History: The Definitive Visual Guide - From the Dawn of Civilization to the Present Day Hardcover – Jul 27 2010
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"[T]he book excels in by telling well-chosen stories in simple, illustrated form, always offering enough depth of information to satisfy the curious." – DigitalInsider.com --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Adam Hart Davis has worked and presented on major TV series including Local Heroes, Top Ten Treasures, Tomorrow's World, What The Stuarts Did For Us, What The Victorians Did For Us, What The Romans Did For Us, and recently What The Ancients Did For Us. He lives in the West of England.
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In the 19th century, Charles Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution by natural selection (see pp.340-41), identified tropical Africa as the cradle of humankind. Read the first page Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Generally I was not disappointed. My knowledge of history is quite specific to certain events. This put more things in context. However it's rather general. If you want specific information of events you'll have to specialize. The graphics of this book make it easier to remember things then just dry text.
I do have some complainants to levy against this book however. The first is already addressed and that is the general nature of the book. Some topics or events are too glossed over. My second grievance against the book is the fact they totally omitted the war of 1812. As far as I looked I did not see a single instance of this war. Of course in the United Kingdom this war is immensely overshadowed by the Napoleonic wars. This war is important for the United States and highly is remembered in Canada. (The star spangled banner was written during this war and the names of Brock and Tecumseh are highly remembered in Canada)The fact that it is totally omitted is baffling. It makes me wonder what other events are omitted as well. Obviously I did not purchase this book exclusively to study the war of 1812, but I am just surprised it is omitted.
My grievances aside, I recommend this to anyone who wants a basic understanding of history.
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The other thing that I love about this book is that it allows me to find answers to the random historical questions that often come up when I am traveling, reading the newspaper or watching historical fiction on TV. I have three examples of this.
A recent visit to the ancient bristle cone pines made me want to understand more about ancient civilizations and human migrations. History: The Definitive Visual Guide allowed me to satisfy my curiosity.
History: The Definitive Visual Guide helps me to understand the historical backgrounds of the presidential biographies I have been reading.
A waitress recently told us she was from Moldova. I knew almost nothing about Moldova. One of the nice features of History: The Definitive Visual Guide is that it has a 110 page section that traces the individual histories of the world's 193 countries. When we got home I read up on the history of Moldova.
In my opinion History: The Definitive Visual Guide is a must have for anyone who is fascinated by history. I highly recommend this book. It would make a great Christmas present!
"History" will not replace standard textbooks on specific historical eras or regions of the world, but it serves as an excellent general introduction, particularly for those who might otherwise be turned off by the subject of history. It starts with the origin of our species, its spread throughout the globe, and prehistoric developments that ensured our survival. Early and classical civilzations are covered next, followed by the Dark and Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment, and finally the Industrial Revolution and the Modern Age. A lengthy appendix concludes the book with brief timelines for all of the world's nations.
Numerous maps, links, and period documents are included. There are special two-page features on such leaders as Rameses II, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Ganghis Khan, Elizabeth I, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Lincoln, Victoria, Stalin, Hitler, and JFK, along with photo features on Egyptian, Celtic, Islamic, and Native Amerian artifacts, personalities like Columbus, Leonardo, Marx, and Einstein, decisive events like the Battle of Stalingrad, D-Day, the bombing of Hiroshima, 9/11, and many others. Recommended.
It is so well done, that it will (I guarantee) hold inexhaustable fascination for you and everyone in your household. Where did we come from and where are we going? Find your answers here.
Perfection! I adore it.
I have one concern and that is the text legibility. I wish to pass on to the publishers to please consider making the text larger even if it requires that some of the pictures be a little smaller. Also background images obscure the readability of the text. Some people actually do want to read the book and some of the text is a challenge for me to read because of the size of the print or the fact that the legibility is obscured by a background image.
1 ORIGIN - 4.5 million years ago to 3000 BCE
2 RULERS & HIERARCHIES - 3000-700 BCE
3 THINKERS & BELIEVERS 700 BCE-600 CE
4 WARRIORS, TRAVELERS & INVENTORS 600-1450
5 RENAISSANCE & REFORMATION 1450-1750
6 INDUSTRY & REVOLUTION 1750-1914
7 POPULATION & POWER 1914-PRESEN
At the end of the seven main themes, book sets out to survey NATIONAL HISTORIES by Continents:North and South America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania in altogether about 100 pages.
Each major section has a time line of five rows noting the highlights of a particular time span. Noteworthy also is the color-coding of the right hand edge with a distinctive color for each section making it easier to return or find a certain area.
This book is extremely well-organized. Each section is broken down into subsections. For example the first section, ORGINS, begins with Our Remote Ancestors. Each subsection has a BEFORE BOX in which key points are noted preceding this section and also a AFTER BOX which outlines the result of this time period. This pattern is followed throughout the book making it easier for students and others to see the period in a larger historic perspective. In this first section in the BEFORE BOX it looks briefly at the Human Family noting that chimpanzees are our closest living relatives, we share 99 percent of our genes , but the one percent difference is what makes us human. It surveys briefly our oldest prehistoric ancestors. Some of these ancestors may have end died-out. Next, it discusses the molecular clock which Started with the last common ancestor of man and dates the split between man and chimpanzees .The AFTER BOX for this section notes that the arrival of homo sapiens may have signaled the end of the Neanderthal Man.
Another outstanding feature of this book is that most all subtopic are cover in two facing pages which makes it much easier to grasp and understand. This book is packed full of wonderful color illustrations. This would make an ideal gift for almost any student in elementary, high school or college.
If you would like to see my last book review in the Search Box on Amazon type in Smithsonian's Earth. This is a wonderful book published by the Smithsonian Institute a few years ago but still may be on the market.