1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Somewhat contrived, American centric view of the world,
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This review is from: Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: From 1000 CE to the Present v. 2: A History of the World (Paperback)
I bought this to use on the Coursera MOOC, "History of the World from 1300AD", which was offered by Princeton. I found the course to be little more than a set of videos in which the lecturer presented the contents of the book, which was a very slow way of acquiring that information, so I dropped out and read the book instead.
The authors claim that the overriding theme of the history of the world over the last 700 years is increasing globalization. The book tries to tie every episode of world history into this idea. It's very contrived. They manage to construct the connections to globalization but completely overplay how important that was and try to turn minor aspects of world history into the most important thing that was happening in the world at that time. It's nonsense.
One of the most annoying and erroneous ideas the authors put forward is that the nation state came about because globalization created the conditions for it and that did not happen until the late 18th, early 19th century. I think Britain, France and Spain, to name but a few, would beg to differ with this point of view. They seem to think that Britain did not become a nation state until after the Act of Union with Scotland and only the current nations count as nation states. I do agree that America became a nation state during this period.
I also became very irritated by the number of times Britain was cited as having been evil and caused great harm, and given no credit for the good things it did.
The book does succeed in saying something about the history many areas of the world, but, of necessity, what it has to say is very superficial. It is a reasonable starting point for further reading but it's not very informative.
I was a bit shocked that this text book, written by professors at Princeton and designed to be taught at one of the world's leading universities, contained such idiot-level reviews and test at the end of each topic. They were at the level of, read 2 pages of text and answer yes or no to 10 questions that ask if you understood what you read. I don't know if this is the American way, but it would have been considered an insult to our intelligence when I studied O Level history at school.