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World History: Cultures, States, and Societies to 1500 by Eugene Berger, George L. Israel, Charlotte Miller, Brian Parkinson, Andrew Reeves, Nadejda Williams, University System of Georgia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

World History: Cultures, States, and Societies to 1500

Description: World History: Cultures, States, and Societies to 1500 offers a comprehensive introduction to the history of humankind from prehistory to 1500. Authored by six USG faculty members with advance degrees in History, this textbook offers up-to-date original scholarship. It covers such cultures, states, and societies as Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Israel, Dynastic Egypt, India’s Classical Age, the Dynasties of China, Archaic Greece, the Roman Empire, Islam, Medieval Africa, the Americas, and the Khanates of Central Asia. It includes 350 high-quality images and maps, chronologies, and learning questions to help guide student learning. Its digital nature allows students to follow links to applicable sources and videos, expanding their educational experience beyond the textbook.

July 5, 2018 | Updated: July 8, 2022
Author: Eugene Berger, George L. Israel, Charlotte Miller, Brian Parkinson, Andrew Reeves, Nadejda Williams, University System of Georgia

Subject Areas
Humanities, History

Original source
ung.edu

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Reviews (1) Avg: 4.6 / 5

Nanci Lucas

Institution:Capilano UniversityTitle/Position: InstructorCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

This text covers most geographical areas throughout the world to 1500 CE. The chapters are organized by region and chronology, and each chapter contains an extensive list of key terms, such as names of cities, rulers, and battles. These terms are bolded within the chapter text itself so that the student sees that it is a key term. There is no links to definitions; however, for unique terms, such as phalanx, there is a definition in the body of the sentence.

There is no index for this text.

At the end of each chapter, there is a list of works consulted and for further reading, plus links to primary sources.

There are a few areas that are under-represented, such as the ancient Persian Empire. It is only mentioned during the Greek chapter; however, the Persian Empire played an important role in the development and direction of the ancient world. As well, the Mediterranean and European world receive more space than other societies which reflects the importance of the continuous decolonization in the discipline of history.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

The maps, diagrams and links to other primary source material seem to be error-free and accurate. The maps are plentiful and much appreciated as this helps the student visualize where each society is located in comparison to others. The primary source links are good, and they contain a variety of different types of sources, such as art, writings and architecture. It is very beneficial to have a "one-stop" text for students instead of having to require students purchase a primary source reader.

The content itself is written clearly and effectively. The language used is not complicated and does not confuse the students with discipline specific jargon. The chapters are well organized and each chapter covers a clearly stated chronological period in that specific region. Each chapter begins with an introduction to the topic, a list of terms the students will encounter and a number of questions to guide the students as they read through the material. These questions aid the students know how to approach the information contained in the chapter.

Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

This text will continue to be relevant for the short-term and it does incorporate some of the more recent perspectives in history although more work can always be done. It is an overview text and instructors may wish to supplement material about specific topics, such as women in the Islamic world or the impact of climate changes on ancient Rome.

There will be future updates as more information becomes available in areas such as paleobiology and/or studies of ancient climate patterns and its impact on humans. This additional information may change how historians approach historical periods, such as the ancient world. These updates may require a more fulsome changes in some of the chapters, but the overall relevance of the text will remain.



Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

The text is clear and concise in its presentation. If an uncommon word or name is used, the authors define it in the text itself so students are not expected to search for the definitions themselves. Since this text is not filled with complex terms or difficult writing, it is easier for students who may not have sophisticated language skills. The writing mostly flows from one chapter which is a strength.

Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

The text's themes and framework is consistent and clear. The focus of each chapter is the same and this allows for students to compare and contrast the different societies the world. This allows for students to understand the consistency of human societal development, but understand how each region developed its own unique cultural and societal norms. This is a strength of this text as some texts with multiple authors are not.

Consistency Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

Each chapter is divided into small reading sections and sub-sections that are clearly presented. This makes it easy to assign particular sections from multiple chapters if needed. Although I have not done this yet, it seems that assigning various sub-sections from multiple chapters in a particular unit would be simple to do.

Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

The topics are consistent and are presented is a clear, chronological format. Each chapter gives the students a logical overview of that particular region and time. There is a overall lack of depth of cultural and social aspects, but this is to be expected in a text such as this.

Organization Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

The text is well organized and doesn't have navigation problems. For the most part, the images are clear although there are a few maps that are a little blurry. The images of various art pieces, whether paintings or sculptures, are clear. The html and the pdf versions of the text have no interface issues.

Interface Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

The text contains no grammatical or spelling errors that I could see. This is a plus.

Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

This is one area that the text could be better. Understandably, this is a general textbook and there is no way it could cover all aspects of the ancient and medieval world. It does not include insensitive or offensive language and is aware this, especially in the chapter on Africa. It does include an exploration of different religions and cultures without being overtly biased. However, it really doesn't touch upon social or cultural history in an depth. For instance, the chapter on Islam is a list of different caliphates without much detail on any of them. It reminded me of having to memorize a list of kings and queens without any real explanation. Again, this is hard to do in a general text and any instructor could add more supplemental material to illustrate these themes in greater detail. I would not reject this text based on its lack of detail as historians focus on different aspects of the past.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

I recommend this text for any lower-level survey world history course. I have used it for multiple years and students find the material easy to follow and read. It is well organized and written well. And even though it still focused on the Mediterranean and European world, it does include information and distinct chapters on other histories of non-European societies. The text gives a good, strong foundation for further study.