Author: Peter N. Stearns (Editor)
Tag: History and Military
Posted on 2007-06-24, updated at 2007-11-06. By anonymous.
- Author: Peter N. Stearns (Editor)
Renowned historian Peter N. Stearns and thirty prominent historians have combined their expertise over the past ten years to perfect this comprehensive chronology of more than 20,000 entries that span the millennia from prehistoric times to the year 2000.
The "Langer Encyclopedia," as the professional academics call The Encyclopedia of World History originally edited by the late William L. Langer, is basically a history of everything--and an outstanding reference volume. Want to know why the English called their 10th-century king Ethelred "the Unready"? See page 181. Or what the Ottoman Empire's constitution of 1876 said? See page 531. Or when women in Honduras got the vote? See page 955. This sixth edition, completely updated and revised by a team of scholars led by George Mason University's Peter N. Stearns, packs all it can into a year-by-year and region-by-region chronicle of human life on planet Earth. The book is big, the type is small, and the maps and genealogical tables are excellent. Stearns has added more material on women, leisure activities, and demographics to this edition, and the sections on Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Latin America are much different from the previous version. As if this weren't enough, the book comes with a CD-ROM featuring the complete text and fantastic search capabilities. The Encyclopedia of World History is highly recommended for serious history buffs. --John Miller
Stearns is provost and professor of history at George Mason University and editor of Encyclopedia of European Social History [RBB My 15 01], among other works. His present effort is a major revision of a classic reference book edited by William Langer that has been around since 1883. The monograph was last published in 1972, so it was in substantial need of revision. This task has taken Stearns and a panel of prominent scholars 10 years to complete.
This book is intended for students, scholars, and amateur historians. It contains more than 20,000 entries covering prehistory through the year 2000. Examples of the currency of this work are the coverage on the 2000 presidential elections and the attack on the USS Cole. Coverage of Western European history has been reduced to make way for additional material on Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In addition, coverage of traditional historical fields like national histories has been updated, and new historical fields such as women's history, social and cultural history, technology, and international government have been added.
Content is divided into broad time periods, from "Prehistoric" to "Contemporary." Each section starts off with a global survey. This is followed by regional divisions within which individual countries or cultures are treated. By and large, information for each region and country is presented chronologically, although there are also some narrative overviews. The extensive table of contents and index are essential tools for finding one's way. Appropriately placed throughout the text are 57 black-and-white maps and 66 genealogy tables of monarchies. The volume comes with a CD-ROM version that installs easily and is very user-friendly. Maps on the CD-ROM are in color, unlike those in the book.
Other recent single-volume world history reference tools are Facts On File's Encyclopedia of World History (2000) and Oxford's Encyclopedia of World History (1998). Both are arranged in A-Z format, and because of its largely chronological organization, the latest Encyclopedia of World History complements rather than competes with them. It would be a useful reference for high-school, public, and academic libraries. RBB
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