor Huizong.
Roger B. Beck (Ph.D., Indiana University) is Distinguished Professor of African and twentieth-century world history at Eastern Illinois University. His publications include The History of South Africa, a translation of P. J. van der Merwe's The Migrant Farmer in the History of the Cape Colony, 1657-1842, and more than a hundred articles, book chapters, and reviews. He is a former treasurer and Executive Council member of the World History Association.
Clare Haru Crowston (Ph.D., Cornell University) teaches at the University of Illinois, where she is currently associate professor of history. She is the author of Fabricating Women: The Seamstresses of Old Regime France, 1675-1791, which won the Berkshire and Hagley Prizes. She edited two special issues of the Journal of Women's History, has published numerous journal articles and reviews, and is a past president of the Society for French Historical Studies.
Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) taught first at Augustana College in Illinois, and since 1985 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is currently UWM Distinguished Professor in the department of history. She is the coeditor of the Sixteenth Century Journal and the author or editor of more than twenty books, most recently The Marvelous Hairy Girls: The Gonzales Sisters and Their Worlds and Gender in History. She is the former Chief Reader for Advanced Placement World History.

Table of Contents

Maps, Figures and Tables

Special Features


Version and Supplements

Chapter 16

The Acceleration of Global Contact, 1450-1600

How did trade link the peoples of Africa, Asia, and Europe prior to 1492?

     The Trade World of the Indian Ocean

     Peoples and Cultures of the Indian Ocean

     Trade with Africa and the Middle East

     Genoese and Venetian Middlemen

How and why did Europeans undertake voyages of expansion?

     Causes of European Expansion

     Technology and the Rise of Exploration

     The Expanding Portuguese Empire

     Christopher Columbus's Voyages to the Americas

     Later Explorers

     Spanish Conquest in the New World

What was the impact of conquest?

     Colonial Administration

     The Impact of European Settlement on the Lives of Indigenous Peoples

     The Columbian Exchange

     Sugar and Early Transatlantic Slavery

     The Birth of the Global Economy

How did expansion shape cultural values and beliefs in Europe and the Americas?

     New Ideas About Race

     Michel de Montaigne and Cultural Curiosity

     William Shakespeare and His Influence

     Religious Conversion in the New World


Chapter Study Guide

Individuals in Society: Zheng He

Listening to the Past: Columbus Describes His First Voyage

Global Trade: Silver

Chapter 17

European Power and Expansion, 1500-1750

How did European states respond to the crises of the seventeenth century?

     Crises Among Peasants and the Urban Poor

     The Return of Serfdom in Eastern Europe

     The Thirty Years' War

     Achievements in State Building

How did the absolutist monarchies of France and Spain fare in this era?

     The Foundations of Absolutism

     Louis XIV and Absolutism

     Life at Versailles

     French Finances

     Louis XIV's Wars

     The Decline of Absolutist Spain

How did absolutism develop in Austria, Prussia, and Russia?

     The Austrian Habsburgs

     Prussia in the Seventeenth Century

     The Consolidation of Prussian Absolutism

     Mongol Rule in Russia and the Rise of Moscow

     The Tsar and His People

     The Reforms of Peter the Great

Where and why did constitutionalism triumph?

     Absolutist Claims in England

     Religious Divides and Civil War

     The Puritan Protectorate

     Restoration of the English Monarchy

     Constitutional Monarchy

     The Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century

How did European nations compete to build new colonies in the Americas?

     Colonial Expansion of Northern European Powers

     Mercantilism and Colonial Wars

     Life in the Colonies


Chapter Study Guide

Listening to the Past: A German Account of Russian Life

Individuals in Society: Gluckel of Hameln

Chapter 18

New Worldviews and Ways of Life, 1540-1790

What was revolutionary about the Scientific Revolution?

     Scientific Thought Through the Early 1500s

     Origins of the Scientific Revolution

     Copernican Hypothesis

     Proving Copernicus Right

     Newton's Synthesis

     Bacon, Descartes, and the Scientific Method

     Medicine, the Body, and Chemistry

     Science and Society

What were the core principles of the Enlightenment?

     The Emergence of the Enlightenment

     The Influence of the Philosophes

     Enlightenment Across Europe

     Urban Culture and Life in the Public Sphere

     Late Enlightenment

What did enlightened absolutism mean?

     Reforms in Prussia, Russia, and Austria

     Jewish Life and the Limits of Enlightened Absolutism

How did consumerism and the Atlantic economy influence Enlightenment ideas?

     A Revolution in Consumption and Daily Life

     The Atlantic Economy

     Identities and Communities of the Atlantic World

     Race and the Enlightenment


Chapter Study Guide

Individuals in Society: Moses Mendelssohn and the Jewish Enlightenment

Listening to the Past: Denis Diderot's "Supplement to Bougainville's Voyage"

Chapter 19

Africa and the World, 1400-1800

What kinds of states and societies coexisted in early modern West Africa?

     The West Coast: Senegambia and Benin

     The Sudan: Songhai, Kanem-Bornu, and Hausaland

     The Lives of the People of West Africa

     Trade and Industry

How did the arrival of outsiders impact East Africa ?

     Muslim and European Incursions in Ethiopia, ca. 1500-1630

     The Swahili City-States and the Arrival of the Portuguese, ca. 1500-1600

What were the causes and consequences of the transatlantic slave trade?

     The Institution of Slavery in Africa

     The Transatlantic Slave Trade

     Impact on African Societies


Chapter Study Guide

Listening to the Past: Duarte Barbosa on the Swahili City-States

Global Trade: Slaves

Individuals in Society: Olaudah Equiano

Chapter 20

The Islamic World Powers, 1300-1800

How were the three Islamic empires established?

     The Ottoman Turkish Empire's Expansion

     The Ottoman Empire's Use of Slaves

     The Safavid Empire in Persia

     The Mughal Empire in India

What characterized the cultural flowering of the Islamic empires?

     The Arts

     City and Palace Building


     Intellectual Advances and Religious Trends

     Coffeehouses and Their Social Impact

How were non-Muslims treated in the Islamic empires?

How did shifts in global trading patterns affect the Islamic empires?

     European Rivalry for Trade in the Indian Ocean

     Merchant Networks in the Islamic Empires

     From the British East India Company to the British Empire in India

What factors led to the decline of central power in the Islamic empires?


Chapter Study Guide

Individuals in Society: Hurrem

Listening to the Past: Katib Chelebi on Tobacco

Chapter 21

Continuity and Change in East Asia
, 1400-1800

What sort of state and society developed in China under the Ming?

     The Rise of Zhu Yuanzhang and the Founding of the Ming Dynasty

     Problems with the Imperial Institution

     The Mongols and the Great Wall

     The Examination Life

     Everyday Life in Ming China

     Ming Decline

How did the Manchus build on Ming accomplishments?

     The Rise of the Manchus

     Competent and Long-Lived Emperors

     Imperial Expansion

How did war and political instability shape Japan in the Middle Ages?

     Muromachi Culture

     Civil War

     The Victors: Nobunaga and Hideyoshi

What was life like in Japan during the Tokugawa peace?

     Tokugawa Government

     Commercialization and the Growth of Towns

     The Life of the People in the Edo Period

How did the arrival of Europeans change the Asian maritime sphere?

     Zheng He's Voyages

     Piracy and Japan's Overseas Adventures

     Europeans Enter the Scene

     Christian Missionaries

     Learning from the West

     The Shifting International Environment in the Eighteenth Century


Chapter Study Guide

Individuals in Society: Tan Yunxian, Woman Doctor

Listening to the Past: Keinen's Poetic Diary of the Korea Campaign

Chapter 22

Revolutions in the Atlantic World, 1775-1815

What factors combined to spark revolutions in the Atlantic world?

     Social Change

     Growing Demands for Liberty and Equality

     The Seven Years' War

How did American colonists forge a new, independent nation?

     The Origins of the Revolution

     Independence from Britain

     Framing the Constitution

What were the causes and consequences of the French Revolution?

     Breakdown of the Old Order

     The Formation of the National Assembly

     Popular Uprising and the Rights of Man

     A Constitutional Monarchy and Its Challenges

How and why did the French Revolution take a radical turn?

     The International Response

     The Second Revolution and the New Republic

     Total War and the Terror

     The Thermidorian Reaction and the Directory

How did Napoleon assume control of France and much of Europe?

     Napoleon's Rule of France

     Napoleon's Expansion in Europe

     The Grand Empire and Its End

What led to the creation of the independent state of Haiti in 1804?

     Revolutionary Aspirations in Saint-Domingue

     The Outbreak of Revolt

     The War of Haitian Independence


Chapter Study Guide

Listening to the Past: Abbe de Sieyes, "What Is the Third Estate?"

Individuals in Society: Toussaint L'Ouverture

Chapter 23

The Revolution in Energy and Industry
, 1760-1850

How and why did Britain industrialize between 1780 and 1850?

     Origins of the British Industrial Revolution

     The First Factories

     The Steam Engine Breakthrough

     The Coming of the Railroads

     Industry and Population

When and how did industrialization spread beyond Britain?

     National and International Variations

     The Challenge of Industrialization in Continental Europe

     Agents of Industrialization

     Government Support and Corporate Banking

     The Situation Outside of Europe

What were the social consequences of industrialization?

     The New Class of Factory Owners

     The New Factory Workers

     Work in Early Factories

     Working Families and Children

     The Sexual Division of Labor

     The Early Labor Movement in Britain

     The Impact of Slavery


Chapter Study Guide

Individuals in Society: Josiah Wedgwood

Listening to the Past: The Testimony of Young Mine Workers

Chapter 24

Ideologies of Change in Europe
, 1815-1914

How was European conservatism challenged between 1815 and 1848?

     The European Balance of Power

     Coerced Conservatism After 1815

     Liberalism and the Middle Class

     The Growing Appeal of Nationalism

     The Birth of Socialism

What led to the Revolutions of 1848 and why did they fail?

     Liberal Reform in Great Britain

     Revolutions in France

     The Revolutions of 1848 in Central Europe

How did nation building transform Italy, Germany, and Russia?

     Cavour, Garibaldi, and the Unification of Italy

     Bismarck and German Unification

     The Modernization of Russia

How did urbanization impact cities, society, and ideas?

     Taming the City

     New Social Hierarchies and the Middle Classes

     The People and Occupations of the Working Classes

     The Changing Family

     Science for the Masses

     Cultural Shifts

How did nationalism and socialism shape politics before 1914?

     Trends in Suffrage

     The German Empire

     Republican France

     Great Britain and the Austro-Hungarian Empire

     Jewish Emancipation and Modern Anti-Semitism

     The Socialist Movement


Chapter Study Guide

Individuals in Society: Giuseppe Garibaldi

Listening to the Past: Mrs. Beeton's Guide for Running a Victorian Household

Chapter 25

Africa, Southwest Asia, and the New Imperialism, 1800-1914

How did slavery, Islam, and imperialism shape Africa's development?

     Trade and Social Change

     Islamic Revival and Expansion in Africa

     The Scramble for Africa, 1880-1914

     Southern Africa in the Nineteenth Century

     Colonialism's Impact After 1900

What were the causes and consequences of European empire building?

     Causes of the New Imperialism

     A "Civilizing Mission"

     Critics of Imperialism

     African and Asian Resistance

How and why did Ottoman and Egyptian leaders reform their states?

     Decline and Reform in the Ottoman Empire

     Egypt: From Reform to British Occupation

How did Western industrialization change the world economy?

     The Rise of Global Inequality

     The World Market

What explains global migration patterns in this period?


Chapter Study Guide

Listening to the Past: A French Leader Defends Imperialism

Individuals in Society: Muhammad Ali

Global Trade: Indigo

Chapter 26

Asia in the Era of Imperialism
, 1800-1914

What were the consequences of British rule for India?

     The Evolution of British Rule

     The Socioeconomic Effects of British Rule

     The British and the Indian Educated Elite

Why were most but not all Southeast Asian societies colonized?

     The Dutch East Indies

     Mainland Southeast Asia

     The Philippines

What factors contributed to China's decline in the nineteenth century?

     The Opium War

     Internal Problems

     The Self-Strengthening Movement

     Republican Revolution

How did Japan respond to the challenges posed by the West?

     The "Opening" of Japan

     The Meiji Restoration


     Japan as an Imperial Power

Why did people move into and out of Asia in the nineteenth century?

     Westerners to Asia

     Asian Emigration

What common experiences did Asian societies share in this era?


Chapter Study Guide

Individuals in Society: Jose Rizal

Listening to the Past: Fukuzawa Yukichi, Escape from Asia

Chapter 27

Nation Building in the Americas and Australia, 1770-1914

How did Latin American nations fare after independence?

     The Origins of the Revolutions Against Colonial Powers

     Resistance, Rebellion, and Independence

     The Aftermath of Independence

     Neocolonialism and Its Socioeconomic Effects

     The Impact of Immigrants from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East

How did the United States become a world power?

     Manifest Destiny and Its Consequences for Native Americans

     Women's Roles in White Settlements

     Black Slavery in the South

     The Civil War and Its Impact

     Industrialization and the Formation of Large Corporations

     Immigrants and Their Reception

What factors shaped the development of Canada?

How did Australia evolve from penal colony to nation?

     A Distant Land Turned Penal Colony

     An Economy Built on Wool, Gold, and Immigrant Labor

     The Shaping of a Government and a National Identity

What common forces shaped the Americas and Australia?


Chapter Study Guide

Listening to the Past: Mary Seacole on Her Early Life

Individuals in Society: Henry Meiggs, Promoter and Speculator

Chapter 28

World War and Revolution, 1914-1929

How did European conflicts lead to global war?

     The Bismarckian System of Alliances

     The Outbreak of War

     Stalemate and Slaughter

     The War Becomes Global

What made World War I a "total war"?

     Mobilizing for Total War

     The Social Impact

     Growing Political Tensions

How did war lead to revolution in Russia?

     The Fall of Imperial Russia

     The Provisional Government

     Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution

     Dictatorship and Civil War

What were the global consequences of the war?

     The End of the War

     The Treaty of Versailles

     American Rejection of the Versailles Treaty

How did leaders seek to re-establish peace and stability?

     Germany and the Western Powers

     Hope in Foreign Affairs

     Hope in Democratic Government

How were postwar anxieties reflected in art and science?

     Uncertainty in Philosophy and Religion

     The New Physics

     Freudian Psychology

     Twentieth-Century Literature

     Modern Architecture, Art, and Music

     Movies and Radio


Chapter Study Guide

Listening to the Past: The Experience of War

Individuals in Society: Vera Brittain

Chapter 29

Nationalism in Asia
, 1914-1939

How did World War I stimulate nationalism in Asia?

     Asian Reaction to the War in Europe

     The Mandates System

     Nationalism's Appeal

What forces shaped nationalism in the Middle East?

     The Arab Revolt

     The Turkish Revolution

     Modernization Efforts in Persia and Afghanistan

     Gradual Independence in the Arab States

     Arab-Jewish Tensions in Palestine

What characterized the Indian independence movement?

     British Promises and Repression

     The Roots of Militant Nonviolence

     Gandhi's Resistance Campaign in India

What nationalist struggles emerged in East and Southeast Asia?

     The Rise of Nationalist China

     China's Intellectual Revolution

     From Liberalism to Ultranationalism in Japan

     Japan Against China

     Striving for Independence in Southeast Asia


Chapter Study Guide

Listening to the Past: Resolution of the General Syrian Congress at Damascus

Individuals in Society: Ning Lao, a Chinese Working Woman

Chapter 30

The Great Depression and World War II
, 1929-1945

Why did the
Great Depression spread around the world?

     The Economic Crisis

     Mass Unemployment

     The New Deal in the United States

     The European Response to the Depression

     Worldwide Effects

How did totalitarianism differ from conservative authoritarianism?

     Conservative Authoritarianism

     Radical Totalitarian Dictatorships

What characterized StalinÕs rule in the Soviet Union?

     From Lenin to Stalin

     The Five-Year Plans

     Life and Culture in Soviet Society

     Stalinist Terror and the Great Purges

How did Italian fascism develop?

     The Seizure of Power

     The Regime in Action

What were the goals of Hitler and his Nazi regime?

     The Roots of Nazism

     Hitler's Road to Power

     The Nazi State and Society

     Hitler's Popularity

     Aggression and Appeasement, 1933-1939

What led to World War II and how did the Allies prevail?

     Hitler's Empire in Europe, 1939-1942

     The Holocaust

     Japan's Asian Empire

     The Grand Alliance

     The War in Europe, 1942-1945

     The War in the Pacific, 1942-1945


Chapter Study Guide

Individuals in Society: Primo Levi

Listening to the Past: Ultranationalist Pamphlet for Japanese Students

Chapter 31

Global Recovery and Division Between Superpowers
, 1945 to the Present

What were the causes of the Cold War?

     The Origins of the Cold War

     West Versus East

How did western Europe recover after World War II, and why did progress stall?

     The Postwar Challenge

     Building Europe and Decolonization

     The Changing Class Structure and Social Reform

     Economic and Social Dislocation, 1970-1990

How did the Soviet Union dominate eastern Europe in the postwar era?

     Stalin's Last Years

     Limited De-Stalinization and Stagnation

     The Impact of Reform on Everyday Life

     The Gorbachev Era

     The Revolutions of 1989

     The End of the Cold War and Soviet Disintegration

What factors shaped social and political developments in postwar America?

     America's Economic Boom and Civil Rights Revolution

     Youth and the Counterculture

     The Vietnam War

     Detente and a Return to Cold War Tensions

How did Japan become a global power after its defeat in World War II?

     Japan's American Revolution

     "Japan, Inc."

     Japan in the Post-Cold War World

What opportunities and challenges did Europe face after the Cold War?

     Common Patterns and Problems

     Recasting Russia Without Communism

     Postcommunist Reconstruction in Eastern Europe

     Unity and Identity in Western Europe


Chapter Study Guide

Global Trade: Oil

Listening to the Past: A Solidarity Leader Speaks from Prison

Individuals in Society: V‡clav Havel

Chapter 32

Independence, Progress, and Conflict in Asia and the Middle East
, 1945 to the Present

What explains
East Asia's economic success after World War II?

     The Communist Victory in China

     Mao's China

     The Limits of Reform

     The Asian "Economic Tigers"

     Political and Economic Progress in Southeast Asia

     The Reunification of Vietnam

How have India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh fared since independence?

     The End of British India

     Pakistan and the Creation of Bangladesh

     India Since Independence

How has religion shaped Middle Eastern politics since 1945?

     The Arab-Israeli Conflict

     The Palestinian Quest for Independence

     Egypt: Arab World Leader

     A Fractured Lebanon

     Challenges to Turkey's Secularism

     Revolution and War in Iran and Iraq


Chapter Study Guide

Individuals in Society: Liu Xiaobo

Listening to the Past: Aung San Suu Kyi, "Freedom from Fear"

Chapter 33

The Global South: Latin America and Africa, 1945 to the Present

How did Latin American states develop after World War II?

     Economic Nationalism in Mexico and Brazil

     Communist Revolution in Cuba

     From Authoritarianism to Democracy in Latin America

     Pan-Latin American Unity

What factors influenced decolonization in sub-Saharan Africa?

     The Growth of African Nationalism

     Achieving Independence with New Leaders

     Ghana Shows the Way

     French-Speaking Regions

What common features characterize independent African states since 1960?

     Striving for National Unity

     Nigeria, Africa's Giant

     The Struggle in Southern Africa

     Political Reform in Africa Since 1990

How have writers depicted the experience of the emerging world?


Chapter Study Guide

Individuals in Society: Eva Peron

Listening to the Past: Nelson Mandela, The Struggle for Freedom in South Africa

Chapter 34

A New Era in World History

How has global politics changed since 1989?

     The United Nations

     Preemptive War in Iraq

     Complexity and Violence in a Multipolar World

     The Terrorist Threat

     Weapons of Mass Destruction

What are the consequences of increasing global interdependence?

     Multinational Corporations

     Industrialization and Modernization

     Agriculture and the Green Revolution

     The Economics and Politics of Globalization

What are the causes and consequences of worldwide urbanization?

     Rapid Urbanization

     Overcrowding and Shantytowns

     Rich and Poor

     Urban Migration and the Family

     Urbanization and Agriculture

How have developments in science and technology changed the world?

     The Medical Revolution

     Population Change: Balancing the Numbers

     Global Epidemics


     Mass Communication

What social problems do women and children face?

     Women: The Right to Equality

     Children: The Right to Childhood


Chapter Study Guide

Individuals in Society: The Dalai Lama

Listening to the Past: The United Nations Millennium Project Report

Global Trade: Arms

Chapter Endnotes



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