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Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History Paperback – Oct 3 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition, With a New Preface edition (Oct. 3 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520271440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520271449
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 885 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #87,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

"You've all seen the poster of the milky way galaxy with an arrow to a point about halfway out from the center and the caption, ‘You are here.’ This book is like that only more so. It locates the human experience in the entirety of space-time."—Alfred Crosby, author of Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900

About the Author

David Christian is Professor in the Department of History at San Diego State University. He is the author of Living Water: Vodka and Russian Society on the Eve of Emancipation (1990), Imperial and Soviet Russia: Power, Privilege and the Challenge of Modernity (1997), and A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia: Volume 1: Inner Eurasia from Prehistory to the Mongol Empire (1998).

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews

By Mike Collins on Feb. 15 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Starts off quite fascinating but tends to drag on about 2/3 of the way through. Initially you'll be struggling to put it down but by the end you'll be struggling to pick it up. Overall quite an informative treatment of a very ambitious subject though. A high level history of everything from the big bang up to predictions about the possible future is almost by definition a large scale topic. If you can wade through some of the dull parts, you'll come away glad you read it. Because of its immense scope, there is probably something new and interesting for almost all readers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 26 reviews
86 of 93 people found the following review helpful
Re: the 2011 edition, a mild Caveat Emptor April 23 2012
By Working Woman - Published on
Format: Paperback
I bought the prior 2004 edition some time ago, and finally got around to reading it, only to recognize that since the book was initially published, while many of the basic outlines of "big history events" such as theories regarding the origins of the Universe haven't changed, some of the details have. This is due to research conducted in the interim, as for example, in relation to findings from the Hubble telescope. I therefore considered buying the 2011 version, instead of trolling through the 2004. But careful scrutiny of the 2011 edition revealed that the 2011 version is in essence a re-issue, rather than the kind of thorough-going revision that I was hoping for. The author essentially admits this in the Preface when he notes that just 3 areas were revised, one of which has to do with the development of the academic field of Big History. I'm sure the latter will be of interest to some readers, but probably not to the run-of-the-mill lay reader. A look through the reference list at the end of the book confirms that this is essentially a re-issue--many of the references date from the mid-1990s into the early 2000's, but not beyond. I'm therefore recommending that if interested, readers should buy the initial edition, which I'm sure is now probably a little less expensive than this one. And with regard to the 2004 edition, I have started reading it, but will be reading other books besides to address some of the points where it is a bit out-dated or where more details would be helpful.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A very important book on Big History July 13 2013
By Edwin Relf - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of the most important books I've read in 65 years of life. It covers history from the Big Bang and goes on to when the universe will fade away as the physicists predict. Of course the most complex part of the book is the genesis of life with particular focus on the brief span we homo sapiens sapiens have been around and interpreted the goings on from beginning to end. It leaves us with a question on the role we are playing in altering the biosphere.

I found this book a delight to read and have alongside one a laptop so that salient points of history, anthropology, science could be explored further. Christian is an historian though he has pulled enormous amounts of information from academic disciplines to elaborate and illustrate his text. The footnoting is extensive.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Something to think about on every page May 2 2012
By West End Al - Published on
Format: Paperback
Prof. Christian points out that making predictions is tricky, especially if they're about the future; but even some "postdictions" (explanations about the past) can be overtaken by events, and shown to be wrong. Short of a book being in perpetual revision, that's unavoidable. Nonetheless, this is an amazingly stimulating read, which will compel any reader to re-examine and revise his or her view of how the universe works. This stab at a Unified Field Theory of History may land somewhat wide of the bull's eye, but it's mostly right on target.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
At Last June 2 2013
By raymond Obermayr - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the kind of history we have needed for ages. I will keep it beside my reading chair forever. I find something new every time I open it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I am a fan of this approach to history teaching. May 30 2014
By D. A. Weaver - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It gets five stars because I find it an intelligent yet approachable and consumable view of the very enormous picture that is Big History. As a humanities teacher, I incorporate the Big History Project into my curriculum. This book is a fine summary of what Big History is. I especially appreciated how engaging an readable this book was.