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World History For Dummies, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-470-44654-6
408 pages
June 2009
World History For Dummies, 2nd Edition (0470446544) cover image
Now updated! Your personal tour guide to the history of the world

Want to know more about global history? This concise guide explains in clear detail all the major players and events that have made the world what it is today. Covering the entirety of human history, this comprehensive resource highlights important developments in everything from religion and science to art and war — giving you an understanding of how the 21st-century world came to be.

  • Begin to connect with the past — label the eras as you meet the Neanderthals, home in on Homer, raise Atlantis, and preserve Pharaohs
  • Find strength in numbers — trace the growth from ancient civilizations to today's global community and discover what makes societies succeed or fail

  • Discover the impact of thought — explore the rise of religion, the roots of philosophy, and the advance of science — and how our feelings and beliefs continually redefined us

  • Know the global consequences of war — ride with the Greeks and the Romans, arm yourself with the cavalry, dig the trenches, and follow the paths humans took to wage modern war

  • Meet the movers and shakers — from great leaders and courageous revolutionaries to ruthless tyrants and unsung heroes

  • Examine significant events of the 21st century — from 9/11 and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars to climate change, Hurricane Katrina, and the economic rise of China, India, and Brazil

Open the book and find:

  • A detailed overview of history
  • The development of the world's religions

  • Reviews of essential historical documents, from the Bible to the Bill of Rights

  • The invention of writing and art

  • Scientific developments that revolutionized the world

  • Capsule biographies of people who changed history — and a few who were changed by it

  • Ten unforgettable dates in world history

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Introduction 1

Part I: Getting into History 9

Chapter 1: Tracing a Path to the Present 11

Chapter 2: Digging Up Reality 23

Chapter 3: Putting History into Perspective 31

Part II: Finding Strength in Numbers 41

Chapter 4: Getting Civilized 43

Chapter 5: The Rise and Fall of Many Empires 61

Chapter 6: History’s Mid-Life Crisis: The Middle Ages 77

Chapter 7: The Struggle for World Domination 93

Chapter 8: Grabbing the Globe 113

Chapter 9: Clashing All Around the World 135

Part III: Seeking Answers 163

Chapter 10: Religion through the Ages 165

Chapter 11: Loving Wisdom: The Rise and Reach of Philosophy 187

Chapter 12: Being Christian, Thinking Greek 201

Chapter 13: Awakening to the Renaissance 211

Chapter 14: Making a Break: The Reformation 229

Chapter 15: Opening Up to Science and Enlightenment 249

Part IV: Fighting, Fighting, Fighting 263

Chapter 16: Sticks and Stones: Waging War the Old-Fashioned Way 265

Chapter 17: The War Machine Gets Some Upgrades 277

Chapter 18: Modernized Mayhem 291

Part V: Meeting the Movers and Shakers 305

Chapter 19: Starting Something Legendary 307

Chapter 20: Battling Toward Immortality 319

Chapter 21: Explorers and Discoverers: Places to Go, People to See 331

Chapter 22: Turning Tables: Rebels and Revolutionaries 343

Part VI: The Part of Tens 357

Chapter 23: Ten Unforgettable Dates in History 359

Chapter 24: Ten Essential Historical Documents 365

Index 373

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Peter Haugen is a prolific history writer. In addition to authoring and contributing to several books, his work has appeared in publications including History Magazine, mental_floss, and Psychology Today. Haugen has served on the staffs of such newspapers as the St. Petersburg Times and the Sacramento Bee.
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