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The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-first Century (World Social Change)
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The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-first Century (World Social Change)

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  358 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
This clearly written and engrossing book presents a global narrative of the origins of the modern world from 1400 to the present. Unlike most studies, which assume that the "rise of the West" is the story of the coming of the modern world, this history, drawing upon new scholarship on Asia, Africa, and the New World, constructs a story in which those parts of the world pla ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 221 pages
Published July 27th 2006 by Rowman & Littlefield (first published February 18th 2002)
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Apr 07, 2008 Otilia rated it really liked it
My first question when I put it down was "Why didn't I have to read this in high school?" Clear, easy to read overview of often under-taught [or in US public schools, at least, taught from a perspective that leaves out a lot] parts of world history.
Dec 23, 2015 Mallory rated it it was ok
Shelves: required-to-read
His thesis, while definitely not Eurocentric, was definitely not individual-friendly. He proposes that the inventiveness of the individual had nothing to do with anything of the past 600 years. Really?
Sep 25, 2011 John rated it liked it
This book serves its purpose perfectly well, it just isn't something to really recommend as a read. This is for assigning to undergrads and grad students as the first reading in a world or global history class. Marks is attempting to get away from a Euro-centric model of recounting world history; he wants to re-orient world history to the...orient...sort of. He basically is arguing that the Indian Ocean world was the first place where all kinds of cultures came together to trade, and this is whe ...more
Alex Zakharov
Sep 22, 2015 Alex Zakharov rated it it was ok
It is hard being a historian and a justice crusader, you end up with tainted history and unmoved justice. Marks’ self-proclaimed goal is to provide a narrative for the development of the modern world (1400-1900) which is meant to ‘correct’ the Eurocentric view of history. Sadly he overshoots and instead paints an explicitly anti-Eurocentric view which suffers from the obverse set of biases relative to the ones he set out to correct. Luckily the book is pleasantly short and the sections where he ...more
Aug 28, 2008 Kaitlyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this for school during a period of three days- not cool. I t was hard to follow and only recommended if you have time to take it all in.
Tomás Engle
Oct 12, 2016 Tomás Engle rated it did not like it
Like re-reading a crap high school level world history textbook except with more Left-splaining that reach massively sweeping conclusions without any data.

If you want to read a book that pretends that ideas don't have consequences, credits the West's success to pure accident and has the bigotry of low expectations for the rest of the world, look no further.

However, if you want to read a decent Left-oriented history book (albeit about American history, not world history) I highly recommend Howard
Bryan Schwartz
Feb 10, 2013 Bryan Schwartz rated it it was ok
Shelves: misc-history
In the preface to his book, Robert Marks notes that he has “no intention of providing a balanced story, one that spends an equal amount of time (or ink) on anything and everything.” And, indeed, he doesn't. Though Marks is, unlike Geoffrey Parker, upfront in noting the limitations of his short survey, I am not convinced that this declaration afforded him the right to gloss over quite so much material as he does in his short history on the origins of the "modern world".

First, It seemed to me th
Elias Zuniga
Dec 19, 2015 Elias Zuniga rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This is a superb book about world history, but it doesn't read like a history book. It has 2 primary arguments: 1. Contrary to popular opinion, "the West" (Europe and the United States) didn't dominate world history until about the 1850's. In contrast, "common knowledge" casts Europe, especially Spain, England, and Portugal, (and later the United States) as hegemonic since at least the time of Columbus voyages, around 1500. Mr. Marks' argument is both convincing and approachable because he provi ...more
Al Anoud
Sep 14, 2016 Al Anoud rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ben Sweezy
Apr 15, 2009 Ben Sweezy rated it really liked it
Okay so I read this book again in 2009. The most obvious "review" sort of thing I can say is that it really trails off halfway through. When it gets into the 20th century the author ceases to offer anything new or interesting.

Otherwise, it still is pretty effective at getting its point across that China, India, and Europe all basically were at parity in 1700 and only began to diverge from there. He also really doesn't like the British.

I think some of his numbers may be a bit curious, including t
Jun 26, 2016 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you feel like you learned about the civil war 25 times in school but all you really know about Chinese history is what you learned from watching Mulan, you should read this book.

Marks is excellent at relating a complex and rather comprehensive global history of the last 500 years without making you feel like you're actually reading a text book. Global history is key here by the way; by including the dynamics between the many important players (such as China, India, the Islamic Empire) in the
Justin Taylor
Oct 12, 2015 Justin Taylor rated it it was ok
I think historian Robert Marks presented the context of modern civilization with a unique argument. The book entails details explaining the current explanation for Eurocentric influenced civilizations and empires. Then Robert Marks debunks most of those ideas and theories based on historical content exposing other civilizations as older and first advancers within a global context. Trading, Slavery, and China's powerful empires are the main focuses to support his argument. I enjoyed reading this ...more
Feb 13, 2016 Seth rated it really liked it
This is a concise but insightful and well articulated overview of major trends in human history and how they are tied to the natural world. He also sets out to establish a less Eurocentric view of the world. The first of these is a complete success, I am less convinced of his anti-eurocentric arguments based on my own historic knowledge/research. However, Marks' assertions are backed by the most recent historical and scientific research as evidenced by examining his quality endnotes. Thus, it ha ...more
Shahd Fadlalmoula
Apr 11, 2015 Shahd Fadlalmoula rated it really liked it
I thought this was a terrific account of the development of global systems as we know them today. A little ironic, given that Marks who is a Westerner himself, is criticizing the eurocentric narrative on account of the fact that it's always the White man who writes about the rest of the world.

Moreover, this book is a good guide to understanding why there's a huge gap between developed and developing nations. It's also refreshing to hear someone say look the West isn't always right, they haven't
Oct 26, 2013 Nima rated it it was amazing
This book offers the best brief overview of world history that I have read to date covering the period of the 1400s to now. It is an eye opener on the extent of peaceful trade and travel occurring for over 500 years in the Eurasian areas, and the development and reasons behind armed trade originating in Europe due to blocked trade routes to the spices in Asia. Reading this book has led me to a number of other good books on trade and travel throughout the Middle East and Asia from 700 through the ...more
Sofia Stenroos
It's an interesting book all right and it's good to get out of the Eurocentric view that he speaks of and see the global Picture instead. The only problem I have is the translation into Swedish. It really isn't THAT good to begin with and it has a lot of misspellings, Words that have their letters in the wrong order and such. The text also doesn't really add up structure wise, you can too often see the English grammar structures as opposed to the Swedish.

I regret that I didn't buy it in English
Dec 25, 2013 Jasmine rated it liked it
The title says it all on what the book's about, and it was a very interesting book, very well written. I really enjoyed reading this book (which is more than I can say about some of the other school books) as the author had a playful tone in his writing while still ramming in facts after facts.

Yeah, this book has been a saviour amongst the others.
Telly Ree
Apr 04, 2015 Telly Ree rated it it was amazing
Best history text I've read. Marks completely disregards the Eurocentric telling of world history by strictly focusing on contingency, conjuncture, and accidents. This books completely expels the myths of racial and culturally inferiority and superiority when it comes to the rise of Europe and America, and Western exceptionalism.
Jul 14, 2008 Wendy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historians
This book was irritating because he spends a lot of time talking about how the world would be different today if a number of coincidences would have not all come together in the 1400's to the 1800's. I agreed with him, but things happened the way they did so who cares?
Sep 19, 2011 Elliott rated it liked it
This book isn't that great for World history. It's short, takes a Eurocentric view most of the time, and isn't very detailed. You're better off getting a World history perspective and knowledge reading the McNeill's The Human Web.
Daniel Enström
Mar 06, 2016 Daniel Enström rated it it was amazing
Marks leaves eurocentrism and the idolising of the individual aside in a pluralistic overview of post 1400-history that's both short and compelling. He narrows it down to the essentials - the use (and misuse) of environment as the force that drive human history forward.
Jan 05, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. It is the first time that I was exposed to the whole world outlook on the coming of the modern age, something I have been needing for my next book. Prof. Marks is expert in China and has revealed more about the coming of the modern age than any other author I have read.
Aug 27, 2008 Kimberly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
it was somewhat interesting in the end, but i found i would get lost several times throughout the rest of the book
but this isn't my sort of book any way (school reading)
Ann Fathy
May 23, 2016 Ann Fathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book broadened my understanding of world history. I recommend it to others who only know what we learned in Western Civ.
Mar 05, 2015 Ilona rated it it was amazing
This is a great book if you want to learn history from a non Eurocentric point, easy to read and covers many points! Wish they made us read it in high school! I would highly recommend!
Feb 15, 2014 Maddy rated it really liked it
I good synthesis for a global historical context. I good read for undergraduates and those interested in world history.
Bram Hubbell
Aug 07, 2014 Bram Hubbell rated it it was amazing
A concise and engaging short summary of the last 600 years of world history that draws on lots of current and recent research.
Celine rated it it was ok
May 31, 2014
Travis L
Travis L rated it liked it
Apr 22, 2015
Winnie rated it it was amazing
Mar 17, 2012
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