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This Fleeting World: A Short History of Humanity
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This Fleeting World: A Short History of Humanity

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  208 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
"I first became an avid student of David Christian by watching his course, Big History, on DVD, and so I am very happy to see his enlightening presentation of the world's history captured in these essays. I hope it will introduce a wider audience to this gifted scientist and teacher." --Bill Gates A great historian can make clear the connections between the first Homo sapi ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Berkshire Publishing Group LLC (first published June 1st 2007)
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Tim Chang
Dec 15, 2012 Tim Chang rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, history
picked this up on a whim -- perhaps at the TED conference? Quick, delightful "Cliff Notes on the Human Race up to now"

In the spirit of Cliff Notes encapsulation and compression of salient data, here were the notes I jotted down as I read. Pretty much a bullet point version of the book for handy reference that you can keep in Evernote or on your smartphone :)

-Universe appeared 13.7B years ago with Big Bang, starting smaller than an atom which exploded to create all base elements of universe today
Paul Cockeram
Aug 04, 2015 Paul Cockeram rated it it was ok
An attempt to tell the history of the world as a single story, in about ninety pages, is probably doomed from the start--the only question is, where does it fail? This text gives the best possible answer for a book seeking mass appeal: sacrifice the culture of prehistoric humans and stick to what is measurable.

There is no doubt that Christian knows history, and he's well acquainted with the important controversies and debates within his project. He explains the ethics of dividing world history i
Jul 07, 2013 Danny rated it it was amazing
Every Global 9 teacher should start their course by having their students read this short, fascinating book.
Erick Harper
Jul 30, 2013 Erick Harper rated it it was ok
Marketed as a fresh, new perspective on world history, especially for teachers. Unfortunately falls short of this promise; it's a thumbnail version of every World History class that has ever been taught. I should have been skeptical of an overview of human history weighing in at just over 100 pages in the first place. A few interesting debate questions/thought experiments, but overall too much emphasis on (and blatant speculation about) primitive/prehistoric foraging societies who I'm sure were ...more
Dec 25, 2010 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Awesome thought experiment seeking to broaden historical knowledge and bring peoples from around the world together under one historical trajectory as members of one race. Though this is an historical narrative beginning with the big bang and ending with globalization, it is a tiny book that sets up this universal history in three stages: pre-history, the invention of agriculture, and the industrial revolution. While there are problems with this framework, it is a useful way of introducing stude ...more
Ellie H
Apr 20, 2014 Ellie H rated it it was ok
This book was boring. Plus, I had to read it for school in the summer so I was pretty unmotivated to read it. Anyways, unless you're a history buff or need to read this for school, don't read it and waste your time.
A good bird's eye view of world history. Probably nice for introducing big ideas to students but very shallow across.
Aug 14, 2014 Ashley rated it liked it
I'M SO HAPPY I FINISHED THIS FINALLY. I've spent weeks reading and taking notes on this book, it's fascinating and all but a very very slow read especially when I have to take notes. I have 9 sheets of paper filled with notes (front and back). I'm just going to end the review with that statement.
Catherine Woodman
This is a slightly more than a 100-page story about the history of the world, giving a clear perspective on how insignificant man is in the history of the planet--but that we wield unnaturally important power, which may bring the whole show down. Wedll worth it even if you are not planning to take the AP World History exam.
Aug 20, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it
This is a good, short book that helps students put world history and thinking globally into a context that they can understand. It's a pretty good way to introduce the students to a different way of approaching history so that they understand that it's not just about dates and events and memorization.
Kirk Elifson
Dec 08, 2014 Kirk Elifson rated it really liked it
For a book of this length it's about all I can expect from a complete summary of humanity.
Jul 19, 2011 Hansini rated it really liked it
Had to read this book and fill out a study guide packet for A.P. world history. Found it very informative and helpful to get a general understanding on our world's history! :)
Jesse Ynclan
Jul 19, 2012 Jesse Ynclan rated it really liked it
Well written and provides an excellent overview for how to frame the reading of World History around thematic approaches.
Feb 02, 2009 Vicki rated it liked it
Well written and quite interesting.
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David Gilbert Christian is an Anglo-American historian and scholar of Russian history notable for creating and spearheading an interdisciplinary approach known as Big History. He grew up in Africa and in England, where he earned his B.A. from Oxford University, an M.A. in Russian history from the University of Western Ontario, and a Ph.D. in 19th century Russian history from Oxford University in 1 ...more
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