Synopses & Reviews
An introduction to a new way of looking at history, from a perspective that stretches from the beginning of time to the present day, Maps of Time is world history on an unprecedented scale. Beginning with the Big Bang, David Christian views the interaction of the natural world with the more recent arrivals in flora and fauna, including human beings. Cosmology, geology, archeology, and population and environmental studies, all figure in David Christian's account, which is an ambitious overview of the emerging field of Big History. Maps of Time opens with the origins of the universe, the stars and the galaxies, the sun and the solar system, including the earth, and conducts readers through the evolution of the planet before human habitation. It surveys the development of human society from the Paleolithic era through the transition to agriculture, the emergence of cities and states, and the birth of the modern, industrial period right up to intimations of possible futures. Sweeping in scope, finely focused in its minute detail, this riveting account of the known world, from the inception of space-time to the prospects of global warming, lays the groundwork for world history (and Big History) true as never before to its name.
"You've all seen the poster of the milky way galaxy with an arrow to a point about halfway out from the center and the caption, and#145;You are here.and#8217; This book is like that only more so. It locates the human experience in the entirety of space-time."and#151;Alfred Crosby, author of Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900
About the Author
David Christian is Professor in the Department of History at San Diego State University. He is the author of Living Water: Vodka and Russian Society on the Eve of Emancipation (1990), Imperial and Soviet Russia: Power, Privilege and the Challenge of Modernity (1997), and A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia: Volume 1: Inner Eurasia from Prehistory to the Mongol Empire (1998).
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Introduction: A Modern Creation Myth?
PART I. THE INANIMATE UNIVERSE
1. The First 300,000 Years: Origins of the Universe, Time, and Space
2. Origins of the Galaxies and Stars: The Beginnings of Complexity
3. Origins and History of the Earth
PART II. LIFE ON EARTH
4. The Origins of Life and the Theory of Evolution
5. The Evolution of Life and the Biosphere
PART III. EARLY HUMAN HISTORY: MANY WORLDS
6. The Evolution of Humans
7. The Beginnings of Human History
PART IV. THE HOLOCENE: FEW WORLDS
8. Intensification and the Origins of Agriculture
9. From Power over Nature to Power over People:
Cities, States, and "Civilizations"
10. Long Trends in the Era of Agrarian "Civilizations"
PART V. THE MODERN ERA: ONE WORLD
11. Approaching Modernity
12. Globalization, Commercialization, and Innovation
13. Birth of the Modern World
14. The Great Acceleration of the Twentieth Century
PART VI. PERSPECTIVES ON THE FUTURE
Appendix 1. Dating Techniques, Chronologies, and Timelines
Appendix 2. Chaos and Order