Dk historical atlas of the world
World History Atlas by Jeremy BlackWow! This is quite a read, I must say! 287 pages of world history presented through maps, pictures and grids. DK has attempted the impossible and almost succeeded brilliantly, if it were not for Professor Jeremy Blacks worldview, which colors the book.
Let me begin by saying that the book is a visual and intellectual treat, inspite of my 3-star rating, and I will explain the reason for that later. It gives perspective-albeit a European one- to events in world history, which help make sense of most world events today. This was an engaging read, inspite of the breadth and scope of its contents, and thats no mean feat.
Now I will explain my rating, based on the shortcomings of this book, which I hope the publisher will note.
In the past few weeks I have consumed a few books on world history, and this was supposed to be the icing on the cake, with its visual presentation. It did serve that purpose, I will concede, and even added to what I had read, but I have some serious reservations about the writing. Having read five western tomes on world history, published by major publishing houses, I have developed an inkling of the prism from which world history is viewed and penned.
That prism is the Bible, which shines most brilliantly in this book.
If you follow the areas/periods of world history that find space in the first section of global history in this book, you will see a strong Biblical leaning. As Christianity morphed into conflicting and even debilitating patterns, so did world history from the perspective of Black (editor). Hence this book in its first hundred or so pages devoted to world history, covers ancient Biblical lands, which is followed by the Graeco-Roman world, which changed Christianity instead of Christianity changing it. Then the book grudgingly gives space to Islams advent in west Asia, and finally it reconnects Europe to world history by its resurgence on the world stage. So essentially, we are tracing a Biblical-Aryan-Graeco-Roman timeline in this book, where other civilizations/races are important only to the extent that they touched the latters world.
Islams far reaching impact upon the world is almost completely overlooked, if not for brief intermittent mention, which takes away the totality of its impact. The impact of the crusades with the Muslims, which forever changed a fuedal Europe stuck in the dark ages, is completely overlooked. Islams scientific contributions from Chemistry to Algebra to cartography to medicine to engineering to Physics to aviation, are ignored. Ptolemys map, we are told, was used till the 16th century. Abu-Idrees (latinised name, Dresses) presented a globe with a world map to King Roger of Sicily in the 1100s, is a fact well known by historians. Spain could never become a maritime empire without its Muslim past. The very first European Universities could not open in Cambridge and Paris, without following the model of the worlds first degree granting universities in Morocco and Egypt, by the Fatimid rulers, more than a century earlier.
I will not not go into further detail about Muslim contributions, because this review covers a far greater scope. But this glaring omission, shows intellectual dishonesty.
Blacks treatment of colonialism in the sections of regional history, is politically incorrect in the extreme. Being British, he has presented British colonialism in India, as a boon, when its a bane that has implications that debilitate growth even today. Mughal India was culturally, financially and religiously richer than Europe. Blacks claim that the British built canals to improve agriculture, is false. The British destroyed the Mughal irrigation systems to artificially create food shortages and hunger; hungry masses do not revolt. Blacks claim that the British modernized India with railways and industry is also equally invalid. All British construction was aimed at exploitation and extraction, even if it meant committing brutal acts. After the fall of Bengal in 1799, Indias richest state, the British adopted economic policies which created unemployment for thousands of superbly skilled textile artisans, so that the inferior textile industry of Britain could flourish. And the list goes on.
Regional history in this book focuses mainly on the political, with strong pro-capitalist leanings. No mention is made of the anti-globalization movements or of the threats to the planet.
Still a worthwhile read, in the absence of an equally comprehensive alternative work.
History of the World Map by Map
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With its multicultural orientation and dazzling maps, photos, and artworks, the DK Atlas of World History is the first truly global chronicle of humankind's experience on Earth. Remote-sensed data and digital cartography provide the most accurate mapping ever used in a historical atlas. Every map is enhanced by photographs, artworks, diagrams, timelines, and expertly researched and clearly written annotations and text. Produced in consultation with a team of over 30 academic historians, geographers, and cartographers, the atlas uses a two-tier approach: Part One-the Eras of World History-presents a global overview of the last 60, years, while Part Two-Regional Histories-focuses on specific geocultural areas, including coverage of places and peoples often ignored by more traditional atlases. All these elements combine to create a historical atlas that is a joy to explore, easy to use, and unmatched in its breadth and depth of information.
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