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Big History: From the Big Bang to the…

Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present (edition 2007)

by Cynthia Stokes Brown

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133490,390 (3.53)7
Title:Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present
Authors:Cynthia Stokes Brown
Info:New Press, The (2007), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present by Cynthia Stokes Brown



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This is a fine introduction to the subject of big history, a sort of broad view of the universe, Earth, and humanity. There should have been some better fact-checking - the claim on page 7 that the cosmic microwave background is "3 degrees Celsius, just as predicted by the Big Bang," is embarrassing (It's just under 3 degrees KELVIN, the equivalent of 270 degrees BELOW ZERO Celsius). Such an egregious error so early on makes it difficult to take anything in the book at face value. ( )
  waitingtoderail | Jun 21, 2016 |
Vast subject, covering the formation of the earth and solar system, gradual development of life and animal species, and finally the evolution of man. The book attempts to cover the history of mankind, but can only highlight major developments and peoples in this limited space. Nonetheless, the coverage is good, although in audio format, I did not think the narrator, Teri Clark Linden, was as polished as many other professionals. I'd also say that if you're running out of time or patience by the time you hit the last chapter, you can omit it without missing anything. ( )
  batcheller | Feb 21, 2013 |
Very nice concise overview. Broad brush strokes applied competently. ( )
  SymphonySil | Jan 11, 2012 |
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Recognizing that the international community is on the horns of a dilemma [the environmental impact of spectacular economic growth since 1945], world historians must look beyond development for an organizing principle. The new narrative of world history must have ecological process as its major theme. It must keep human events within the context of where tehy really happen, and that is the ecosystem of the earth. The story of world history, if it is to be balanced and accurate, will inevitably consider the natural environment and the myriad ways in which it has both affected and been affected by human activities. 
-- J. Donald Hughes, ed. The Face of the Earth: Environment and World History
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We are all whirling about in space on a small planet, bathed for part of each day in the light and warmth of a nearby star we call the sun.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Beginning with the very origin of the universe, American Book Award–winning author Brown (Ready from Within: Septima Clark and the Civil Rights Movement) shows that history is more than the written records of the gadfly species Homo sapiens. In a multidisciplinary narrative subtly emphasizing the mutual impact of people and planet, Brown covers Earth's history from the big bang through the development of life and the growth of civilization. Nice concrete details give immediacy to the most remote events: The gold in the ring on your finder has to be more than 4.5 billion years old. Brown's story covers the globe, encompassing the Mongols and Vikings, Mayans and Aztecs, as well as the Islamic Empire and Europe. Brown looks at the gold rush that followed Columbus's American voyages and the impact of chocolate, tomatoes, potatoes, tobacco and chili peppers on European habits. In a blink the Industrial Revolution and world wars lead to the new millennium. While much of the story is familiar, Brown's writing lucidly knits each topic into a vast historical mosaic. This exciting saga crosses space and time to illustrate how humans, born of stardust, were shaped—and how they in turn shaped the world we know today. 33 b&w illus. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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An epic for our time, Big History begins when the universe is no more than a single point the size of an atom, squeezed together in unimaginable density, and ends with a twenty-first-century planet inhabited by 6.1 billion people. It's a story that takes in prehistoric geology, human evolution, the agrarian age, the Black Death, the voyages of Columbus, the industrial revolution, and global warming. Historian Cynthia Brown visits the Vikings, the Mayas and Aztecs, the Incas, the Mongol empire, and the Islamic heartlands. Along the way she considers topics as varied as cell formation, population growth, global disparities, and illiteracy, creating a stunning synthesis of historical and scientific knowledge of humanity and the earth we inhabit. Big History represents a new kind of history, one that skillfully interweaves historical knowledge and cutting-edge science. In an age of global warming, when the fate of the earth hangs in the balance, scientific advances permit us to see the universe as never before, grasping the timescales that allow us to understand the history of mankind in the context of its ecological impact on the planet. Cynthia Brown's lucid, accessible narrative is the first popularization of this innovative new field of study, as thrilling as it is ambitious. - Publisher.… (more)

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