This Fleeting World is the smallest book of big history, telling the story of the universe and history of humanity in less than one hundred pages. Prize-winning historian David Christian covers it all in this compact, accessible, and inspiring guide to the history of everything, from stars and empires to cities, the World Wide Web, capitalism, and globalization.
This Fleeting World: A Very Small Book of Big History, or the Story of the Universe and History of Humanity
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“What a quick, convenient, and persuasive way to begin to understand the confusing world in which we find ourselves!” –William H. McNeill
“I hope this book will introduce a wider audience to this gifted scientist and teacher.” –Bill Gates
This Fleeting World is the smallest book of big history, telling the story of the universe and history of humanity in less than one hundred pages. Prize-winning historian David Christian covers it all in this compact, accessible, and inspiring guide to the history of everything, from stars and empires to cities, the World Wide Web, capitalism, and globalization. David Christian’s approach to human history and big history is a call to action, based on a profound and fresh understanding of our place in the universe. This book is essential reading for our time.
David Christian asks big questions. Will contemporary challenges will lead to the emergence of a new global system capable of ecological, economic, and political stability? Or is the accelerating pace of change a prelude to a sudden, sharp collapse that will drive many parts of the world back to the productivity levels of the early agrarian era?
He presents our origin story and the history of women and men across the entire world, within the framework of the universe explaining, for example, that the chemicals we are made of come from supernovae. He tells the human story as a story of changes: changes in the ways we produce and distribute food, move from place to place, organize ourselves into communities, explore and populate our environment, and both create and respond to crises. He gives us maps of time, history on different temporal-spatial scales, and even offers paths to locate evidence that might challenge his big story.
Big history leads to strategies for building a more sustainable world, and Berkshire Publishing is proud to offer this new edition of a big history for our common future. The 2018 edition has been expanded and updated for the general reader; there is also an earlier edition designed for use with AP World History and other courses, which included a teachers’ guide.