Thursday, September 13, 2012

mini Review: War and World History

      War and World History by Jonathan P. Roth is a audio course of lectures from the Teaching Company. The San Jose State professor takes you from pre-history to modern times in friendly engaging lectures that make it seem like you are part of his college class. It's a little longer than most Great Courses at 4 parts and 48 lectures. But this covers a lot of ground giving both the high points of history and also looking at the detail of the curiosities and controversies.
      Most world histories that I have read seem like unrelated stories just thrown side by side and not coming together until we get to modern times. But this book ties everything together, giving a sense of the world as whole throughout history, showing how developments and technologies traveled between cultures and impacted them similarly or differently. The course examine the causes and consequences of both general trends and regional differences.
      I originally picked this up because I like the history of warfare in particular and , as the title suggests, this course uses war as a unifying theme. However, not only does this work look at how the progress of war and it's aftermath influence wider history, but it looks at how the stresses and progress of wider society influence wars' progress and contribute to the causes of war. The focus is broad enough that, while war is used as unifying perspective, a good general picture of history is given.

I really liked this course and would recommend it to anyone interested in timing their sense of world history together.

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