Claire S's Reviews > Atlas of World History: Concise Edition

Atlas of World History by Patrick O'Brien
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I wanted something to accompany 'Dark Valley', something to add a little bit of map-content or visual of some kind, or alternately a different telling of the same content (always nice to have atleast two versions of anything). I saw this - heaven!

Each two-page spread is about some transition, period of time, or other concrete situation; and it goes from prehistoria to current. Certainly there are many choices built-in, and someone could differ with how they laid things out. But it seems to tie in well with 'Dark Valley'.

For instance, in Dark Valley, there is a section on Stalin and 1928-1933, and there is a two-page spread on exactly that. With one map showing who it was who fought against the Red Army (the White Army's generals, as well as foreign groups), where they started from and where they reached before they were stopped. Another map shows where in Europe other Communist groups existed for a while. Then, there's a great map about the industrialization that occurred, where each different kind of enterprise was situated, where the rail lines were put in. Also on that one is the different boundaries in different years during that period. Accompanying those three maps is text of the period, laying out with broad brush strokes the salient facts of the period. This book kinds of provides the pithy version, while 'Dark Valley' is more colorful, anecdotal, story-telling. Also there are different emphasis, this book doesn't emphasize nearly as much that the reason for the famine was Stalin actually taking the food away from the farmers. This one makes it seem more like it was a failure of farming structures.

So, exactly what I was looking for! Highly recommend for anyone interested in history/related subjects.

And it is *trying* to be not patriarchal, not biased, not from the point of view that White Europe = civilization; via inputs from the rest of the universe. But, of course, doesn't achieve a perspective fully separate from that, there are still blinders and all. Like on India, paraphrased: 'Although England brought many benefits to India, debate still continues on the overall legacy..' with no mention of the partition. etc..
But really does try to approach human activity from the onset of it to today, from an even-handedly global perspective. A great first go at it, for sure! Completely waylaid me tonite, was looking at Italy being in Somalia, then had to see before then, then before then.. fascinating.

Lots of skimming, in concert with 'The Dark Valley', highly recommend!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard Funny, but I've got an atlas somewhat like this; Rand-McNally's Atlas of World History — but yours is four times longer and hardcover (and ten years newer!). I'd pulled it out recently to see what it had on the wars over Scotland in the late middle ages, or on the War of the Roses. Nothing. I was quite disappointed. I suspect I need an Atlas of the World's Wars instead. Does yours have anything on those, or on Napoleon's drive to Moscow?

The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s looks very interesting.


Claire S Yes, 'Dark Valley' (and/or my ignorance about each instance covered prior to reading about it here) really takes my breath away. One of my favorite parts is that, whatever the subject is, he mentions the reactions of the writers, including some very well-known ones.
But yes, this book is great. The text falls far short, compared to DV especially, but it's not false so much as very very simplified. Like, about Turkey in the early 20's, it says 'brutally quelled Armenian nationalists sympathetic to the Greeks'. Umm, yeah, 'quelled' is one way to put it I guess.

On Napolean, there is a 2-page spread entitled: 'Revolutionary France and Napoleonic Europe 1789-1815'. One of the maps in this spread is '3 European Coalitions 1793-1815', which shows his progress through Europe to Vitebsk, Borodino and then Moscow in 1812 (dots), and lines showing the different areas within the various coalitions, and areas under french rule at different times.
On Scotland and the War of the Roses and all, they have a 2-page spread titled: 'Europe 1350-1500', and that has a map of the Hundred Years War and the text mentions Scotlands alliance-forming with the Valois and Castile, and that those links are part of what helped Scotland remain independent of England. Also there is a map about the Church during the Great Schism of 1378-1417, with the 2 Popes.
Also there is another 2-page spread titled 'France, Spain and England 900-1300.' Mentions how the Norman Conquest paradoxically made England stronger, and how it nearly conquered Scotland until the defeat at Bannockburn in 1314.
No entry for 'War of the Roses' specifically though.
Still, though, pretty great!



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