Keegan's Reviews > A People's History of the World

A People's History of the World by Chris Harman
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Sep 17, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: history
Read in January, 2012

So I glanced at reviews and am already not surprised to find out that he is looking at this from a Marxist perspective (just from reading the introduction "BEFORE CLASS"). Anyway, I know so little about most of history that I figure anything I read will be new and educational, so it's okay that it has obvious bias (though it's nice to know up front). I will probably take some notes here on what I manage to read because I have no memory.

1.) Introduction: "Before Class" -- Summary -- people haven't always been selfish and greedy. What is known about pre-literate hunter/gatherer societies is that they are often very egalitarian and generous.

2.) Chapter 1: The Neolithic 'Revolution' -- Summary -- about the transition to horticulture societies. a. People in some areas could be hunter/gatherers and still establish villages. b. Then they had to learn to cultivate the land when climate changed and supplies were depleted. c. The change in survival techniques led to higher birthrates, more warfare, a need for more organized governing board

--> thought this was an interesting line: "Prestige came not from individual consumption, but from the ability to help make up for the deficiencies of others."

3.) Chapter 2: The First Civilisations -- The "Urban Revolution" (in which cities arise) also the Copper and Bronze age. Developments include stunning architecture, greater warfare, greater development of farming/herding techniques, storehouses, literacy, mathematics/astronomy, higher development of class structures.

All right . . . not finished. Probably will never finish. I would love to learn my world history better, but I don't think this is the way it's going to work for me.
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01/07 marked as: read

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