Top Books/Videos for SHANANNAREEFERS

(updated December 4, 2009)

Seekers Humanists Atheists Naturalists
Agnostics Nonreligionists Nontheists Antireligionists
Realists Educationalists Experimentalists Freethinkers
nlightened Rationalists Secularists

- - - Books Added on December 4, 2009 - - -

Preface -- For further books/videos on History, see Top Books/Videos (Religion History)

060. History : The Definitive Visual Guide, by Adam Hart-Davis
"... Homo sapiens have remained the same species,
largely unchanged in genetic makeup and anatomy
since the Cro-Magnon era. By contrast, the cultural,
social, and technological changes since then have
been nothing less than extraordinary. At the core
of this development is the ability of humans to store
and transmit knowledge, so that each new genera-
tion stands upon the shoulders of its predecessors.
This ability to use what has gone before is what sets
humans apart.

Telling our story, from prehistory to the present day,
DK's History is a thought-provoking journey, revea-
ling the common threads and forces that have shaped
human history. Taking a broad-themed approach,
acknowledging varied factors at work, from climate,
ecology, disease, and geology and their roles in the
human story, this visual celebration makes history
accessible and relevant, putting events in their wider
context and showing how they have shaped the world
we live in. ..."

Some sample pages (PDF files):

Renaissance and Reformation (1450-1750), 1 of 2
Renaissance and Reformation (1450-1750), 2 of 2
Isabella of Castile
Voyages of Discovery

059. The Encyclopedia of World History : Ancient,
Medieval and Modern - Chronologically Arranged,
by Peter N. Stearns (general editor, 2000),
William L. Langer (original editor, 1883)
"... Stearns is provost and professor of history at
George Mason University ... His present effort is
a major revision of a classic reference book edited
by William Langer that has been around since 1883.

The monograph was last published in 1972, so it
was in substantial need of revision. This task has
taken Stearns and a panel of prominent scholars
10 years to complete.

This book ... contains more than 20,000 entries
covering prehistory through the year 2000. ...

Content is divided into broad time periods, from
'Prehistoric' to 'Contemporary.' Each section
starts off with a global survey. This is followed
by regional divisions within which individual
countries or cultures are treated. By and large,
information for each region and country is pre-
sented chronologically, although there are also
some narrative overviews.

The extensive table of contents and index are
essential tools for finding one's way. Appro-
priately placed throughout the text are 57 black-
and-white maps and 66 genealogy tables of
monarchies. The volume comes with a CD-ROM
version that installs easily and is very user-friendly.
Maps on the CD-ROM are in color, unlike those
in the book. ..."

058. The World's Bloodiest History : Massacre,
Genocide, and the Scars They Left on Civilization,
by Joseph Cummins
"... In a somber survey leavened by sparse but inspir-
ing accounts of heroism, author Joseph Cummins re-
visits some of the most dreadful and destructive acts
of violence in history — from moments of sheer mad-
ness and merciless military offensives, such as that of
the Spanish conquistadors in 1521 in what is now
Mexico City, to clinically orchestrated campaigns of
genocide, as took place in early twentieth-century
Armenia, Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, and 1970s

Engaging, harrowing, and enlightening, his accounts
convey the terror and trauma of these incidents while identifying the zealotry, prejudices, and animosities
that fueled them, and analyzing, in revealing fashion,
their enduring and sometimes insidious influence on

Handsomely illustrated with more than 100 striking, sometimes shocking, archival images gathered from
around the world, The World’s Bloodiest History
combines compelling depictions of momentous events
with fascinating character portraits and arresting eye-
witness accounts to create an absorbing, multifaceted
chronicle of a sobering, all-too-human legacy. ..."

057. Science and Technology in World History : An Introduction,
by James E. McClellan III, Harold Dorn
From the back cover

"... a survey that does not present the historical devel-
opment of science simply as a Western phenomenon
but as the result of wide-ranging human curiosity about
nature and attempts to harness its powers in order to
serve human needs. ..."

056. The Scientists : A History of Science Told
Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors,
by John Gribbin, Adam Hook (illustrator)
"... a rollicking and intellectually absorbing ride through
the last 500 years of Western science. A British astro-
physicist and the prolific author of many other books
on science, Gribbin focuses heavily in this work on the
physical sciences, but the great moments in biology,
geology and chemistry are well covered.

'My choice of events to highlight is necessarily incom-
plete,' he admits, 'but my aim is to give a feel for the
full sweep of science, which has taken us from the
realization that the Earth is not at the center of the
Universe and that human beings are 'only' animals, to
the theory of the Big Bang and a complete map of the
human genome.' ...

Gribbin's work offers general audiences an engaging
and informative view of modern science's prodigious
accomplishments since the Renaissance. ..."

055. The Cartoon History of the Modern World
Part 2 : From the Bastille to Baghdad,
by Larry Gonick
"... here is the extraordinary story of the modern
world, from the French Revolution to today.

More than thirty years ago, master cartoonist and
historian Larry Gonick began the epic task of cre-
ating a smart, accurate, and entertaining illustrated
history of the world. In this, the fifth and final book
of this ... critically acclaimed series, Gonick finally
brings us up to the modern day.

The Cartoon History of the Modern World, Part II
picks up at the Enlightenment; continues through two
and a half centuries of revolution, social and econo-
mic innovation, nationalism, colonialism, scientific
progress, and the abolition of slavery; and concludes
in the early twenty-first century with the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan.

Essentially a college-level course in modern world
history, with equal attention given to every area of
the globe, Gonick's witty and engaging pages bring
the past to life and put a brilliant new spin on our
world. Whether you are a longtime fan or a first-
time reader, this thrilling conclusion of our civiliza-
tion's monumental story is not to be missed! ..."

054. The Cartoon History of the Modern World
Part 1 : From Columbus to the U.S. Constitution,
by Larry Gonick
"... Picking up where his most celebrated work, the
multivolume Cartoon History of the Universe, left off,
Gonick has now undertaken to cover the modern
world. Though Europe is his focus, Gonick commen-
dably devotes considerable attention and empathy to
the native peoples of India and the Americas.

He irreverently undercuts commonly accepted histor-
ical myths: for example, Gonick persuasively and humor-
ously depicts Columbus as utterly hapless in dealing
with other people, whether native Americans or his
own crew.

He also presents serious themes, tracing a history of
religious intolerance and amoral quests for power and
wealth, repeatedly resulting in mass slaughters.

Gonick points to visionaries who saw beyond the
prejudices of their times, focusing particularly on the
Dutch Republic as a forerunner of American liberty.

... Readers will be impressed by the scope of Gonick's
research, covering subjects from Shakespeare, Galileo
and Machiavelli to the Reformation and the American
Revolution. ..."

053. The Cartoon History of the Universe III : From
the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance, by Larry Gonick
"... This third installment begins in the year 395, with
the closing of Europe's pagan temples, and ends in
1492, with Columbus and crew setting sail. Readers
get an overview of nearly everything that occurred
between those two events, from the origins of Islam
to the great Chinese dynasties and the Crusades,
with 'flashbacks' to the rise of African culture, the
Turco-Mongol tribes and more.

Gonick's take on history is whip-smart, skeptical
about familiar but questionable stories and absolutely
in command of dozens of simultaneous historical
threads. He's also very funny, even at his most
respectful. (In the chapter on the life of Muhammad,
for instance, he makes a running joke of keeping the
prophet permanently off-panel.)

Gonick is fond of wacky little digressions, and the
book includes plenty of learned slapstick (one on-
going gag concerns the 'amazing amount of eye-
gouging' in Byzantine history).  ..."

052. Battle : A Visual Journey Through 5,000 Years
of Combat, by R.G. Grant
"... the most complete military history reference book
on the market.

This amazing text contains short essays about famous/
infamous military leaders, summaries about particular
battles throughout mankind's history (each complete
with a map, approximate date of the battle, who par-
ticipated in the battle, a short description of the whys
of the incident, and in some cases an estimate of the
number of casualties), and includes features that
examine changes/ differences in military strategy and
technology between various cultures and time periods
from the ancient world to the current situation in Iraq.

There are also some impressive illustrations showing
military artifacts and details of some of the most inter-
esting aspects of military technology. ..."

051. Life - World War II : History's Greatest
Conflict in Pictures, by Richard B. Stolley
"... In a totally thorough, yet fresh look at the most
important global event of the 20th century, bestsel-
ling journalist Richard B. Stolley takes you on a
journey from the escalating tensions of pre-World
War II Europe to the creation of the atomic bomb.

This dense and fast-paced 'history in pictures' flows
chronologically, beginning with the prelude to the
war, and ending with the conflict’s aftermath. Classic
images from the LIFE archives, such as the moments
just before and after that unforgettable kiss captured
by Eisenstaedt in Times Square, as well as rare gov-
ernment photos recently released from other countries,
such as chilling color photographs of Hitler taken by
his personal photographer, make this volume a pic-
ture history of unparalleled depth and power.

LIFE: WORLD WAR II also includes essays from
leading luminaries in the fields of military experience
and history, including John Eisenhower, John Keegan,
and Alistair Horne, and profiles of major leaders as
well as little-known heroes, which bring the face of
courage into sharp focus. ..."

050. Fire and Fury : The Allied Bombing
of Germany, 1942-1945, by Randall Hansen
"... During the Second World War, Allied air forces
dropped nearly two million tons of bombs on Ger-
many, destroying some 60 cities, killing more than
half a million German citizens, and leaving 80,000
pilots dead. But the terrible truth is that much of
the bombing was carried out against the expressed
demands of the Allied military leadership, leading
to the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of

Focusing on the crucial period from 1942 to 1945,
Fire and Fury tells the story of the American and
British bombing campaign through the eyes of those
involved: the military and civilian command in Amer-
ica, Britain, and Germany, the aircrews in the skies
who carried out their orders, and civilians on the
ground who felt the fury of the Allied attacks. ..."

049. The Historical Atlas of World War II, by John Pimlott
"... The Second World War was the largest event
in human history. During its course an estimated fifty
million people perished, and even today the scale
of the mobilization it generated -- involving human,
financial, and industrial resources -- is almost un-
imaginable. Millions across the globe fled war zones
to be replaced by soldiers of all creeds and back-

The recent opening of archives in Washington, Lon-
don, and Moscow has thrown new light on certain
events of the war -- revealing, for example, just
how close the Allies came to defeat in 1942 when
the Axis armies were in ascendancy everywhere.

Equally amazing was the growth of economic activity.
The U.S. economy alone grew by 50 percent in five
years, producing millions of weapons: an aircraft
carrier every two weeks, a tank every forty minutes,
a rifle every twenty-four seconds.

Between September 1939 and September 1945 the
world changed completely and forever. The techno-
logical revolution, which effected the progression
from 200 mph aircraft used to defend Warsaw to
the nuclear bomber sent to obliterate Hiroshima,
was matched by the political upheaval. Ancient
empires collapsed and were replaced by super-
powers that would dominate the world for more
than forty years. The legacy of the Second World
is still with us today.

The Historical Atlas of World War II chronicles
both the major and minor campaigns of the war in
Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the
Pacific. It also provides the political, economic,
and social background needed for a full under-
standing of the war.

Consisting of more than one hundred specially
commissioned full-color maps providing even
greater detail, more than one hundred captioned
color and black-and-white photographs, and an
authoritative text by two leading military historians,
this atlas is destined to become the definitive his-
torical reference of the twentieth century's most
tumultuous event. ..."

048. The Second World War : A Complete History,
by Martin Gilbert

From the back cover:

"... It began with the German invasion of Poland on
September 1, 1939. By the time it came to an end
on V-J Day August 14, 1945—  it had involved
every major power and become global in its reach.

In the final accounting, it would turn out to be, in
both human terms and material resources, the cost-
liest war in history

047. Antisemitism, Christian Ambivalence,
and the Holocaust, by Kevin P. Spicer (editor)
"... The twelve essays comprising this volume origin-
ated with a two-week workshop sponsored by the
Center for Advanced Historical Studies at the United
States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington
DC. One of the book's chief aims, according to edi-
tor Kevin P. Spicer, is to challenge the 'strict but mis-
leading separation between Nazi 'racial antisemitism'
and 'Christian antisemitism' ...

The contributors specifically address the role of anti-
Semitism in the Christian response to Nazism, chronic-
ling multiple points of overlap between Christian and
Nazi antisemitism. ... the book's first section addresses
theological antisemitism ... a variety of expressions of
antisemitism by priests, theologians, and other promin-
ent religious figures in Denmark, Poland, Germany,
and France.

Ultimately, these authors show, Christian theology
informed Nazi antisemitism in myriad ways that
blended with national sentiment, and those bold
Christian thinkers who sought to use their theology
to resist Nazi anti-Jewishness found themselves
bereft of the doctrinal tools to do so. ... even Den-
mark's Lutheran clergy, who played a key role in
the remarkable rescue of thousands of Danish Jews
to Sweden in October 1943, were not free of anti-

... Christian thinkers in Poland and Germany deliber-
ately misinterpreted Jewish texts, held fast to super-
sessionism (the idea that Christians replaced Jews
in God's plan for salvation), maintained precritical
interpretations of the Bible, and rejected the concept
of religious freedom -- positions that enabled the
rapid spread of Nazi antisemitism. ...

"If those who sought to use Christian principles to
resist Nazi antisemitism in the 1930s and 40s had
difficulty doing so because of Christianity's inherent
anti-Jewishness, it should come as no surprise that
right-wing Catholic and Orthodox clergy were able
to place antisemitism at the very center of their reli-
gious view of the world. ...

Spicer, who recently published a separate full-length
study of 'brown priests' -- enthusiastic clerical pro-
moters of the Adolf Hitler regime -- (HITLER'S
PRIESTS: Catholic Clergy and National Socialism
), finds that 'the same antisemitism that is
usually regarded as a function of racialism was for
many Nazis conceived within a Christian frame of
reference' (p. 304).

This final disquieting essay of the volume, in conclud-
ing that antisemitism was for key Nazi figures a func-
tion of Christianity rather than racialism, reveals the
least ambivalence concerning the relationship between Christian and Nazi antisemitism -- for Steigmann-Gall's
subjects, Nazi antisemitism was forged within a Chris-
tian matrix. ..."

The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity [2004]

046. Night, by Elie Wiesel
"... Night, by Ellie Wiesel, explains his real life in
the Concentration Camps during World War II.
His family and friends who were originally from
Hungary were Jewish and were forced into starving,
suffering, and mistreatment by the German leader,
Adolph Hitler.

The Nazi death camp's horror turns this young boy
into the agonized witness to his family's murder, and
destroys his faith in God. This book awakens the
shocking memory of evil at its absolute worst and
carries with it the unforgettable message that this
horror must never be allowed to happen again.

The autobiographical nature of this book helps the
readers identify with all the suffering and mistreat-
ment that many innocent people had to witness
and go through. Ellie Wiesel makes the scenes so
real that any reader can feel like they were living
in the horrible and terrifying events.

The scenes are so vivid that the words can picture
the Jews during the mistreatment of the Holocaust.
Wiesel has described a painful journey through the
darkness, through the false dawns and false days,
until there are hints that tiny shafts of light can pierce
the seemingly unending nights. ..."

045. The Encyclopedia of World War II : A Political,
Social, and Military History (5 volume set),
by Spencer C. Tucker (editor)
"... 1,465 alphabetically arranged articles provide an
international perspective on people; key battles, cam-
paigns, and events; military equipment and strategy;
countries; and other relevant topics. ...

Throughout, the contributors provide equal treatment
of both Allied and Axis powers. For example, the
article Propaganda not only covers propaganda pro-
grams in the Axis countries but also propaganda in
Britain, the Soviet Union, and the U.S. ...

... Text is complemented by 395 black-and-white
photographs and 19 tables. Volumes 1 through 4
each provide a complete alphabetical list of all entry
titles and an 18-page map section. An additional
55 maps accompany relevant articles. Volume 4
includes a 10-page chronology, a 10-page glossary
(mostly abbreviations), a 25-page bibliography (not
annotated), and a list of the 248 contributors, most
of whom are U.S. academics.

Volume 5, edited by Priscilla Roberts (University
of Hong Kong), provides the full text of 238 docu-
ments arranged chronologically, beginning with an
excerpt from Hitler's Mein Kampf (1924) and end-
ing with a 1949 document on Soviet espionage dur-
ing World War II. Volume 5 also contains a cumula-
tive index.

Additional features include 13 sidebar articles on
controversial issues and turning points in the war
(e.g., 'A Turning Point? Battle of Stalingrad'). ..."

044. The Encyclopedia of World War I : A Political,
Social, and Military History (5 volume set),
by Spencer C. Tucker (editor)
"... Although often overshadowed by World War II
in world history, the Great War set the stage not only
for the Second World War but for virtually all of the
major ethnic and political conflicts that have taken
place since then. In 1,200 alphabetical entries cover-
ing major personalities, events, treaties, and socio-
political issues of the time, this set purports to become
'the definitive reference on a struggle whose after-
shocks are still being felt.'

... The volumes contain numerous black-and-white
photographs that clearly have been carefully chosen.

... Volumes 1-4 each begins with a table of contents
for the set and the same collection of 16 maps. Vol-
ume 4 also contains a list of Medal of Honor and
Victoria Cross recipients, a chart of army and navy
ranks, a chronology, a glossary, and a bibliography.

Besides containing the index, the fifth volume is de-
voted to primary documents, beginning with the
Treaty of London in 1839 and concluding with a
poem by Robert Graves written in 1938 recalling
his war experience. In between are pieces like an
excerpt from Hitler's Mein Kampf; Ho Chi Minh's
declaration 'The Rightful Demands of the Vietnamese
People,' submitted to the Paris Peace Conference in
1919; and the text of a German propaganda flyer ...
This encyclopedia clearly shows how World War I
is the hub of modern world history and culture. ..."

043. The Historical Atlas of World War I, by Anthony Livesey
"... military historian Livesey ... consulting with H.P.
Willmott of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst,
England, has produced an atlas primarily of battle
maps in color with commentary and time lines ar-
ranged in chronological order. ...

... divided into five major parts, each having an intro-
ductory essay, as well as text explaining each map.
...  show[s] variations in terrain by the use of color,
with scales showing elevations in meters.

The text is easy to read and closely relates to the
adjoining map. There are also black-and-white con-
temporary photos of the trenches, armaments, troops,
cavalry horses, and the like. ... more than 100 color
maps which trace the development of the major cam-
paigns with unprecedented clarity. "

042. The First World War, Second Edition : A Complete History,
by Martin Gilbert
"... covers WWI on all major fronts - domestic,
diplomatic, military - as well as such bloody pre-
ludes as the Armenian massacre of 1915. He des-
cribes the introduction of new instruments of war
like the submarine, airplane, tank, machine gun and
poison gas, explaining how each was employed in
great military confrontations such as Verdun and

He recounts the arrival of the American contingent
(British and French brass tended at first to regard
them as rabble) and Gen. John J. Pershing's struggle
to prevent U.S. troops from being fed piecemeal
into the maelstrom of the western front.

... On the whole, the author presents WWI from
the human perspective, with emphasis on the grisli-
ness and sheer waste of it. His account of the post-
Armistice efforts of the international War Graves
Commission starkly communicates the epic scale
of the slaughter.

... this is a stunning achievement of research and
storytelling on the war to end all wars. ... Profusely
illustrated and containing 50 maps ..."

041. A World Undone : The Story of the
Great War 1914 to 1918, by G.J. Meyer
"... One only has to look at a few of today's 'hot-
spots' (the Balkans and the Middle East) to realize
that World War I's effects remain a determining
factor in international relations.

It may seem impossible to write an 'intimate' account
of such a global catastrophe, but Meyer has suc-
ceeded in doing just that: a masterful narrative his-
tory that eloquently conveys the sense of a civilization
engaged in massive self-destruction, while its leaders,
blinded by hubris, nationalism, or outright ignorance,
led the charge.

Although Meyer pays ample attention to the broad
themes of causation and military strategies, he con-
sistently reminds us that the war was a compilation
of millions of individual tragedies. He captures the
horror and futility of trench warfare, the slaughter at
Gallipoli, and the genocide of Armenians as exper-
ienced by those who were there.

Meyer also offers interesting and controversial insights
into the motivations of many of the key participants.
This is an outstanding survey of a cataclysm that still
casts a shadow over world affairs. ..."

040. The Great Influenza : The Epic Story of the
Deadliest Plague in History, by John M. Barry
"... In 1918, a plague swept across the world virtually without warning, killing healthy young adults as well
as vulnerable infants and the elderly. Hospitals and
morgues were quickly overwhelmed; in Philadelphia,
4,597 people died in one week alone and bodies
piled up on the streets to be carted off to mass

... In this sweeping history, Barry ... explores how
the deadly confluence of biology (a swiftly mutating
flu virus that can pass between animals and humans)
and politics (President Wilson's all-out war effort in
WW I) created conditions in which the virus thrived,
killing more than 50 million worldwide and perhaps
as many as 100 million in just a year.

... The influenza pandemic of 1918, the worst pan-
demic in history, killed more people than died in
World War I and more than the tens of millions
who have died, to date, in the AIDS pandemic. ..."

039. The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom : The Civil War Era,
by James M. McPherson
"... McPherson's Pulitzer Prize-winning opus is by
now the standard one-volume treatment of the Civil
War. Encyclopedic in scope, it synthesizes political
and military history into a sweeping narrative of
America's national epic, one that paints the North's
victory as the triumph of a 'revolutionary future' of
'competitive, egalitarian, free-labor capitalism' over
the tradition-bound and hierarchical society of the

This new edition eliminates the footnotes and trims
a fifth of the text to make way for color maps of
major battles and campaigns and hundreds of photo-
graphs, cartoons and artist's depictions from the
period. ..."

038. Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia)
History Portal, by User Contributions
"... The History Portal - History is the interpretation
of past events, societies and civilizations. The term
history comes from the Greek historia (ἱστορία), 'an
account of one's inquiries,' and shares that etymology
with the English word story.

The 1911 Encyclopędia Britannica stated that 'history
in the wider sense is all that has happened, not merely
all the phenomena of human life, but those of the natural
world as well. It is everything that undergoes change;
and as modern science has shown that there is nothing
absolutely static, therefore, the whole universe, and
every part of it, has its history.' ..."

- - - Videos Added on December 4, 2009 - - -

037. DVD : Inside 9/11 (National Geographic Commemorative Edition)

036. DVD : WW II in HD

035. DVD : World War II in Color

034. DVD : Auschwitz - Inside the Nazi State

033. DVD : The Plague (History Channel)

032. Pro-Humanist FREELOVER Posts which
include videos pertaining to History
(as of December 4, 2009)

- - - Books from the 1999 & 2000 Versions of this post - - -

031. An Intimate History of Humanity,
by Theodore Zeldin
"... I thoroughly enjoyed this superb work of scholar-
ship. The collection of biographical vignettes serves
as a springboard for the author's remarkably far-
ranging inquiries. His writing is simple, elegant, and
right to the point, e.g., 'The noble savage was seldom
sober.' There is so much wisdom here, so many rich
historical threads, reading it is like eating a chocolate
cake: each chapter is entirely enough to savor for a
while, but you can't wait to go back for more. ..."

030. Antiquity : A World History,
by Frank E. Smitha
"... Antiquity is a sketch of the ancient world of
force and belief within the limits of the competent
historian's ability to know it. Ancient times were
immersed in slavery, lords and empire. Violence
decided who should govern whom -- in the name
of the gods. Work was done by animal or human
sweat and muscle. Few if any people in ancient
times, from priest-king to commoner, were able
to transcend the age in which they lived. ..."

029. The Way of the World, From the Dawn
of Civilizations to the Eve of the Twenty-First
Century, by David Fromkin
"... With insight and sound scholarship, the author
reveals how human culture has evolved according
to the principles of self-determination -- from the
footsteps of the first hominids 3.5 million years
ago to the efforts of contemporary democracies
to establish a global, lasting peace.

Here is a world history wherein early forms of
Christianity give way to rationalism, the tyranny
of kings crumbles to the merits of representative
government, and modern science presents us
with the master key to the future.

Refreshingly positive, David Fromkin reminds us
of the astounding record of human achievement,
and the potential in each of us to improve the way
of our world. ..."

028. Hammond Concise Atlas of World History,
by Geoffrey Barraclough (Editor)
"... Combining original maps with lucid texts, this
book offers a comprehensive view of the story of
humanity. From the emergence of our first ancestors
five million years ago to the collapse of the Soviet
Union and beyond, the full sweep of human history
is covered. ..."

027. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire  /
Volumes 1 to 3 and 4 to 6,  by Edward Gibbon,  
Hugh Trevor-Roper (Introduction)

From the book description at the web-

"... The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire, a major literary achievement of the 18th cen-
tury published in six volumes, was written by the cele-
brated English historian Edward Gibbon.

Volume I was published in 1776, and went through
six printings (a remarkable feat for its time). The books
cover the period of the Roman Empire after Marcus Aurelius, from just before 180 to 1453 and beyond,
concluding in 1590. They take as their material the
behaviour and decisions that led to the decay and
eventual fall of the Roman Empire in the East and
West, offering an explanation for why the Roman
Empire fell.

Gibbon is sometimes called the first modern historian
of ancient Rome. By virtue of its mostly objective ap-
proach and highly accurate use of reference material,
Gibbon's work was adopted as a model for the meth-
odologies of 19th and 20th century historians. His pes-
simism and detached use of irony was common to the
historical genre of his era. ..."

026. The Humanistic Tradition, Book 3 : The
European Renaissance, The Reformation, and
Global Encounter (Fifth Edition), by Gloria K. Fiero
[updated version]

"... The explosion of creativity that marked the
European Renaissance provoked an unprecedented
age of exploration and of cross-cultural encounter.
From the depths of the Black Plague to the heights
of Shakespeare's sonnets, book three of The
Humanistic Tradition provides an exciting portrait
of this period.

In a compelling counterpoint to her description of
the Renaissance, Fiero devotes a section to the
cultures that came into increasing contact with the
burgeoning West - the kingdoms of West Africa
and the societies of North, Central, and South
America. ..."

025. The Humanistic Tradition, Book 2 : Medieval
Europe and The World Beyond (Fifth Edition),
by Gloria K Fiero
[updated version]

"... Beginning with the birth of Christianity and of
Buddhism, the second book of The Humanistic
Tradition offers a wide-ranging look at the period
from 0-1400 C.E.

The book addresses the interaction between religion
and culture in emerging Islamic societies while also
drawing on art, music, literature, and architecture to
draw a vivid portrait of life in Medieval Europe. It
concludes with a discussion of the art and culture of
medieval Asia - India, China, and Japan.

024. The Humanistic Tradition, Book 1: The
First Civilizations and the Classical Legacy
(Fifth Edition), by Gloria K. Fiero
[updated version]

"... The first volume of The Humanistic Tradition guides
students from the Paleolithic through classical Greek
culture and up to the art and music of Han China.

It is an exciting introduction to any humanities course
but it can also serve as a colorful and informative sup-
plement in courses on prehistory, classical history, or
Greek and Roman literature. ..."

023. The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary
Life and Death of the Medieval Cathars,
by Stephen O'Shea
"... In 1209, Pope Innocent III launched a series of
bloody crusades directed against the Cathars, a
heretical sect of Christians based in the Languedoc
region of southern France. Though a profoundly
spiritual and peaceful group, the Cathars were
singled out for extermination because many of
their radical beliefs stood in direct contradiction
to conventional Catholic doctrine. In addition to
contending that Hell did not exist and that all the
sacraments were unnecessary, they also advanced
the revolutionary notion that women were equal to

Supported by the feudal nobility, who felt threatened
by the communal lifestyle of the Cathars, as well as
by agents of the government eager to annex the
heretofore independent Languedoc to the Kingdom
of France, these thinly disguised religious crusades
not only obliterated the Cathars but also ushered in
the brutally repressive era of the Inquisition. ..."

022. A History of Warfare, by John Keegan
"... War's complementary attractiveness and repul-
siveness summon legions of religious, rational, and
anthropological justifications, and historian Keegan
here audaciously attempts to unify them.

He can fairly be named the foremost contemporary
writer on the subject, and his sharp ideas and ease-
ful prose have prepared a wide audience for this,
certainly his magnum opus. ..."

021. The Pessimist's Guide to History,
by Stuart Flexner, Doris Flexner (Contributor)
"... Here is an irresistible, tongue-in-cheek compendium
of barbarities, catastrophes, massacres, and mayhem
that will appeal to the pessimist in all of us. This
history book takes readers on a warped tour of the
less than stellar moments in world events--from the
death of the dinosaurs to the Spanish Inquisition to
the Exxon Valdez oil spill. ..."

020. The Optimist's Guide to History,
by Doris Flexner
"... From the evolution of mankind to the origin of ice
cream, this refreshing and upbeat complement to the
best-selling The Pessimist's Guide to History provides
dozens of stories of success and triumph from which
optimists can draw strength.

019. The Cartoon History of the Universe II : From
the Springtime of China to the Fall of Rome / Volumes 8-13,
by Larry Gonick
"... Gonick has done it again with a diffuse but deep
excavation into early civilizations from ancient China
to the Germanic tribes. In some ways, Gonick asks
a lot of American readership's occidental training by
detailing every dynastic hotshot from the Orient.

This also being a fertile time for the development of
religious cults, Gonick spends much time on Christ
(whom he insists on calling "Jeshua ben Joseph"),
Confucius, (not, one might note, Lao Tsu or K'ung
fu-tsze), Buddha and the like.

Gonick's main focus is not to outline the contributions
that allowed their teachings to survive the centuries,
but rather to humanize them, and some come across
as fanatical seekers simply looking for a following,
a good meal, a wicked battle, a girlfriend or a shower.

The artist's style is versatile and engaging, and his
asides, puns and parenthetical references do much
to keep the reader's attention throughout ..."

018. The Cartoon History of the Universe /
Volumes 1-7, by Larry Gonick
"... cartoonist Larry Gonick takes us on an uproarious
joyride through the ancient world. Gonick's brilliant
 insights, exuberant humor, and delightful drawings
combine to make a truly unique work that is sure to
be a valuable resource as well as a great escape for
all ages. Black-and-white illustrations.

017. Guns, Germs, and Steel : The Fates of
Human Societies, by Jared Diamond
"... Life isn't fair--here's why: Since 1500, Europeans
have, for better and worse, called the tune that the
World has danced to. ... Diamond explains the rea-
sons why things worked out that way. ... He performs
a singular service by relying on scientific fact rather
than specious theories of European genetic superiority.

Diamond, a professor of physiology at UCLA, sug-
gests that the geography of Eurasia was best suited
to farming, the domestication of animals, and the free
flow of information.

The more populous cultures that developed as a result
had more complex forms of government and commun-
ication -- and increased resistance to disease. Finally,
fragmented Europe harnessed the power of competi-
tive innovation in ways that China did not. ..."

016. Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the
Madness of Crowds,
by Charles Mackay, Andrew Tobias
"... A complete repackaging of the classic work
about grand-scale madness, major schemes and
bamboozlement -- and the universal human sus-
ceptibility to all three -- this informative, funny
collection encompasses a broad range of manias
and deceptions, from witch burnings to the Great
Crusades to the prophecies of Nostradamus.

This book describes the major historical crowd
delusions up to 1841 when the book was first
published. ..."

015 Connections, by James Burke
"... You can make all the plans you will, plot to make
a fortune in the commodities market, speculate on
developing trends: all will likely coma to naught, for
'however carefully you plan for the future, someone
else's actions will inevitably modify the way your
plans turn out.'

So writes the English scholar and documentary pro-
ducer James Burke in his sparkling book Connections,
a favorite of historically minded readers ever since its
first publication in 1978. ... Burke charts the course
of technological innovation from ancient times to the
present, but always with a subversive eye for things happening in spite of, and not because of, their inven-
tors' intentions.

Burke gives careful attention to the role of accident
in human history. ... we owe the invention of modern
printing to Johann Gutenberg's training as a gold-
smith, for his knowledge of the properties of metals
enabled him to develop a press whose letterforms
would not easily wear down. With Gutenberg's
invention, Burke notes, came a massive revolution
in the European economy, for, as he writes, 'the
easier it is to communicate, the faster change hap-

Burke's book is a splendid and educational enter-
tainment for our fast-changing time. ..."

014. A History of the Arab Peoples,
by Albert Hourani
"... Published in 1992 ... a concise introduction to
the history of the Arab people ... presenting an
overall picture of Arab history and society.

... attempts to paint a picture of the lives of ordinary
people. Thus we learn about education, religion, law,
marriage, and other aspects of society. ...

Naturally, in a book about Arab history, a great
deal of emphasis is put on Islamic religion, which is
perhaps the most potent force shaping Arab history
and culture. In a way therefore this book also offers
an excellent introduction to Islam and Islamic history.

... while the title 'Arab peoples' acknowledges the
fact that most of the modern-day 'Arabs' are des-
cended from non-Arabs who at some point adopted
Arab language and culture, this point is not made
explicit in the text ... The index alone reads like a
who's who in Arab history. ..."

013. A Little Matter of Genocide : Holocaust
and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present,
by Ward Churchill
"... If you think that most of the Indians died from
disease, you need this book. If you think that Indians
were defeated through war, you need this book. If
you think that Nazis are bad but you are good, you
need this book. ..."

012. Lenin's Tomb : The Last Days of the
Soviet Empire, by David Remnick
"... Lenin's Tomb is an extraordinary confluence of
observation, hard work, knowledge and reflection;
a better book by a journalist on the withdrawing
roar of the Soviet Union is hard to imagine. ...

... a compilation of short stories (each chapter a
dozen pages or so) about the author's first-hand
experiences in the Gorbachev's Soviet Union.

From Baltic to Sakhalin and from coal miners to
Gorbachev himself, from Stalin to Yeltsin and from
Solzhenitsyn to Sakharov, the book paints the pic-
ture of the monolith's fall ... describing the critical
period in Russian history, combined with keen com-
mentary, creates for the reader the distinct flavor
of the time. ..."

011. Holocaust Testimonies : The Ruins of
Memory, by Lawrence L. Langer
"... This important and original book is the first sus-
tained analysis of the unique ways in which oral testi-
mony of survivors contributes to our understanding
of the Holocaust.

Langer argues that it is necessary to deromanticize
the survival experience and that to burden it with
accolades about the 'indomitable human spirit' is
to slight its painful complexity and ambivalence. ..."

010. The Holocaust : A History of the Jews
of Europe During the Second World War,
by Martin Gilbert
"... A poignant introduction by the author (official
biographer of Winston Churchill) is followed by
his instructive analysis of anti-Semitism in Europe,
from Martin Luther's venomous fulminations against
Jews to the motivating power of anti-Semitism in
the National Socialist movement.

Hitler's 'final solution' began formally within hours
of the German invasion of Russia, a campaign that,
as Gilbert shows, provided an opportunity for geno-
cide hitherto lacking.

With a relentless accumulation of detail and eyewit-
ness accounts, he writes of the systematic efficiency
of the Nazi attempt to destroy European Jewry and
the widespread disbelief that such could be happening.

Though the figure of Adolf Hitler remains in the back-
ground, such executives as Himmler, Eichmann and
Mengele are very much in evidence throughout the
gripping narrative ... The narrative reaches its dreadful
climax with the convergence on the death camps of
the Allied and Soviet armies, a time when 'rescue
and slaughter marched hand in hand.'

A particularly disturbing section deals with outbreaks
of anti-Semitism after the German surrender. On July
4, 1946, for instance, more than a year after V-E Day
42 Jews were massacred by Poles in the town of

Gilbert brings within the pages of this volume all the
major substantiated evidence of Jewish resistance
throughout the war, plus many examples of Gentiles
risking their lives to protect Hitler's prey. ..."

009. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich : A History
of Nazi Germany, by William L. Shirer
"... Before the Nazis could destroy the files, famed
foreign correspondent and historian William L. Shirer
spent five and a half years sifting through the massive
self-documentation of the Third Reich, to create a
monumental study that has been widely acclaimed
as the definitive record of one of the most frightening
chapters in the history of mankind -- now in a special
30th anniversary edition. ..."

008. The Pol Pot Regime : Race, Power, and
Genocide in Cambodia Under the Khmer
Rouge, 1975-79, by Ben Kiernan
"... What was the nature of the regime that turned
Cambodia into grisly killing fields and murdered or
starved to death a million and a half of the country's
eight million inhabitants?

In this riveting book, the first definitive account of
the Khmer Rouge revolution, a world renowned
authority on Cambodia shows how an ideological
preoccupation with racist and totalitarian policies
led a group of intellectuals to impose genocide
on their own country.

007. Voices from S-21 : Terror and History
in Pol Pot's Secret Prison, by David Chandler
"... Documenting the violence and terror that took
place within S-21 is only part of Chandler's story.
Equally important is his attempt to understand what
happened there in terms that might be useful to sur-
vivors, historians, and the rest of us.

Chandler discusses the 'culture of obedience' and
its attendant dehumanization, citing parallels be-
tween the Khmer Rouge executions and the Mos-
cow Show Trials of the 1930s, Nazi genocide,
Indonesian massacres in 1965-66, the Argentine
military's use of torture in the 1970s, and the recent
mass killings in Bosnia and Rwanda.

In each of these instances, Chandler shows how
turning victims into 'others' in a manner that was
systematically devaluing and racialist made it easier
to mistreat and kill them. More than a chronicle
of Khmer Rouge barbarism, Voices from S-21 is
also a judicious examination of the psychological
dimensions of state-sponsored terrorism that con-
dition human beings to commit acts of unspeakable
brutality. ..."

006. A People Betrayed : The Role of the
West in Rwanda's Genocide,
by Linda Melvern
"... In 1994 up to one million people were killed in
Rwanda in a deliberate, public and political campaign.

This book is a classic piece of investigative journalism
which contains new and startling information on this
international scandal, revealing how the great powers
failed to heed the warnings of the coming catastrophe,
and how they refused to recognize the genocide when
it began.

005. Endgame : The Betrayal and Fall of
Srebrenica, Europe's Worst Massacre Since
World War II, by David Rohde
"... David Rohde ... wrote the story of Srebrenica
and the nation suddenly knew of the largest single
killing in Europe since Jews were murdered whole-
sale in the Second World War. Rohde received a
Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his stories on Srebrenica. ..."

004. China : A New History (second enlarged
edition), by John King Fairbank, Merle Goldman
[updated version]

"... No American scholar of China was better known
to the public and academia alike than Fairbank. This
history of China, completed two days before his death
in 1991, is a fitting final work.

In covering the breadth of the country's history, from
the earliest archaeological records to the present, the
author is occasionally short on details, but lay readers
and undergraduate students will appreciate the percep-
tive analysis and explanation throughout, leading to a
better understanding of this complex nation, its people,
and its importance in the world.  ..."

003. In Search of the Cradle of Civilization : New
Light on Ancient India, by Georg Feuerstein,
Subhash Kak,  David Frawley
"... A ground-breaking book wherein three renowned
scholars show that there was no 'Aryan invasion',
and that India, not Sumer, was the cradle of civilized
humanity. Through exploring the rich symbols, meta-
phors, and myths of the Vedas, we can examine the
wealth of India's spirituality and discover its relevance
for today's world. ..."

002. Hyperhistory Online
"... Via the "What is Hyperhistory" link at this site,
a printed map and accompanying booklet may
be ordered. The map graphically details the last
3,000 years of world history, with matching
details in the booklet. ..."

001. DK Pockets: World History,
by Philip Wilkinson
"... From the earliest civilizations to the present day,
this fascinating guide presents the key periods and
dates in world history. Illustrated time charts provide
an overview of contemporaneous events around the
globe, and detailed tables list the most important
rulers and leaders across the centuries.