World History in Brief : Major Patterns of Change and Continuity, Combined Volume

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-09-29
  • Publisher: Pearson
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Rather than overwhelm students with minutia, the primary goal ofWorld History in Briefis to present the big picture by highlighting the major developments in world history. The text emphasizes the global interactions among major civilizations, enabling students to compare and assess changes in the patterns of interaction and the impact of global forces, such as migration and technological exchange. The compact size of this text allows instructors to take advantage of supplementary readings in their courses.

Author Biography

Peter N. Stearns is Provost and Professor of History at George Mason University. He has taught previously at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Rutgers, and Carnegie Mellon; he was educated at Harvard University. He has published widely in modern social history, including the history of emotions, and in world history. Representative works in world history include World History: A Survey, The Industrial Revolution in World History, Gender in World History, Consumerism in

World History, and Growing Up: The History of Childhood in Global Context. His publications in social history include Old Age in Preindustrial Society, Anxious Parents: A History of Modern American Childrearing, American Cool: Developing the Twentieth-Century Emotional Style, Fat History: Bodies and Beauty in Western Society, American Fear: The Causes and Consequences of High Anxiety, Revolutions in Sorrow: A History of American Experiences and Policies Toward Death in Global Context, From Alienation to Addiction: Modern American Work in Global Historical Perspective, and Educating Global Citizens in Colleges and Universities: Challenges and Opportunities. While under Dr. Stearns’s leadership, George Mason University was awarded the 2006 Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education. He has also edited encyclopedias of world and social history, and since 1967 has served as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Social History.


In most of his research and writing, Dr. Stearns pursues three main goals. As a social historian he is eager to explore aspects of the human experience that are not generally thought of in historical terms, and with attention to ordinary people as well as elites. Second, he seeks to use an understanding of historical change and continuity to explore patterns of behavior and social issues. Finally he is concerned with connecting new historical research with wider audiences, including of course classrooms. Dr. Stearns is also eager to promote comparative analysis and the assessment of modern global forces–for their own sake and as they illuminate the American experience and impact.

Table of Contents

Part I Early World History: From Origins to Agriculture and New Forms of Human Organization 


Chapter 1    From Human Prehistory to the Rise of Agriculture

Getting Started Is Always Hard

Human Development and Change

Solving Problems:  Dealing with Death

The Neolithic Revolution

History Debate: People in the Americas

The Nature of Agricultural Societies

Agriculture and Change

Paths to the Present


Chapter 2    Early Civilizations 3500 — 1000 B.C.E.


Solving Problems  The Use of Culture

Egypt and Mesopotamia Compared

History Debate: Women in Patriarchal Societies

Transitions: The End of the River Valley Period

The Heritage of the River Valley Civilizations

New States and Peoples Around 1000 B.C.E.

Paths to the Present


Chapter 3    Nomadic Societies

Early Nomadic Societies

Nomadic Society and Culture

Nomads and Civilizations

History Debate: The Contributions of Nomads

Nomads and Global Patterns

Paths to the Present


Part I Retrospective  The Rise of Agriculture and Agricultural Civilizations



Part II   The Classical Period, 1000 B.C.E.— 500 C.E. 


Chapter 4    Classical Civilization: China

Patterns in Classical China

Political Institutions

History Debate: War

Religion and Culture

World Profiles: Confucius, or Kong Fuzi (c. 551—479 B.C.E.)

Economy and Society

World Profiles: Ban Zhao (c. 48—117 C.E.)

How Chinese Civilization Fit Together

Paths to the Present


Chapter 5    Classical Civilization: India

The Framework for Indian History: Geography and a Formative Period

Patterns in Classical India

Political Institutions

History Debate: Interpreting Civilization, Round Two

Religion and Culture

Economy and Society

Solving Problems: Dealing with Inequality

Indian Influence

China and India

Paths to the Present


Chapter 6    Classical Civilization in the Mediterranean and Middle East: Persia, Greece, and Rome

The Persian Tradition

Patterns of Greek and Roman History

Greek and Roman Political Institutions

World Profiles: Julius Caesar (100—44 B.C.E.)

Solving Problems: Cultural Encounters

Religion and Culture

Economy and Society in the Mediterranean

History Debate: Mediterranean Civilization and “Western” Civilization

Toward the Fall of Rome

Paths to the Present


Chapter 7    The Classical Period: Directions, Diversities, and Declines by 500 C.E.

Decline in China and India

Decline and Fall in Rome

The New Religious Map

History Debate: What Caused Decline and Fall?

World Profiles: Saint Paul (Paul of Tarsus)

The World Around 500 C.E.

Paths to the Present


Part II Retrospective  The Classical Period, 1000 B.C.E.—500 C.E. 



Part III   The Postclassical Period,  500—1450 C.E. 


Chapter 8    The Rise of Islam: Civilization in the Middle East

The Advent of Islam

World Profiles: Muhammad (570—632 C.E.)

Patterns of Islamic History

Islamic Political Institutions

History Debate: Political Implications of Islam

Islam and Middle Eastern Culture

World Profiles: Omar Khayyam (c. 11th—12th Centuries)

Solving Problems: Religion and Trade

Economy and Society in the Middle East

The Decline of Middle Eastern Civilization

Paths to the Present


Chapter 9    India and Southeast Asia Under the Impact of Islam

The Development of Indian Culture

History Debate:The Caste System

The Muslim Challenge in India

Southeast Asia

Paths to the Present


Chapter 10     Africa and Islam

Sub-Saharan Africa and the World Network

Solving Problems: Technology and Trade

The Great Kingdoms

World Profiles: Sundiata

History Debate: Handles for African History

Features of African Civilization

Paths to the Present


Chapter 11    East European Civilization: Byzantium and Russia

The Byzantine Phase

World Profiles: The Emperor Justinian (527—565 C.E.)

The Early Russian Phase: Kievan Rus’

History Debate: A Russian Civilization?

East European Political Institutions

East European Religion and Culture

East European Economy and Society

East European Civilization in Eclipse

Paths to the Present


Chapter 12    Western Civilization: The Middle Ages

Early Patterns in Western Civilization

Medieval Political Institutions

History Debate: Homosexuality and Religion

Medieval Religion and Culture

Economy and Society

Solving Problems: Population Growth

Women and Family Life

Tensions in the Later Middle Ages

Paths to the Present


Chapter 13    China ’s Impact and the Spread of East Asian Civilization

Political and Cultural Developments in China

World Profiles: Taizong (626—649 C.E.)

Economy and Society in China

Civilization in Korea, Vietnam, and Japan

History Debate: East Asian Civilization?

Culture, Society, and Economy in Japan

World Profiles: Mugai Nyodai

East Asian Self-Confidence

Paths to the Present


Chapter 14    Centers of Civilization in the Americas

The Mayas and Aztecs

History Debate: What Happened to the Mayas?

The Issue of Isolation

Paths to the Present


Chapter 15    The Mongol Interlude and the End of the Postclassical Period

Mongol Empires

World Profiles: Chabi Khan

China and the West as New World Powers

History Debate: Causes of Global Change by 1450

The End of Transition: Postclassical to Early Modern

Paths to the Present


Part III Retrospective  The Postclassical Period, 500—1450 C.E. 



Part IV   A New World Economy, 1450—1750 


Chapter 16    The West and the World: Discovery, Colonization, and Trade

Patterns of Exploration and Trade

History Debate: Early Modern Stereotypes

Toward a World Economy


World Profiles: Olandah Equiano

Colonization in Latin America: The Birth of a New Civilization

Latin American Civilization

World Profiles: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651—1695)

Western Civilization in North America

North and South America: Reasons for the Differences

The World Economy Revisited

Paths to the Present


Chapter 17    Western Civilization Changes Shape in the Early Modern Centuries

Patterns of Early Modern Western History

World Profiles: Maria Portinari

Political Institutions and Ideas

The Ferment in Western Culture

Transformations in Economic and Social Life

Solving Problems: Dealing with the Asia Advantage

How Early Modern Trends in the West Interrelated

Paths to the Present


Chapter 18    The Rise of Russia

Patterns of Early Modern Russian History

World Profiles: Catherine the Great (1762—1796)

History Debate: A Russian Civilization?

Russian Political Institutions

Russian Culture

Economy and Society in Russia

The World’s First Effort at Westernization

Paths to the Present


Chapter 19    The Ottoman and Mughal Empires

The Expanding Force of the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire in Decline

History Debate: Guns and Their Impact

The Safavid Challenge

The Mughal Empire: Invasion, Consolidation, and Decline

Western Intrusion into the Mughal Empire

The Rise and Decline of Asian Empires

Paths to the Present


Chapter 20    East Asia : Vital Trends in Politics and Trade

China: The Resumption of the Dynasties

Solving Problems: T rying to Manage Food Supplies

Cultural and Social Trends: New Problems

History Debate: Chinese and Western Economies

Japan and the Origins of Isolation

World Profiles: Toyotomi Hideyoshi (r. 1536—1548)

Vitality and Tension in East Asia

Paths to the Present


Part IV Retrospective  A New World Economy, 1450—1750



Part V    The World’s First Industrial Period, 1750—1914


Chapter 21   The First Industrial Revolution: Western Society, 1780—1914

Patterns of Industrialization

Causes of Industrialization

History Debate: Consumerism and Industrialization

Effects of Industrialization

The Period of Revolution, 1789—1848

The Postrevolutionary Era and Nationalism, 1848—1871

“The Social Question,” 1871—1914

Western Political Institutions in the Industrial Revolution

World Profiles: Mary Wollstonecraft (1759—1797)

Western Culture in the Industrial Century

Industrial Society

History Debate: Women in Industrial Society

Gain and Strain from Industrialization

Paths to the Present


Chapter 22    World Economy and Western Imperialism: Africa and South Asia

The Reasons for Imperialism: Motives and Means

History Debate: Causes of the Abolition of Slavery

Imperialism in India and Southeast Asia

Solving Problems:  Railroads

Imperialism in Africa

World Profiles: John Mensah Sarbah (1865—1910)

Comparing Colonies

Paths to the Present


Chapter 23   The Settler Societies: The West on Frontiers

The United States

History Debate: Exceptionalism


The Newer Settler Societies

World Profiles: Hongi Hika

Special Features of Settler Societies

Paths to the Present


Chapter 24   The Development of Latin American Civilization

The Wars of Independence

World Profiles: Simón Bolívar (1783—1830)

The Period of Consolidation

Late-Century Trends: Dictatorship, Immigration, and Western Intervention

World Profiles: Benito Juárez (1806—1872)

Political Institutions and Values

History Debate: Is Latin America Western?

Culture and the Arts

Economy and Society

Tension and Creativity

Paths to the Present


Chapter 25   The Middle East and China in the Imperialist Century

The Attempt to Modernize Egypt

Decline of the Ottoman Empire

The Rise of Nationalism

World Profiles: Lalla Zainab

China Faces Imperialism

History Debate: China ’s 19th-Century Sluggishness

The Need for Further Change

Paths to the Present


Chapter 26   Russia and Japan: Industrialization Outside the West

Russian Conservatism: An Alternative to the West

The Beginnings of Russian Industrialization

The Foundations of Revolution in Russia

The Culture of Eastern Europe

History Debate: The Preconditions for Revolution

The Opening of Trade in Japan

Japanese Industrialization in Response to the West

Solving Problems:  Maintaining Identity

Cultural and Economic Effects of Japanese Industrialization

Japan as an International Player

The Strain of Modernization

Paths to the Present


Chapter 27   World War I and the End of an Era

Signs of Change

Causes of World War I

History Debate: Responsibility for World War I

World War I: Europe

World War I: The World

Solving Problems: Mobilizing for Total War

Paths to the Present


Part V Retrospective  The World’s First Industrial Period, 1750—1914



Part VI   The Contemporary World 1918 - Present 


Chapter 28    The West in the Contemporary Period

Patterns of Western History: 1914—1945

Patterns of Western History: 1950 to the Present

Western Political Institutions in the 20th Century

History Debate: Convergence

Contemporary Western Culture

Economy and Society

World Profiles: Simone de Beauvoir

A Postindustrial Age?

Paths to the Present


Chapter 29    Eastern European Civilization

The Russian Revolution

History Debate: Women and the Russian Revolution

Patterns of Soviet History After 1923

Soviet Political Institutions

Soviet Culture

Solving Problems: Updating the Treatment of Children

Economy and Society

The Explosion of the 1980s

Dismantling the Soviet Empire

Renewed Turmoil After 1991

Tradition and Change in Eastern Europe

Russia and the West in Comparative Analysis

Paths to the Present


Chapter 30    East Asia in the 20th and Early 21st  Centuries

A Clash of Cultures: Revolution and War

History Debate: Japan and Westernization

Return to Stability in Japan

Upheaval and Ongoing Revolution in China

East Asia Toward the End of the Century

World Profiles: Sun Zhongshan (1867—1925)

Japan, Incorporated

The Pacific Rim

China Under Communism

East Asia and the World

Paths to the Present


Chapter 31    India and Southeast Asia

The Rise of Nationalism

Gandhi’s Nonviolent Strategies

World Profiles: Mohandas Gandhi (1869—1948)

Nationalism in Southeast Asia

Decolonization After the War

Southeast Asia After Independence

India and Pakistan

History Debate: Women’s Conditions in India

India and China

Paths to the Present


Chapter 32    Middle-Eastern Civilization in the 20th  Century

Replacing the Ottoman Empire

Assertions of Arab Nationalism

The New Role of the State

Solving Problems: Reviving Religion in Contemporary History

The Rise of Fundamentalism

Middle-Eastern Culture and Society

History Debate: Terrorism

New Tensions in the Early 2000s

A Troubled Region

Paths to the Present


Chapter 33    Latin America in the 20th Century

Latin America in 20th-Century World History

The Mexican Revolution, 1910—1920s

Effects of the Depression, 1930s—1950s

Revolution and Response, 1950s—1990s

Latin American Culture

Solving Problems: Adapting Consumer Values

Economy and Society

History Debate: Latin America and the Third World

Toward a Greater World Role?

Paths to the Present


Chapter 34    Sub-Saharan Africa: From Colonies to New Nations

Emerging Nationalism

The Transformation to Independence

The Challenges of New Nationhood

African Politics

African Culture

History Debate: The Question of Identity

Economy and Society

Defining the New Africa

Paths to the Present


Chapter 35    The Early 21st Century: World History and the Future

After the Cold War

The Spread of Democracy

History Debate: 20th and 21st Centuries: Change or Continuity

A World of Regions: Alliances and Disputes

Ethnic Conflict


The New Technology

Business Organization and Investment


Cultural Globalization

Institutions of Globalization

Protest and Economic Uncertainties

Nationalism and Religious Currents

Global Terrorism

Global Warming and a Planet in Peril


Projecting from Trends

Paths to the Present


Part VI Retrospective  The Contemporary World

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