The way to do it is piecemeal. You could just sit down and try reading Roberts's History of the World cover to cover, but you'd probably lose interest. I think i...

The way to do it is piecemeal. You could just sit down and try reading Roberts's History of the World cover to cover, but you'd probably lose interest. I think it's a better plan to read books about specific topics, even if you don't understand everything the first time through.

Here are the most exciting ones I can think of.

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  • Included Creators
  • Thomas Samuel Kuhn (; July 18, 1922 – June 17, 1996) was an American philosopher of science whose 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was influential in both academic and popular circles, introducing the term paradigm shift, which has since become an English-language idiom. Kuhn made several claims concerning the progress of scientific knowledge: that scientific fields undergo periodic "paradigm shifts" rather than solely progressing in a linear and continuous way, and that these paradigm shifts open up new approaches to understanding what scientists would never have considered valid before; and that the notion of scientific truth, at any given moment, cannot be established solely by objective criteria but is defined by a consensus of a scientific community. Competing paradigms are frequently incommensurable; that is, they are competing and irreconcilable accounts of reality. Thus, our comprehension of science can never rely wholly upon "objectivity" alone. Science must account for subjective perspectives as well, since all objective conclusions are ultimately founded upon the subjective conditioning/worldview of its researchers and participants.
  • A military leader of legendary genius, Caesar was also a great writer, recording the events of his life with incomparable immediacy and power. The Civil War is a tense and gripping depiction of his struggle with Pompey over the leadership of Republican Rome - a conflict that spanned the entire Roman world, from Gaul and Spain to Asia and Africa. Where Caesar's own account leaves off in 48 BC, his lieutenants take up the history, describing the vital battles of Munda, Spain and Thapsus, and the installation of Cleopatra, later Caesar's mistress, as Queen of Egypt. Together these narratives paint a full picture of the events that brought Caesar supreme power - and paved the way for his assassination only months later.
  • "This book is the liveliest account of African history ever written, covering over [one] thousand years of trans-Saharan trade. "Finely written and researched. ... This edition will no doubt whet the appetites of a fresh generation of scholars and students for greater knowledge of parts of Africa still surprisingly little-known to the outside world." -- Journal of Islamic Studies "A unique source book." - The New York Times "Utterly enthralling ... splendidly romantic." -- The New Yorker
  • <p>Packed with facts, attributions, and entertaining anecdotes about his contemporaries, Vasari's collection of biographical accounts also presents a highly influential theory of the development of Renaissance art.</p><p>Beginning with Cimabue and Giotto, who represent the infancy of art, Vasari considers the period of youthful vigour, shaped by Donatello, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, and Masaccio, before discussing the mature period of perfection, dominated by the titanic figures of Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo.</p><p>This specially commissioned translation contains thirty-six of the most important lives as well as an introduction and explanatory notes.</p><p><u>About the Series:</u><br />For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.</p>
  • This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.<br /><br />This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.<br /><br />As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.
  • "Not to know what happened before we were born"' wrote Cicero," is to remain perpetually a child. For what is the worth of a human life unless it is woven into the life of our ancesters by the records of history?" In these volumes on The Great Ages of Man an honored place is rightfully given to Rome, which emphasized so greatly the importance of history and tradition.
  • Sir Steven Runciman's three volume "A History of the Crusades, " one of the great classics of English historical writing, is now being reissued. This volume deals complete with the First Crusade and the foundation of the kingdom of Jerusalem. As Runciman says in his praface: "Whether we regard the Crusades as the most tremendous and most romantic of Christian adventure, or as the last of the barbarian invasions, they form a central fact in medieval history. Before their inception the centre of our civilization was placed in Byzantium and in the lands of the Arab caliphate. Before they faded out the hegemnoy in civilization had passed to western Eurpe. Out of this transference modern history was born."
  • Henri Pirenne is best known for his provocative argument--known as the "Pirenne thesis" and familiar to all students of medieval Europe--that it was not the invasion of the Germanic tribes that destroyed the civilization of antiquity, but rather the closing of Mediterranean trade by Arab conquest in the seventh century. The consequent interruption of long distance commerce accelerated the decline of the ancient cities of Europe. Pirenne first formulated his thesis in articles and then expanded on them in Medieval Cities. In the book Pirenne traces the growth of the medieval city from the tenth century to the twelfth, challenging conventional wisdom by attributing the origins of medieval cities to the revival of trade. In addition, Pirenne describes the clear role the middle class played in the development of the modern economic system and modern culture. The "Pirenne thesis" was fully worked out in the book Mohammed and Charlemagne, which appeared shortly after Pirenne's death.<br /><br /><br /> Pirenne was one of the world's leading historians and arguably the most famous Belgium had produced. During World War I, while teaching at the University of Ghent, he was arrested for supporting Belgium's passive resistance and deported to Germany, where he was held from 1916 to 1918. In 1922, universities in various parts of the United States invited him to deliver lectures: out of these lectures grew Medieval Cities, which appeared in English translation before being published in French in 1927.
  • This best-selling book is a beautifully illustrated history of the English country house from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. In it, renowned architectural historian Mark Girouard presents a rare and revealing glimpse of the English upper classes—their public and personal lives, their servants, and their homes.<br /><br />"A deeply important book, one of the most interesting contributions to architectural history."—J. H. Plumb, <i>The New York Review of Books</i><br /><br />"A survey of country houses through the past five centuries, from a broad range of materials: family archives, literature, plans and photographs.... The book itself is a physical artifact of surpassing beauty which could fit on the grandest table in the houses it describes."—David Hackett Fischer, <i>The New Republic</i><br /><br />"Informative, balanced, knowledgeable, and witty."—<i>The New Yorker</i><br /><br />"This enthralling and immensely informative book...tells with wit, scholarship, and lucidity how the country house evolved to meet the needs and reflect the social attitudes of the times."—Philip Ziegler, <i>The Times</i><br /><br />"One of those very useful and very enjoyable books that the learned can seldom write, and the entertaining seldom achieve—clear, detailed, and witty."—Angus Wilson, <i>The Observer</i><br /><br />Winner of the 1978 Duff Cooper Memorial Prize and the W. H. Smith &amp; Son Annual Literary Award for 1979.
  • Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705] – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A polymath, he was a leading writer, printer, political philosopher, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He founded many civic organizations, including the Library Company, Philadelphia's first fire department, and the University of Pennsylvania.Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, initially as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United States ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation. Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. In the words of historian Henry Steele Commager, "In Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat." To Walter Isaacson, this makes Franklin "the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become."Franklin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing this and Poor Richard's Almanack, which he authored under the pseudonym "Richard Saunders". After 1767, he was associated with the Pennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper that was known for its revolutionary sentiments and criticisms of the policies of the British Parliament and the Crown.He pioneered and was the first president of Academy and College of Philadelphia which opened in 1751 and later became the University of Pennsylvania. He organized and was the first secretary of the American Philosophical Society and was elected president in 1769. Franklin became a national hero in America as an agent for several colonies when he spearheaded an effort in London to have the Parliament of Great Britain repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco–American relations. His efforts proved vital for the American Revolution in securing shipments of crucial munitions from France. He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies on August 10, 1753, having been Philadelphia postmaster for many years, and this enabled him to set up the first national communications network. During the revolution, he became the first United States postmaster general. He was active in community affairs and colonial and state politics, as well as national and international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he served as governor of Pennsylvania. He initially owned and dealt in slaves but, by the late 1750s, he began arguing against slavery, became an abolitionist, and promoted education and the integration of blacks in American Society. His life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, and his status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers, have seen Franklin honored more than two centuries after his death on the fifty-cent piece, the $100 bill, warships, and the names of many towns, counties, educational institutions, and corporations, as well as numerous cultural references and with a portrait in the Oval Office.
  • An early work expressing the outlook of the scientist who pioneered X-Ray crystallography.
  • Thomas Peter Ruffell Laslett (18 December 1915 – 8 November 2001) was an English historian.
  • McEvedy's profession was psychiatry, in which he had a distinguished career. He became perhaps better known, though, as a historian and demographer, and certainly so by the public at large. Between 1961 and 2002 he produced a number of historical atlases which, unlike most such atlases, feature fixed base-maps; in most cases, each atlas uses a single principal base-map, which is shown repeatedly, at many dates, as the atlas goes along, thus illustrating changes over the ages, from ancient down to modern, within the chosen area. The accompanying text, typically, is mostly a running commentary on what the maps of a given atlas show. Another feature of the atlases is McEvedy's witty and engaging writing-style, which he used on occasion to challenge established opinions among historians and demographers. Although he was not, strictly speaking, a professional in those fields, he became professionally respected in them, with his views making their way into standard textbooks.
  • Kenneth Clark's sweeping narrative looks at how Western Europe evolved in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire, to produce the ideas, books, buildings, works of art and great individuals that make up our civilisation. The author takes us from Iona in the ninth century to France in the twelfth, from Florence to Urbino, from Germany to Rome, England, Holland and America. Against these historical backgrounds he sketches an extraordinary cast of characters -- the men and women who gave new energy to civilisation and expanded our understanding of the world and of ourselves. He also highlights the works of genius they produced -- in architecture, sculpture and painting, in philosophy, poetry and music, and in science and engineering, from Raphael's School of Athens to the bridges of Brunel.
  • Lynn Townsend White Jr. (April 29, 1907 – March 30, 1987) was an American historian. He was a professor of medieval history at Princeton from 1933 to 1937, and at Stanford from 1937 to 1943. He was president of Mills College, Oakland, from 1943 to 1958 and a professor at University of California, Los Angeles from 1958 until 1987. Lynn White helped to found The Society of History and Technology (SHOT) and was president from 1960 to 1962. He won the Pfizer Award for "Medieval Technology and Social Change" from the History of Science Society (HSS) and the Leonardo da Vinci medal and Dexter prize from SHOT in 1964 and 1970. He was president of the History of Science Society from 1971 to 1972. He was president of The Medieval Academy of America from 1972-1973, and the American Historical Association in 1973. White began his career as medieval historian focusing on the history of Latin monasticism in Sicily during the Norman Period but realized the coming conflict in Europe would interfere with his access to source materials. While at Princeton he read the works of Lefebvre des Noëttes, and Marc Bloch. This led to his first work in the history of technology, "Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages" in 1940.
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