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The New Atlas of World History: Global Events at a Glance.

The New Atlas of World History: Global Events at a Glance. John Haywood. Thames & Hudson. [pounds sterling]32.00. 252 pages. ISBN 978-0-500-25185-0. This unusual atlas is made up of 49 'political maps' organised chronologically. With a skilful use of maps, numerous charts and 433 illustrations (for which Thames & Hudson are so justly famous) the author presents history visually. He starts ca. 8,000 BC, the end of the last Ice Age, and caries on to 2010, seeing this period as one large trajectory in man's history, a trajectory that is often missed because of specialisation both in school and university. The aim is to show how certain changes occurred in various places, albeit in slightly different formats. To use a slang term, the book aims at giving readers 'the big picture'. If we take one example, the four pages devoted to 323 BC: across the first two is a map of the world showing the Indian civilisations in the Americas, the tribes that made up the empires of Rome and Alexander the Great, the agricultural divisions of Africa and the tribes that made up what is now China and Russia. The next two pages show timelines for the period 500 BC to 200 BC grouped into four strands: politics and economics, religion and philosophy, science and technology, and arts and architecture. This is a brave venture in compressing a great deal into a relatively small volume. Whilst it will have its critics (sometimes the charts can be rather jumbled) it will also have many admirers. (D.M.L.)
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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 1, 2012
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