Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Human Web: A Bird’s-Eye View of World History

J. R. McNeil and William McNeil

A rather short and general account by which to try to trace a world history. The main conceptual development, focusing on networks and specifically webs that frame larger human communities is a persuasive one, on the whole. It is rather general however, and limits the argumentative force of the book by making the main idea seem a bit vague and watered down. This aspect isn’t helped by the line by line style of writing, or even the two authors, seeming to express a main ambivalance as to whether the book is a specialist path-setting work of historiography or a general history intended for the wider public. The tension is not entirely a productive one.

Worse than: After Hitler by Konrad Jarausch.
Better than: History after the Three Worlds by Arif Dirlik

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