AP World History
(Note: Most of the descriptions are taken from the product description on the websites.)
The following can be obtained from Social Studies School Service
Guns. Germs, and Steel
Based on Jared Diamond's Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same title, this penetrating documentary plays like an epic detective story uncovering how Europeans came to dominate every other group on the planet by virtue of their access to what Diamond terms the "agents of conquest": guns, germs, and steel. Grades 9 and up. Closed captioned. Color. 180 minutes. National Geographic ©2005.
As a complete series, these programs explore the meaning of civilization, asserting that the world's great cultures have each been based on a distinctive vision of life-and that the West, once considered barbarian but now in its moment of triumph, faces decline unless it can absorb the lessons of those other civilizations. In the individual programs, host Michael Wood visits 14 countries on four continents, identifying the core values of each civilization and tracing the history of cross-cultural influences. Note: some brief but culturally appropriate nudity. Grades 8 and up. Color and black-and-white. 57 minutes each. Maryland Public Television. ©1991.
•Iraq: The Cradle of Civilization
•India: The Empire of the Spirit
•Egypt: The Habit of Civilization
•China: The Mandate of Heaven
•Central America: The Burden of Time
•The Barbarian West
The Story of India
Enthusiastic historian Michael Wood travels modern India to show viewers its historic places and explain how history has shaped the nation's culture. Six hour-long episodes cover:
•Ancient India (including the Rig Veda and the Mahabharata)
•Early India (the caste system, Buddhism, Chandragupta Maurya, and Ashoka)
•The Spice Route and the Silk Road (the Kushan empire)
•The golden age (Rama, the Gupta empire, the Cholans, and Rajaraja and the Tamil)
•The rise of Islam ((Mahmud of Ghazni, the Sufis, the Mughal invasion, and Akbar and the Sikhs)
•Modern India (French and British colonialism, the Great Rebellion, Gandhi and the independence movement, partition, and today's economic revolution)
Grades 6 and up. Closed captioned. Described video. Color. Total time: 360 minutes. Maya Vision International. ©2009.
Islam, Empire of Faith
From Muhammad to Suleyman, this epic history covers a thousand years of Islam. Produced and directed by Robert Gardner and narrated by Ben Kingsley, the film was made on Mideastern locations with an extensive cast and crew. The production reenacts historical events, presents comments by noted scholars, and provides a dazzling display of Islamic architecture and art. An ideal backup for textbooks and other resources, this content-rich program offers abundant ideas for doing reports or research. DVD special features: a making-of documentary and a tour of ancient Islamic architecture. In addition, the companion Web site has five fully developed lesson plans with time-codes for program segments, an interactive timeline, a bibliography, a glossary section, and production notes. Grades 7 and up. Closed captioned. Color. 163 minutes. PBS. ©2000.
Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire
Commanding shoguns and fierce samurai warriors, exotic geisha and exquisite artisans—all were part of a Japanese renaissance between the 16th and 19th centuries when Japan went from chaos and violence to a land of ritual refinement and peace. But stability came at a price: for nearly 250 years, Japan was a land closed to the Western world, ruled by the shogun under his absolute power and control. Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire brings to life the unknown story of a mysterious empire, its relationship with the West, and the forging of a nation that would emerge as one of the most important countries in the world. Color. 160 minutes.
Divided into separate units for Vikings, Goths, Mongols, and Huns, this "visual textbook" introduces warlike peoples who lived outside the borders of established empires. Authentic reenactments interspersed with brief commentaries portray each group’s leaders, military actions, and lasting effects in Europe and Asia. Running about 43 minutes each, programs can be used within one or two class periods. The DVD version adds Genghis Khan from Biography series plus behind-the-scenes featurette on making Barbarians. Note: Reenactments contain scenes of violence and death. The DVD version adds Genghis Khan from the Biograqphy series plus behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of Barbarians. Grades 9–12. Color. 172 minutes (not including DVD features). History Channel. ©2003.
Available from other sources
Lost Civilizations-Time Life Video
The secrets of lives once lived. Never before could you get so close to 7000 years of history! From the bloodletting of Maya kings and a pharaoh's last journey to the secret pleasures of a Roman empress. Original location cinematography in 25 countries takes you from Cuzco in Peru to Petra in Jordan. From ancient Mesopotamia to modern Tibet, lost worlds live again. Color. 48 minutes
•Aegean-Legacy of Atlantis
•Africa-A History Denied
•China-Dynasties of Power
•Egypt-The Quest for Immortality
•Greece-A Moment of Excellence
•Maya-The Blood of Kings
•Mesopotamia-Return to Eden
•Rome-The Ultimate Empire
•Tibet-The End of Time
Secrets of the Dead-PBS Nova Series PBS.org
Day of the Zulu
On January 22, 1879 -- the legendary "Day of the Zulu," when more than twenty thousand Zulu warriors nearly wiped out the forces of the invading British army -- even the sun was on the side of the Zulu Nation. A partial solar eclipse during the battle obscured the view of the redcoats, making it difficult for them to see the attacking Zulu warriors. But the Zulu triumph on that day was no freak victory: it came about through a combination of superior battle strategy and fierce weapons, aided by potent traditional medicine. 60 minutes
The Syphilis Enigma
Far from the devastating scourge it once was, syphilis is now relatively uncommon in most of the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most cases of the disease -- which affected some 35,000 people in 1999, roughly five percent fewer than the previous year -- are centered in the southern United States. Of the nine states with the highest rates of syphilis in that year, eight were in the South; there, disease rates are two to five times higher than the national average. Syphilis is one-and-a-half times more common in men than women, and primarily affects people aged 20 to 39. The rate in African Americans is a staggering 30 times higher than the rate in Caucasians; the disease is most likely to affect the poor, and those with inadequate access to health care and quality education. 60 minutes
Engineering An Empire: The Series DVD Set- History.com
Leaving the dusty history books behind, ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE takes to the streets -as well as the sewers, mountaintops, jungles and beyond- to trace the magnificent physical achievements and technologies of past societies. Host Peter Weller travels around the world and, assisted by cutting-edge computer renderings and note-perfect dramatizations, far back in time to chronicle the innovation and architectural brilliance that gave birth to modern civilization.
Experience street-level life in ancient Greece and China; track the expansion of history's most ambitious cultures like Rome and Byzantium; and marvel at the touchstone achievements -the Parthenon, Tenochtitlan, the Great Wall, Chichen Itza, and many more- that defined the past and awe us to this day. Computer enhancements and location filming transport you to the very sites where empires thrived and collapsed.
ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE breathes life into the past, reanimates the achievements of the history's greatest civilizations, and illuminates the ingenuity and boldness of our forebears. This magnificent DVD collection of the entire series will leave you stunned and amazed.
GREECE: The cradle of Western civilization sustained remarkable technological advancement for over 1,000 years, including such masterpieces as the Tunnel of Samos and the Parthenon.
GREECE: AGE OF ALEXANDER: After a century of tremendous accomplishment, Greece's territorial ambitions were stymied by constant warfare - until Alexander ventured abroad and initiated the Hellenistic era.
THE AZTECS: The Aztecs became one of the greatest civilizations in history through brilliant military campaigns and technological mastery of their harsh environment.
ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE: THE SERIES, VOLUME II:
CARTHAGE: Find out how Carthaginian engineers harnessed their extensive resources and manpower to develop some of the ancient world's most groundbreaking technology.
CHINA: Century after century, China's regal emperors mobilized immense peasant armies to accomplish unfathomable feats - including the most ambitious construction project ever accomplished.
RUSSIA: From the Moscow Kremlin to St. Petersburg to the Trans-Siberian railroad, examine the architecture and infrastructure that led to the rise and fall of the Russian Empire.
ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE: THE SERIES, VOLUME III:
GREAT BRITAIN: Through the centuries, the British Empire used extraordinary engineering technology to become an industrial and military titan, giving rise to such inventions as the first locomotive.
THE PERSIANS: The engineering feats of the mysterious Persian Empire include a water management system, a paved cross-continent roadway, and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
THE MAYA: By 900 AD, the once-glorious Mayan cities disappeared. Unravel the mystery surrounding this mythic civilization through its spectacular infrastructure and architecture.
ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE: THE SERIES, VOLUME IV:
NAPOLEON AND BEYOND: When France stood on the precipice of disaster, one of the most legendary military strategists in history arose from its ashes: Napoleon.
THE BYZANTINES: As much of the world descended into the Dark Ages, the Byzantine Empire emerged with ruthless might and supreme ingenuity, ruling over vast swaths of Europe and Asia.
AGE OF ARCHITECTS: After the deep sleep of the Dark Ages, it wasn't until the 11th-century that autonomous city-states emerged in Italy, revitalizing metropolises and paving the way for the Renaissance.
5 2-hour video tapes with 1 hour for each hundred years. Divided among the societies that were powerful or notable at the time. Problem: No longer available from CNN. Try E-Bay. Also take a look at the web site. http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1999/millennium/
Bridging World History
Bridging World History is a multimedia course for secondary school and college teachers that looks at global patterns through time, seeing history as an integrated whole. Topics are studied in a general chronological order, but each is examined through a thematic lens, showing how people and societies experience both integration and differences. The course consists of 26 units (half-hour video, interactive Web activities, and print materials) that can be explored at either introductory levels or as more advanced study. The course videos feature interviews with leading world history textbook authors and nationally known historians. The Web site includes an archive of over 1000 primary source documents and artifacts, journal articles from the Journal of World History and other publications, and a thematic interactive activity on interrelationships across time and place. (This can be streamed it you do not want to purchase it.)
How the Earth Changed History
Ian Stewart, a geologist, looks at history from the perspective of the Earth forcing human action. He deals with water, wind, deep earth, and fire. The one on water alone is worth the price. A BBC production.
To Live! (1994), from China: Traces four generations in the life of a middle
class family from the Maoist revolution through the Cultural Revolution.
Tragedy strikes, but life is reaffirmed and the family endures.
Whale Rider (2002) from New Zealand: Poignant story about a young girl's
coming of age in Maori culture where she must battle problems within her
family, her cultural identity, and gender bias.
The Cup (Phorba) (2000) from Tibetan refugees in India: Coming of age comedy
set in Northern India in a monastery of displaced Tibetan Buddhists. The
story concerns some of the young monks' desperation to see the 1998 World
Cup. The subtext is the role of cultural refugees in another society and the
interaction between the refugees and mainstream culture (India).
Bandit Queen (1994), from India: story of a young woman who decides to take
up arms against the people who oppress her and her family. The film reveals
the class and ethnic lines in modern India and the tradition of the bandits
who live outside of the law.
Central Station (1998), from Brazil: story of a young boy and older woman
who are forced to flee from Sao Paulo together even though they don't like
each other. The film reveals the easy slide from middle class to poverty in
Brazil, but shows how Brazilians cope, using religion, humor, and love to
help each other.
Shower (1999), from China: story of a young Chinese man whose father wants
him to take over the family business of a bathhouse in Beijing. The film
reveals the continuity of Confucian values conflicting with the pull of
individualism inherent in modern industrialized life in China.
Things I Left in Havana (1997), from Spain: story of three sisters who
emigrate illegally from Cuba to Spain. The film reveals the power of
nostalgia and homesickness as well as the universality of the immigrant
Under the Olive Trees (1997), from Iran: story of a film being made near a
real village that was devastated by an earthquake. The film reveals the
difference between life in Teheran where the director and crew are from and
the local traditions and prejudices of the villagers.
Yaaba (1989), from Burkino Faso: story of a young boy and his cousin who
befriend the village outcast, an old woman healer, who is treated like a
witch by the villagers. The film reveals the intense social capital
available in West African villages and the universality of human
The War of the World - by Niall Ferguson - companion DVD to his book of same name - great for small 10 minute clips.
1421: The Year China Discovered America, 2-hr dvd. PBSpresentation and critical examination of Gavin Menziescontroversial theory that Zheng He’s fleets sailed to the Americas and even circumnavigated the world. Great lesson for historiography
The 50 Years War, 2000 dvd. Palestine/Israel.
Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War I,
China: A Century of Revolution, 3 dvdâ€™s, 1911-49, 1949-76, 1976-present.
China Rises: Behind the Great Wall, story of contemporary China’s economic rise
Connections, by James Burke. An alternative view of history. http://www.amazon.com/Connections-1-James-Burke/dp/B000NJVY3U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1246048926&sr=1-1
The Crusades, 3 DVDs by Terry Jones (of Monty Python)
Millenium, CNN. 10 VHS-only episodes, each showing 1 century w/ 5-10 minutes from various places around the world.
(I included this one because it is great, but it tough to find.)
The Road to 9/11, dvd. Places Al Qaeda’s attacks in the larger context from WWI to post-Cold War
Story of the Weeping Camel, (also Legend of the Weeping Camel) Documentary of Mongol family
Triumph of the Will, dvd. 1935 propaganda documentary of annual Nazi party meeting.
Turtles Can Fly, dvd. 2004 Story of Kurdish boy on the eve of 2003 U.S. invasion.
The World at War, BBC-produced documentary, 1973. 5 dvds, 26 Hours, Laurence Olivier
America Before Columbus - National Geographic
India: The Mughal Empire - History Channel
A limited Bibliography. Many of the comments sent to me by others.
A Fez for the Heart By J. Seal The book is more like a travelogue. It is more anthropology that history about Turkey. It is a book that you really have to think about. One teacher used it for summer reading 3 years ago. The kids thought it was tedious and missed the broad stroke of the story.
An Epic of Old Mali, translated by D.T. Niane;Is this supposed to be Sundiata? If so, then it is fiction, an epic from Old Mali, just as it says. It's the story of Sundiata, who goes on many adventures and becomes King. It's a great, fun story and I think students would enjoy it. It would make an excellent comparison to the Iliad, Beowulf or Gilgamesh.Passage to India. This is a lovely, lyrical book that argues that understanding between the British and native South Asians is impossible to achieve. A stretch for even the most motivated of high school students.
Death of Woman Wang. Like all of Jonathan Spence's books, this is witty, erudite, and superb history. But it is a difficult read for high school students.
Pillars of the Earth. A well-researched entertaining airplane book about the construction of a medieval cathedral. Has some scenes that might be disturbing for some teens and, in other ways, for their parents.
Catherine, Called Birdy. A fun middle grade romp through the Middle Ages, but not representative of the values and aspirations of medieval girls
Dante's Daughter, by Kimberley Heuston. Dante's Daughter is a fictionalized biography of the Italian poet's daughter, Antonia told against the background of 14th century Italy and France. A great introduction to the period.
.The Art of War- Sun Tzu This is one of the must read classics on military strategy and tactics. It is tremendous and easily applicable to daily life, the business world, (even) academic life, etc... It is the mind of a soldier/statesman at its best. I don't believe this would be a good read for an entire class, unless it was military history, but it is a book that at some point all should read. I have given this as a graduation present on many occasions. There is some dispute as to the existence of a Sun Tzu. I would suggest the copy edited by James Clavell (sp?). This edition is very readable and is literally a page turner (okay, at least for a history geek).
Siddhartha- Hermann Hesse This is a work of fiction, but includes mention of real figures as well. It is the life and travels of Siddhartha, who weaves a path in and out of religious doctrine and understanding. On this road, Siddhartha moves from an almost egotistical enlightenment to succumbing to temptations of the flesh and worldly greed. In the end he returns to a life of simplicity and understanding.
You might consider adding the following to your list;
All Quiet on the Western Front- Remarque
Julius Caeser (Folger Shakespeare Library edition) Macbeth (Folger Shakespeare Library edition)
Band of Brothers- Ambrose
Slaughterhouse Five- Vonnegut
Once There Was a War- Steinbeck
Killer Angels- Shaara
The Guns of August- Tuchman
The Moon is Down- Steinbeck
The General in His Labyrinth- Marquez
The Quiet American- Greene
The Things They Carried- O'Brien
If I Die in a Combat Zone- O'Brien
Nectar in a Sieve Some teachers have used this book as summer. It is the story of a woman who faces poverty in India in the first half of 20th century. It is an easy summer read and there are great assignments already made for it. It provides great insight to many areas that are alien to most textbooks. It is from a woman's point of view. It illustrates poverty as most American's have never seen. There is a contrast between women of the Indian culture and those of Islam. It gives some background into industrialization and imperialism from the side of the common man. A great discussion starter.
Pillars of the Earth is a work of historical fiction that follows the building a cathedral during the tumultuous reign of Stephen of Blois is England. It gives a detailed look at the way of life of peasants, nobles, and churchmen through the intertwined lives of the three main characters. I loved the book and couldn't put it down, but its main use would be as a book report for those students who are real readers. The book has about 700 pages and would be over whelming to all but the most enthusiastic of readers.
Catherine Called Birdy is a work of historical fiction about a15 year old girl in England told in the form of diary entries. Through her entries we learn about the expectations, limitations, and daily routine of an upper class girl in Tudor England. This is a frequently chosen book for book reports. It is written on about a 6-9 grade level, but the subject matter makes it interesting to high school girls. They identify with Birdy and are amazed at how the world has changed.
Devona Rowe Habibi is awesome! It's more of a "girl" young adult fiction book - a teenage Arab-American girl, her younger brother, and their parents (her father was born and raised in Jerusalem and came to America to study medicine...where he married their mother) move just outside of Jerusalem to experience the other part of their family's culture. It's culture shock! Her observations of Arab life in Israel, living near a refugee camp, going to school at an Armenian private school in the old city of Jerusalem (the only one she can get in), buying chicken for dinner, etc. are great. I have used this book for both world geography and world history. It's a really easy read which the kids have enjoyed and opens lots of room for discussion from her observations but not tons of explanatory history.
Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian A riveting young adult fiction book about the Armenian genocide during WWI. My students who are fascinated by the Holocaust really got into this one. It's told from the perspective of a young teenage boy who survives and actually makes it out of the Ottoman Empire (Adam Bagdasarian based the story on the recollection of his uncle, on whose experiences the book is based). My 10th graders really got into this one, which I have used pretty much exclusively with world history.
Anna of Byzantium is another young adult fiction book about the real-life Anna Comnena of the Byzantine Empire. The kids enjoyed the intrigue and were amazed to read the "back story" of how and why Anna tried to kill her younger brother - which is how she ends up writing her family's history. It does a good job of describing women during the Byzantine Empire, especially the education and influence of women during the period.
King Leopold's Ghost Is about King Leopold's acquisition andrule over the Belgian Congo during the age ofimperialism. I had a range of responses to the book,which is non-fiction, most of them being favorable. Some of my weaker 10th graders had a hard time with the language (they also are having a hard time with the textbook). I used some of the questions from the discussion guide on the book's web site and added some general historical questions about the time period, which my 10th graders did a great job on. Hochschild definitely paints people as "good" and "bad" which led to an interesting discussion about bias.I saw Thomas Cahill speak in Houston the September before last as he promoted his book Sailing the WineDark Sea (about the Greeks). He used the Odyssey to talk about Greek culture, and I had a really hard time getting through it. He also spoke about some of the highlights from How the Irish Saved Civilization, which I really enjoyed. My APUS teacher friend and I laughed to see the priests' and nuns' faces as Cahill mentioned the Irish cultural practice of nipple sucking (my kids were entranced, too!). This one could be read by my 10th graders, but it was much more helpful to me as a teacher, especially emphasizing the role of Irish monks in preserving Greco-Roman texts and in converting the common people in the countrysides of Western Europe to Christianity. I loved Salt, which I read last year during the schoolyear. It is a non-fiction account of the role salt played as a commodity and valuable natural resource throughout world history across the globe. I would not assign it to my kids (Kurlansky spends a bit too much time on ancient recipes for sourkraut, bluecheese, and soy sauce for their taste.) I did, however, mark it to use throughout the course to discuss everything from ancient Chinese engineering, the importance of salt in food preservation and in preventing dehydration and in fertilizing (and ruining) soil to why cities form where they do(Buffalo being situated at a salt lick for animals)...to the role of salted cod in exploring the Atlantic...to the Salt March in India...to its changing role after Clarence Birdseye's invention. Great informative teacher reference book! The Poisonwood Bible might be a bit much for 10thgraders to read. I have read it and use excerpts ofit in both world geography and world history as it covers a Georgian missionary family who travels to the Congo in the 1960s as it gains independence from Belgium. I use the book to show how what works for one culture in what physical environment doesn't always work in another (you can't use Southern gardening techniques in a rain forest with no bees to pollinate) and how cultural expectations are often quite different (the Congolese refuse to be immersed for a Jordan River-type baptism because of the dangers of crocodiles).One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich I have assigned to my sophomores before with few problems. It's a fictitious account based on the writer's real experiences in a Soviet gulag. The books I inherited came with a set of 5 censored copies. I explain to the kids that it is a men's prison book and that there is prison profanity in it. I have had a few kids choose the censored (marks-a-lot) and one who elected to research the gulags instead (daughter of a minister) as she would "know" the kinds of words that were blacked out. I think this book is super for discussing the conditions and reasons for the gulags as well as the inefficiency of a command economy. Another book that I would suggest adding to your listis First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung. This is a memoir of a girl who experienced the takeover by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and lived to tell about it. My sophomores were transfixed by this true account, which made discussing genocide (using this book and Forgotten Fire and the many Holocaust books they have read in earlier grades) as a global pattern throughout time a very intense experience for them.1421 The Year the Chinese Discovered America by Gavin Menzies. This is an extremely readable, enjoyable book which at a minimum raises significant topics for further research and debate. I really enjoyed having, at last, an explanation for the Bimini Road that did not rely on aliens or Atlantis or alien Atlanteans. Much of the criticism of the book boils down to Menzies not being "a professional historian",whatever that means. Brian Boru by Morgan Llewellyn is, as I understand it, a children’s version of her novel Lion of Ireland. The original novel was excellant: I still remember reading it on my own, outside of school, (well, between classes at least) when I was in high school. How the Irish Saved Civilization is a fascinating discussion especially of the confusing transition from the Roman empire to the Middle Ages and shows how Ireland served as a "hinge" of civilization, recieving it from the Romans, nurturing it, then returning it to Europe as missionaries to the German invaders, many of whom were either pagans or heretics. Here are a few entries for you -- two books I've used for
my classes: Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng: This is a moving
memoir of a woman who was on the wrong side of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. She endured persecution and imprisonment for being wealthy, for her Western education and ties to a British company. This is a poignant,
articulate story for higher level readers, and reflects the chaos and confusion of the Cultural Revolution. It is less
accessible for high school students because the author is a middle-aged woman. For those looking for a similar story, Son of A Revolution is a great alternative. Son of A Revolution by Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro: This is a memoir of a young man who was caught up in the chaotic
currents of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. His story starts with his earliest recollections of being "Mao's good little boy," and how he had to turn his back on his mother who was censured for being a rightist. He experiences the violence of the revolution as a young teen, he is split up
from his family, lives for a time as a peasant during the re-education of his father, and takes part in the a new "Long March." In his disillusionment after a failed
relationship due to his unfavorable background, he meets an American teacher (Shapiro) and after persisting through the bureaucracy of Communist China, is given permission to marry her. This is a very accessible story for high school students. I have used it for my regular world history class as well. You should also add on Monkey by Wu Cheng'en (trans. By Arthur Waley) on your list. (It's about Tripitaka's journey
to attain the Buddhist Scriptures) I've used it with my AP World for the last 4 years, and they love it! It's a
great summer read since it's all about magic and mystery, loosely based on an important historical journey. I can use it as soon as they start the course, because it has great examples of cross-cultural encounters, syncretism, and all that good stuff. I also use Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, and this year my class had a great discussion
comparing the two .April Blood: Florence and the Plot Against the Medici), Lauro Martines (revisionist, fresh portrait of Renaissance Florence revealing violence, cruelty, and bare-knuckle politics. Centers around Lorenzo the Magnificent. 262 pp.) Bhagavad Gita, Hindu epic (Story of Rama and Krishna prior to a battle.) Example: Book of Changes, Book of Etiquette, Book of History, The Book of Lord Change, Book of Odes, Book of Poetry, Book of Rites (all Chinese) You can see many good World History books in the Index of Stearns, Bentley, etc..)
Classic of Filial Piety by Confucius, Daodejing (Classic of the Way and of Virtue) by Laozi
North Sea Saga by Paul Jordan (lavishly illustrated chronicle of the sea's epic history from prehistoric to modern times, featuring Viking raiders, medieval merchants, and modern oil workers. 300pp)
How Spain Became a World Power 1492-1763 by Henry Kamen
(A revisionist history of Spain's global empire, from Columbus's 'discovery' of Am. in 1492 to Madrid's acceptance of the loss of its Am. colonies in 1820. 640 pp.)
Slavery and the making of America, James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton (gripping and chilling hist. of Amer. slavery, from the first Africans brought to Br. colonies through end of Reconstruction. 256 pp.)
Caliban's Shore: The Wreck of the Grosvenor and the STrange Fate of Her Survivors by Stephen Taylor (drawn from unpublished material and new research, this account follows tragic loss of an East India Co. ship and the survivors unbelievable fate. 288 pp.)
The Search For Nefertiti by Joann Fletcher (archaeologist Fletcher controversially argues that Nefertiti may have ruled Egypt as pharaoh after her husband's death. 400 pp.)
Five Empresses: Court Life in 18th century Russia, by Evgenii Anisimov (Written by one of Russia's most acclaimed historians, this bk. chronicles the series of women ruling 18th cent. Russia after Peter the Great. 374 pp.)
Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and illuminated the Dark Ages,
by Richard E. Rubenstein (How the "rediscovery" of Aristotle's works by 12th century European scholars transformed ideas about the world in ways that still matter. 352pp.)
The Ways of Medieval Warfare by Antonio Santosuosso (A timely look at how God, profit and honor inspired Christian and MUSLIM warriors in the time between the death of Attila and the fall of Constantinople. 360 pp.)
The Fourth Crusade and The Sack of Constantinople, by Jonathan Phillips (brillant account of causes and consequences of holy war reveals the full story of the notorious Christian devastation of Constantinople. 320 pp.)
The Turks in World History, Carter Vaughn Findley (Findley is one of world's leading experts in Ottoman and Turkish studies. Discusses Turkey and its people from ancient times to the Turk's entry into modernity and conversion to Islam. 272 pp.)
Spice, by Jack Turner (original study of both the spice trade and appetites that drove it. 352 pp.)
Natasha's Dance by Orlando Figes (Cultural History from Napoleon to declining years of the Soviet Union, 544 pp.)
Ancient Mexico and Central America: Archaeology and Culture History by Susan Evans (Mesoamerican archaeology is rapidly changing and this book is the newest, most up-to-date introduction to this area, 592 pp.)
A Brief History of Peru by Christine Hunefeldt (survey covering the Incas, Spanish conquest and colonization and country's independence in 1821 and more. 320 pp.)
A Bitter Revolution: China's Struggle with the Modern World by Rana Mitter (an attempt to understand the soul of modern China by Rana Mitter author of The Rape of Nanking. 300 pp.)
Pakistan: At the Crosscurrent of History by Lawrence Ziring (preeminent historian of Pakistan traces the country's path from independence through the Cold War, 9/11, and war on Terror. 400 pp.)
Opening Mexico: The Making of a Democracy by Julia Preston and Samuel Dillon (account of democratic revolution that unfolded over 30 years in Mexico, toppling the "perfect dictatorship" of its ruling party. 608 pp.)
Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire, from Columbus to Magellan by Hugh Thomas (history of Spain's first 30 yrs. in the Americas. 832 pp.)
To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World by Arthur Herman (world's greatest navy eliminated Spanish hegemony, shaped the Atlantic economy, colonized North America and thwarted Napoleon. 352 pp.)
The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry (Barry follows the course of a global disaster, influenza. An obvious analogy to our age, when SARS, AIDS, West Nile and other viruses move more easily than ever along our trade routes. 560 pp.)
Plagues and Poxes: The Impact of Human History on Epidemic Disease-2nd edition by Alfred Jay Bollet, M.D. (author of acclaimed Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs, presents an updated version of his 1987 work on epidemics with new material on bio-terrorism. 156 pp.)
Scientific American Iventions and Discoveries: All the Milestones in Ingenuity--from the Discovery of Fire to the Invention of the Microwave Oven by Rodney Carlisle (400 expertly written entries highlighting the history of human ingenuity. 512 pp.)
The Conclave: A Sometime Secret and Occasionally Bloody History of Papal Elections, Michael Walsh (survey of papal elections from earliest times to present day. 176 pp.)
American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman who defied the Puritans, by Eva LaPlante (story of America's founding mother. 288 pp.)
Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma by Camilla Townsend (Townsend used the literature of 17th century English colonization for a full-blooded portrait of Pocahontas and the relationship between settlers and natives. We see Pocahontas as a young child, influential princess visiting Jamestown, and as an English gentlewoman in London. 240 pp.)
Nero by Edward Champlin (new, even startling re-evaluation of the most famous Roman emperor. Champlin asks the question: "What makes Nero so fascinating?" 368 pp.)
Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to Sept. 10, 2001 by Steve Coll (Chronicles CIA operations in Afghanistan from the Soviet invasion to the rise of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. 720 pp.)
Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror by Anonymous (Best selling expose by 22 yr. CIA terrorist and Usama bin Laden expert explains why we are losing the war on terror. 336 pp.) **I recommend reading "The 'Anonymous' Brief," in December's Atlantic (2004), pp. 50-52 also.
OSAMA: The Making of a Terrorist by Jonathan Randal ("a trenchant look into the life and mindset of one of the world's most mysterious, menacing, and important figures."--Publisher's Weekly quote. 352 pp.)
Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography by Bruce Chilton (portrait of Catholic Church's premier thinker and founder from the critically acclaimed author of Rabbi Jesus. 336 pp.)
A Concise History of the Catholic Church by Thomas Bokenkotter (one volume history updates the famous 1979 edition that brings the Catholic Church up to present day. 512 pp.)
God's Soldiers: Adventure, Politcs, Intrigue, and Power--A History of the Jesuits by Jonathan Wright (unbiased look at one of the most celebrated, mysterious, and often despised religious order of the Catholic Church. Jesuits were global missionary soldiers. 512 pp.)
The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter that Transformed the Middle East by Abraham Rabinovich (using mostly Israeli sources )author reported the conflict for the Jerusalem Post)Rabinovich tells the whole story of 1973 Yom Kippur War. The 6 day War and Yom Kippur War may have been the keys to stronger US support of Israel beginning with President Nixon. 515 pp.)
Native American Hunting and Fighting Skills, Colin F. Taylor Z(superbly illustrated volume focuses on changing character of American Indian hunting and fighting skills under the impact of confrontation with the Europeans and environmental changes they made. 123 pp.)
Theodora: Empress of Byzantium by Paolo Cesaretti (this biography reads like a novel and was originally written in Italian. 353 pp.)
The Oxford History of Byzantium, ed. by Cyril Mango (only history to provide in concise form detailed coverage of Byzantium from its Roman beginnings to the fall of Constantinople and assimilation into the Turkish Empire. Includes lively essays and beautiful illustrations. 305 pp.)
The Spartans, Paul Cartledge (Cartledge spices the story with discussions of Spartan personalities such as Helen of Troy, wife of the Spartan King Menelaus, and Gorgo, wife of the hero of Thermopylae, Leonidas. Excellent chapter on Spartan women famed for their sexual liberation, indomitable spirit and sharp tongues--"Come back with your shield--or on it!!" 281 pp.)
Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid, 2001 (Rashid is a Pakistani author seen on American news shows who traces the evolution of the Taliban in Pakistani madrassas (mosque schools) and their nuturing by the Pakistani CIA -ISI- into the Soviet-Afghan War and takeover of Afghanistan politics. Usama bin Laden's role is also outlined. Interesting account of modern Silk Road through Kyber Pass and US and foreign oil interests. 242 pp.)
The Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky (Kurlansky, author of COD and SALT, began his career as a foreign correspondent writing about the last years of Francoism in Spain, especially in the Basque provinces, hmmm...do I smell a POV? 361 pp.)
The Fatal Shore: The epic of Australia's Founding, Robert Hughes 1987 (Hughes attempts to write the story of the 160,000 British convicts shipped to Australia by the British. Transporting, assignment and secondary punishment in colonial Australia was called by the British, "the System." Fatal Shore traces the felon origins of white Australia.
Salt: A World History, Mark Kurlansky (salt is the only rock we eat and Kurlansky takes us on a world history of salt referred to by Homer as "a divine substance." Plato described salt as especially dear to the gods. Kurlansky incorporates engineering, religion, and food into a great work.450 pp.
Joseph Campbell The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers. ( A anthropological, historical, religious, philosophical gem. 231 pp.)
The Ancient World in the Cinema, Jon Solomon 2001 (revised and expanded edition) (Solomon writes about cinema/film on the Ancient World from the 300 Spartans to Cleopatra to Spartacus. Mostly Greco-Roman and Egyptian plots. 324 pp.)
The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition, Caroline Alexander (Knopf, 1998)
Br. explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton had a mission in 1914: to reach the South Pole. He and his crew never made it. It's a miracle they even survived.
A History of God: The 4000-year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Karen Armstrong (Ballantine, 1994) bestseller, Dr. Armstrong traces the history of human thought about God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Her study begins with the Babylonian creation myth and proceeds to present day.
Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women, Geraldine Brooks (Anchor, 1996)
A realistic view of the life of contemporary Islamic women without the political or religious rhetoric.
Life and Death in Shanghai, Nien Cheng (Penguin, 1988) An extraordinary woman tells how she survived imprisonment, deprivation, and harassment during China's cultural Revolution.
The Return of Martin Guerre, Natalie Zemon Davis (Harvard, 1984) The strange story of Martin Guerre has inspired a play, two novels, an operetta, and a film. In this book a historian examines the tale of the famous imposter.
Wolfe Tone: Prophet of Irish Independence, Marianne Elliott (Yale, 1992) This is the story of Wolfe Tone, the 18th century Protestant who founded Irish Republican nationalism.
Crossing the Line: A Year in the Land of Apartheid, Wm. Finnegan (California, 1994) A white high school teacher describes his year in South Africa working in an apartheid-era "Colored" school.
Untouchable: An Indian Life History, James M. Freeman (Stanford, 1982) Anthropologist Freeman tells the life story of an "untouchable" named Muli.
Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, Daniel Jonah Goldhhagen (Vintage, 1997) Goldhagen's dense but provocative book has ignited a storm of controversy among Holocaust scholars.
The Africans, David Lamb (Vintage, 1997) Part Political history, part social history, and part travel tale, this is an excellent overview of modern-day Africa.
Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela (Little, Brown, 1995)
Napoleon, Felix M. Markham (New American Library, 1988)
Land of the Firebird, Suzanne Massie (Touchstone, 1983) cultural history of pre-revolutionary Russia.
Plagues and Peoples, Wm. H. McNeil (Anchor/Doubleday, 1998) role of disease in history, this book integrates demographic, ecological, political, and cultural perspectives.
Everything You Need to Know About Latino History, Himilce Novas (Plume, 1998) Question-and-Answer format history.
Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity, Sarah B. Pomeroy (Schocken, 2000) Drawing on archaeological research, hist. documents, and literature, the author illuminates a fascinating chapter in the history of Women.
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, Loung Ung (HarperCollins, 2000) true story of a young girl who witnessed, and survived, the atrocities of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime in late 1970's.
The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition, Antonia Fraser (Delta, 1993) This clear-eyed biography describes a woman who real life was much more interesting than the romantic legends would suggest.