A History of Civilizations

A History of Civilizations

Book - 1994
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Baker & Taylor
The French historian takes an anti-ethnocentric look at the broad, continuing sweep of the history of civilization since the eighth century. By the author of The Structures of Everyday Life.

Blackwell North Amer
Fernand Braudel was one of the greatest historians of the twentieth century. A leading member of the Annales school, he rejected a narrow focus on Western warfare, diplomacy, and power politics, and opened up economic and social history to influences from anthropology, sociology, geography, psychology, and linguistics.
In the late 1950s, when the Annales approach was widely accepted in French universities, a major reform introduced the study of "the main contemporary civilizations" into the final year of secondary schools. Traditionalists attacked the new stress on the social sciences and eventually triumphed, but Braudel was firmly committed to such changes. This marvelous survey of world history, the last of his books to be translated into English, was originally intended for French "sixth-formers."
Yet its real value is far more permanent. Even an "educational story," Braudel once suggested in a lecture, can become a "tale of adventure," provided the historian manages to "find the key to a civilization" and is not afraid of simplicity - "not simplicity that distorts the truth, produces a void, and is another name for mediocrity, but simplicity that is clarity, the light of intelligence." Such a light shines throughout A History of Civilizations.
After an introductory section examining the nature of cultures and civilizations, their continuities and transformations, Braudel surveys broad historical developments in almost every corner of the globe: the Muslim world - from the rise of Islam to post-colonial revival; Black Africa - from the slave trade to the dilemmas of development; the Far East: China, India, the maritime states and Japan; Europe - from the collapse of the Roman Empire to political union; the European civilizations of the New World: Latin America and the United States; the English-speaking universe: Canada, Southern Africa, Australia, and New Zealand; and the other Europe: Russia, the USSR, and the CIS.
For this excellent translation, Richard Mayne has gently updated the text. And yet, as he explains in his Introduction, very little was necessary. Braudel always had an astonishingly firm grasp on the broad sweep of history - a grasp which, "in the hands of a master, can help explain the most dramatic convulsions in the past, the present, and the future."

Publisher: New York : A. Lane, 1994
ISBN: 9780713990225
0713990228
Branch Call Number: 909 BRAUD
Characteristics: xl, 600 pages : maps ; 24 cm
Notes: Includes index

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