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World History: A Concise Thematic Analysis, Volume One, 2nd Edition



World History: A Concise Thematic Analysis, Volume One, 2nd Edition

Steven Wallech, Touraj Daryaee, Craig Hendricks, Anne Lynne Negus, Peter P. Wan, Gordon Morris Bakken

ISBN: 978-1-118-53271-3 April 2013 Wiley-Blackwell 432 Pages


World History: A Concise Thematic Analysis presents the highly anticipated second edition of the most affordable and accessible survey of world history designed for use at the college level.

  • An engaging narrative that contextualizes history and does not drown students in a sea of facts
  • Offers a comparative analysis of the great civilizations of Eurasia, Africa, and the Americas
  • Addresses themes of population dynamics, food production challenges, disease history, warfare, and other major issues for civilizations
  • Features new interior design and organization to enhance user experience
  • Instructor’s test bank available online at

Volume 1

Introduction x

Unit One The Ancient World 1


The artificial existence of civilization  

The biology of civilization

The geography of civilization

The climate of civilization

The relationship between belief and action

Chapter 1: Biology and World History

Civilization and Nomads 5

Climate 12

The Geography of Cultivation 14

The Domestication of Animals 20

Urban Development 24

The Nomads 27

Disease History 28

Suggested Reading 31

Chapter 2: Mesopotamia

The Land between the Rivers 33

A Temple Economy 34

The Causes of Trade 35

Kings, War, and Ecocide 37

The Art of Writing and Hammurabi’s Code 39

The General Matrix of Civilization 41

The Dawn of Religion: Creation Myths 42

Iron and Mesopotamia 44

The Hebrews 47

The Emergence of Monotheism 48

Suggested Readings 51

Chapter 3: Pre-Islamic Africa

Egyptian, Nilotic, and Sub-Saharan Africa 52

Egypt, the Gift of the Nile 52

The Archaic Period (ca. 3100–2700 bce) and the Pyramid Age  of the Old Kingdom (ca. 2700–2200 bce) 57

The First Intermediate Period (ca. 2200–2000 bce) and the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2000–1786 bce) 59

The Hyksos and Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1786–1575 bce) and the New Kingdom (ca. 1575–1050 bce) 60

special topic: The Distant but Powerful Link between Pacific Currents and Egyptian Floods 61

Egypt and the Iron Age 65

Nilotic Africa 66

Sub-Saharan Africa 70

Iron 73

Suggested Reading 75

Chapter 4: India

From the Indus to the Ganges 76

Iron, Rice, and India  80

Indian Religions 83

Religious Opposition 87

The Maturation of India’s Faiths 89

Suggested Reading 90

Chapter 5: China

The Yellow River Civilization  91

The Land and the People 91

Mythological China 93

The Bronze Age: The Xia, Shang, and Zhou Dynsties 94

The Iron Age: Economic, Military, and Commercial Revolutions 97

The Golden Age of Classical Chinese Philosophy 98

China’s First Empire: The Qin and Han Dynasties 102

Centers of Power within and beyond the Han Empire 107

special topic: Lady Lu: Empress Dowager 108

Suggested Reading 110

Chapter 6: The Nomads’ trade

and the Great Migrations 111

The First Wave of Mass Migrations: The Wheel, the Chariot, and Nomads  112

A Second Wave of Migrations: The Iron Age 118

Cavalry: The Third Wave of Migrations 123

Suggested Reading 126

Chapter 7: Greece

The Rainfall Zone 127

Network Cities and the Special Case of Athens 128

The Role of Coins in Athenian History 131

The Limits of Democracy 133

Sparta 134

The Failure of Greek Politics 135

Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great, and the Hellenistic World 136

Greek Philosophy 138

Physics 139

Math and Logic: Metaphysics 140

Socrates and his Followers 141

Drama 143

The Origins of History 145

Suggested Reading 146

Chapter 8: The Hellenistic East and Persia

A Cultural Bridge 147

The Hellenistic East 147

Diffusion of Hellenism to the East 149

Kings, Cities, and Soldiers 151

Hellenistic Philosophy 154

The Stoics 157

One God, One Lord 158

The Persians 160

The Persian Sassanian Empire (224–651 ce) 164

Khusro I and the Height of the Sassanian Empire 168

Suggested Reading 169

Chapter 9: Rome

From Citizenship to Imperial Rule 170

Part One: The Republic 170

Part Two: The Empire 176

Roman Society 179

Roman Philosophy 181

Christianity 183

Suggested Reading 188

Chapter 10: Origins of Native American Cultures

Geographic Isolation 189

Origins of the Americas’ First Cities 192

Mesoamerica 193

Teotihuacán 195

The Maya 196

South America 198

Elsewhere in the Americas 200

Suggested Reading 201

Chapter 11: The Fall of the Ancient Eurasian World

Rome, Han China, and Gupta India 203

Trade, Disease, and Religious Ideas 204

special topic: Manichaeism 207

Internal Decay: The Roman Story 207

special topic: Malaria 210

special topic: Smallpox 211

The Han Dynasty, 206 bce–220 ce 214

Chaos and Religion: Buddhism and Daoism 219

The Last Days of the Han 221

Gupta India: The Great Exception 222

The Nomads 224

Suggested Reading 227

Unit two The Middle Years 229







Chapter 12: The Rise of Islam

The Ancient Near East Becomes the Middle East 233

The Prophecy 233

The Pillars of Islam 235

The Umma 239

The Caliphs 240

Suggested Reading 245

Chapter 13: China in an Era of Recovery and Cultures on the fringe

Korea, Japan, and the Mongols 246

China’s Second Empire: Sui and Tang Dynasties 247

The Tang Dynasty, 618–907 248

The Song Dynasty, 960–1127 254

The Yuan Dynasty, 1279–1368: The Mongol Conquest of China 259

Sinicization: The Influence of Chinese Culture on Korea, Japan, and Mongolia 262

Korea 263

Japan 266

The Mongols: The End of Nomadism 275

Suggested Reading 279

Chapter 14: India and Islam

An Era of Political Chaos 280

Internal Fragmentation 282

The Arrival of Islam 285

Hindu Revival 287

Delhi Sultanate 289

Dhimmis, Being Cared for by the Faithful 290

Suggested Reading 293

Chapter 15: The European Middle Ages

The Failure of Tradition 294

Part One: The Early Middle Ages, 500–1000 295

Part Two: The Byzantine Empire 300

Part Three: Europe and the High Middle Ages, 1000–1300 303

special topic: The Magna Carta 311

Part Four: The Late Middle Ages, 1300–1450 319

special topic: The Bubonic Plague 321

special topic: Joan of Arc 325

Part Five: The Renaissance 328

Suggested Reading 337

Chapter 16: Islamic Africa

A Complex Pattern of Cultures 339

Corporate Lineage and State Formation after 500 340

Muslim Africa 341

special topic: Abu Abdullah Mohammed Battuta 343

South Africa 352

Suggested Reading 353

Chapter 17: The Americas

A Time of Trouble 355

The Toltecs 357

The Aztecs 359

special topic: Ixiptla: An Aztec God-Representative 362

The Incas 363

North America 366

The Unmistakable Influence of Isolation 370

Suggested Reading 370

Credits C-1

Index I-1


Original Agricultural Sites 4 

The World from 200 BCE–200 CE 32

The World from 200 CE–500 CE 202

The World from the Death of Mohammed, 632–750 CE 232

World Civilizations and Empires (circa 1500 CE) 354