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A Concise Survey of Western Civilization


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Table of Contents

List of Diagrams, Figures, Maps, Primary Source Projects, Sources on Families, Tables, and Timelines Acknowledgments How to Use This Book 1. History's Story There's Method What Is Truth? Primary Source Project 1: Thucydides versus von Ranke about the Aim of History 2. Wanderers and Settlers: The Ancient Middle East to 400 BC The Apes' Cousins Bound to the Soil The Price of Civilization Sources on Families: Law Code of Hammurabi The Rise and Fall of Practically All Middle Eastern Empires Primary Source Project 2: Xenophon versus Herodotus about Reputation 3. The Chosen People: Hebrews and Jews, 2000 BC to AD 135 Between and under Empires Primary Source Project 3: Sennacherib's Annalist versus Chronicles Writer about Divine Favor Bound by Law Sources on Family: Deuteronomy 4. Trial of the Hellenes: The Ancient Greeks, 1200 BC to AD 146 To the Sea The Political Animal Metamorphosis Primary Source Project 4: Athenians versus Melians about the Rules of War The Cultural Conquest Sources on Families: Plato, The Republic 5. Imperium Romanum: The Romans, 753 BC to AD 300 World Conquest in Self-Defense The Price of Power The Absolutist Solution Primary Source Project 5: Galgacus versus Agricola about Motivations for Battle The Roads to Knowledge Sources on Families: Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Augustus 6. The Revolutionary Rabbi: Christianity, the Roman Empire, and Islam, 4 BC to AD 1453 The Son of Man Sources on Families: Paul, First Epistle to Timothy The Cultural War Primary Source Project 6: Paul versus Pliny and Trajan about the Value of Christianity Roma Delenda Est Struggle for the Realm of Submission 7. From Old Rome to the New West: The Early Middle Ages, AD 500 to 1000 Goths in the Garden Primary Source Project 7: Bad Bishops versus Benedict about Moral Rules Sources on Families: Tacitus, Germania Charles in Charge The Cavalry to the Rescue 8. The Medieval Melee: The High and Later Middle Ages, 1000 to 1500 Return of the Kings Discipline and Domination Sources on Families: Jacobus de Voragine, "The Life of Saint Elizabeth" Plenty of Papal Power Primary Source Project 8: Gregory VII versus Henry IV about Church versus State The Age of Faith and Reason A New Estate Not the End of the World 9. Making the Modern World: The Renaissance and Reformation, 1400 to 1648 211 The Purse of Princes Man as the Measure Primary Source Project 9: Witch Hunter versus Confessor about Belief in Witches Heaven Knows Sources on Families: Martin Luther, Table Talk Fatal Beliefs God, Greed, and Glory 10. Liberation of Mind and Body: Early Modern Europe, 1543 to 1815 Lost in the Stars From the Salons to the Streets Sources on Families: Jean-Jacques Rousseau,Emile, or On Education The State Is He (or She) (Prosperous) People Power The Declaration of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity Primary Source Project 10: Declaration of the Rights of Man versus Declaration of the Rights of Woman about Human Rights Blood and Empires 11. Mastery of the Machine: The Industrial Revolution, 1764 to 1914 Facts of Factories Life in the Jungle Sources on Families: George Sand on the End of Her Marriage Cleaning Up the Mess For the Workers Primary Source Project 11: Smiles versus Owen about the Good Life The Machinery of Nature 12. The Westerner's Burden: Imperialism and Nationalism, 1810 to 1918 "New and Improved" Imperialism From Sea to Shining Sea Nationalism's Curse Sources on Families: Ethel Howard, Potsdam Princes The Balkan Cauldron The Great War Primary Source Project 12: "In Flanders Fields" versus "Dulce et Decorum Est" about Death in War 13. Rejections of Democracy: The Interwar Years and World War II, 1917 to 1945 Decline of the West? Russians in Revolt Losing Their Grip Fascist Fury Hitler's Hatreds Sources on Families: Joseph Goebbels, "German Womanhood" The Roads to Global War Primary Source Project 13: Hitler versus Franklin D. Roosevelt about the Just Society 14. A World Divided: The Early Cold War, 1945 to 1980 From Friends to Foes Primary Source Project 14: Khrushchev versus Nixon about Competition Making Money Sources on Families: Shirley Chisholm, Speech on Equal Rights To the Brink, Again and Again Letting Go and Holding On American Hegemon The Uneasy Understanding 15. Into the Future: The Contemporary Era, 1980 to the Present The Walls Come Down Searching for Stability Different Folks Haves and Cannots Sources on Families: Supreme Court of the United States, Obergefell v. Hodges Values of Violence The Walls Go Up Again Primary Source Project 15: The European Central Bank versus the National Front about the EU Epilogue: Why Western Civilization? Timelines Common Abbreviations Glossary Index About the Author

About the Author

Brian A. Pavlac is professor of history at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he has served as chair of the department and a Herve A. LeBlanc Distinguished Service Professor. He is the author of Witch Hunts in the Western World: Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition to the Salem Trials; coauthor with Elizabeth S. Lott of The Holy Roman Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia; translator of A Warrior Bishop of the 12th Century: The Deeds of Albero of Trier, by Balderich; and editor of Game of Thrones versus History: Written in Blood.


Exceptionally well-written, engaging, and accessible. . . . Pavlac includes useful diagrams and charts throughout. . . that break down complex information into visual and easy-to-digest parts. . . . Perhaps the most important attribute of A Concise History of Western Civilization is that this is a text that students would actually read and understand. For many history professors, the first and most fundamental struggle is getting students to read and furthermore to read critically. Thus, the fact that the book is one that students will read, become engaged with, and understand makes it a valuable resource to teachers of Western Civilization. (Previous Edition Praise)--Teaching History: A Journal of Methods
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. (Previous Edition Praise)--Christopher M. Bellitto, Kean University
Written with the skill of a novelist, this book guides the reader step by step through the process of what a historian thinks, does, and interprets. Chapter content establishes the foundation for each future chapter with carefully selected questions, key word definitions, and ideas in bold type. This is the best-written textbook on Western civilization that I have had the pleasure to read in thirty-five years of teaching. (Previous Edition Praise)--William A. Paquette, Tidewater Community College
The book's conciseness and reasonable cost are very attractive. For a single-semester course that spans the three millennia, I preferred this book to competing texts, which are just too long, with too many 'facts.' Pavlac's writing is also a plus. His informal tone and his skillful movement from paragraph to paragraph give his work a readability that my students like very much. (Previous Edition Praise)--Robert Good, Mercer University

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