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Great Empires: An Illustrated Atlas [Hardcover]

National Geographic

List Price: CDN$ 45.00
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Book Description

Nov. 20 2012
Experience what life was like when pharaohs erected the majestic pyramids; when Hannibal commanded Carthage's 40,000 troops; when Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor; and when the drive to conquer defined the destiny of leaders and the lives of ordinary people. Much of human history is destined to be forgotten--but thousands of years have not erased the epic stories of the great empires of the world. Great Empires sweeps through the ages, uncovering the secrets of dynasties from the dawn of human civilization to the 20th century and tracing the path of power around the globe and across the centuries. Each chapter delves into the times, places, and historical forces that gave rise to legendary warriors, charismatic kings, and lasting dynasties. Throughout these epic tales of the great empires we see extraordinary ambition, shrewd calculation, heroic bravery, and surprising foresight--all captured in one complete volume. Organized in chronological order from 2600 B.C. to the 20th century, this comprehensive history weaves together a compelling portrait of more than 30 epic empires using dramatic images, intriguing sidebars, and easy-to-follow time lines. New, meticulously drawn National Geographic maps show the extent of territory held by each empire, major trade routes, paths of military campaigns, locations of principal traded commodities, significant roads, walls and buildings, and sites of pivotal battles. Selected maps also show the changes in physical geography between ancient and modern coastlines. Sidebars, images, and text showcase the historic leaders such as Hammurabi, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Genghis Khan, who had grandiose visions for their world.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (Nov. 20 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426208294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426208294
  • Product Dimensions: 28.3 x 24 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 Kg
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #225,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Although this is a fine reference work crammed with facts on each page, it can also easily be read cover to cover. An accomplished and sensible resource for students in need of illustrations for reports and patrons looking for a general but informative historic overview of world empires."
—Rob Tench, Old Dominion Univ. Lib., Norfolk, Va.

Although this is a fine reference work crammed with facts on each page, it can also easily be read cover to cover. An accomplished and sensible resource for students in need of illustrations for reports and patrons looking for a general but informative historic overview of world empires.”
Library Journal

About the Author

STEPHEN G. HYSLOP has written extensively for National Geographic and Time-Life Books, including Almanac of World History (with Patricia Daniels), Eyewitness to the Civil War, Atlas of the Civil War, and Bound for Santa Fe.

PATRICIA DANIELS has written, edited, or contributed to many National Geographic books on history, science, and geography, most recently Almanac of World History, New Solar System, Eyewitness to History, and National Geographic Encyclopedia of Space. The author lives in Alexandria, VA and State College, PA.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed, but not too detailed; narrative quality, but also fairly random. Dec 24 2012
By Brian Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm a huge ancient history buff. My favorite books include "Collapse of Complex Societies", Polybius' "The Rise of the Roman Empire", "Guns, Germs, and Steel", "A Short History of Nearly Everything", and many more.

I found that this book painted broad strokes, and presented selective information. I was left wondering why they chose to discuss one seemingly minor detail while leaving out more significant info at times. This wasn't a big hindrance for two reasons:

1. When attempting to cover the entire history of civilization in less than 5,000 pages you are guaranteed to miss numerous details.

2. The seemingly random details covered in subsections presented interesting facts and stories even I was not aware of, so a book I expected to be merely a review actually presented new, enlightening info, a surprise I enjoyed.

As you could expect the pictures are rich and many in number.

If you are a history buff you will enjoy this book. If you are new to ancient history this book will be a wonderful, compelling introduction. In other words, this book blends simplicity and detail very well. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro book on the subject Dec 29 2012
By loyal customer Bill - Published on Amazon.com
One sees many books covering this topic in one way or another, but I am impressed that National Geographic did an outstanding job of introducing the topic. Both the most important and many lesser empires are included, each with excellent small maps and many details of their culture, art, government, etc. Asia and South America are not left out. At the end is a simple but very useful comparative chronology of the empires showing their origins, peaks, and declines. I would have liked to see more on the short-lived, mostly evil, 20th century empires that caused so much war, but overall this is a great single book summary of empires in world history.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity Feb. 1 2014
By Dr - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this book rather disappointing.
Given National Geographic's skill in map making I was hoping for more and better maps
The idea for the book is good and some of the features are useful as far as they go , but it could be much better.
There are a number of illustrations of marginal benefit - that get half or a whole page. A number of these illustrations date to centuries later- eg Hanging Garden of Babylon , or the comtempory by the waterside used to illustrate a saying from "The instruction of Ani" ( why are the saying mainly undated- an idea of what century it came from would help
Articles from the time period are usually annotated and dated on the page they occur on. A few other objects get the same treatment but most you have to go to the back and look for acknowledgements- often all this tells you is in which Museum it is in with no details on artist or date. This may seem like carping but sections on a given period should be illustrated by objects of the time_yes they are there but the later objects give so much wrong information- like the armour or dress of the time etc

My main grip is that more space could be use for maps
The Ancient Near East is illustrated by 2 maps. One from theAkkadian Empire and the second showing Babylonian Empire- also on the map is the Hittite empire, the Assyrian Empire, the Neo- Babylonian Empire and some other details. This would have been better shown it extra maps

The Holy Roman Empire was created by Charlemagne when he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope in 800. The map chosen to show the Holy Roman Empire shows it in 1648 - About 150 years before it collapsed under the reorganisation of Central Europe by Napoleon - why is only one map included
Why no clear identification of the 7 or so men who were the Electors-( several temporal rulers and several Major church leaders who Elected the Holy Roman Emperor-- as they had this power much political and other maneuvering occurred around them Mozart's Prince Bishop in Salzburg from memory was one

The British Empire gets one map about 1900, While the Russian Empire gets several small maps showing its great expansion after 1500

This book has some good maps But could have been so much better with more maps
The time lines in the sections and at the back are OK but far to brief
The text is fair (how can one say much in a few pages and some of the other features like sidebars an brief essays can be informative
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a coffee table book that really invites browsing Sept. 3 2013
By RetiredMilitaryOfficer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whenever I'm sitting on the couch with a few minutes to spare, I tend to pick up this book from the coffee table. If you're at all interested in world history, this is a book for you. Each chapter is self contained, and the text does a very nice job of summarizing the history of each empire outlined in the book. The pictures and maps, as usual in a National Geographic publication, make the book. The maps are really easy to read and the pictures vary from great to outstanding and are frequently visually stunning.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Aug. 10 2013
By Nancy Price-Hobday - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is not only great for the coffee table, it is PACKED with very good historical information. I recommend it highly for anybody interested in ancient history.

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