This lively text offers a brief, readable description of our common Western heritage. Providing a tightly focused narrative and interpretive structure, Brian A. Pavlac covers the basic historical information that all educated adults should know. His joined terms "supremacies and diversities" develop major themes of conflict and creativity throughout history. "Supremacies" centers on the use of power to dominate societies, ranging from warfare to ideologies. Supremacy seeks stability, order, and incorporation. "Diversities" encompasses the creative impulse that produces new ideas, as well as the efforts of groups of people to define themselves as "different." Diversity creates change, opportunity, and individuality.
These themes of historical tension and change-whether applied to political, economic, technological, social, or cultural trends-offer a bridging explanatory organization. The text is also informed by five topical themes: technological innovation, migration and conquest, political and economic decision making, church and state, and disputes about the meaning of life. Throughout, judicious "basic principles" present summaries of historical realities and primary source projects offer students the chance to evaluate differing points of view about the past. Written with flair, this easily accessible yet deeply knowledgeable text provides all the essentials for courses on Western Civilization.
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of pages: 528
Weight: 1288 g
Dimensions: 258 x 186 x 37 mm
Edition: Second Edition
This book is the way to go for a one-semester course: a text that's full, but not dense. It's well-informed and intelligently written, yet still accessible. The big-picture approach combined with guided questions keep students on track, while the writing is lively, anecdotal, and illustrative-a nice balance of the forest and trees. The concise nature of the text makes it particularly suitable for online or condensed semesters. -- Christopher M. Bellitto, Kean University
I liked the first edition, and I love the second. Concise, clear, with lively text, this new edition adds useful primary sources while retaining the strengths of the earlier edition. Brian Pavlac does an exceptional job in demonstrating to students how historians work, while providing them the tools to begin their own forays into the thickets of history. -- Judith Travers, Suffolk County Community College