Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mankind: The Story of All of Us by Pamela D. Toler

genre: non-fiction, history

What this book is, simply, is a book about the history of humanity, from our first societies until the present day.  It focuses on major themes and turning points that have changed things so drastically that civilization was never the same.  From the Ice Age to the first farmers, the history of weaponry and wars,  food production, trade and communication, revolutions and explorations - Mankind reads chronologically but draws grand comparisons.  It's a very colorful volume, visually, the text is very accessible to non-historicans.  There are many small vignettes throughout, giving a personal-type narrative to how a certain event or period would be reflected in the life of a singular person's experience. There are also maps and text-boxes that give in-depth descriptions of different terms and concepts.  

I found it fascinating.  I would carry this giant book around in my bag and read it whenever there were spare moments (and it's a heavy one!).  I feel so much better informed about the history of the world.  I loved the part about exploration and how it affected both native cultures and the larger globe.  My only complaint, and why I am giving it four stars instead of five, is that while throughout the entire book we really got a world-wide history, the last bit of the book is heavily western-hempisphere and USA-based.  It kind of petered out and got a bit muddled at the end without wrapping up in the grand way I'd imagined based on the quality of the rest of the text.  It didn't spoil it, I just expected more.

If you have any passing interest in world history, this gave me a lot to think about and I feel like a better informed global citizen.

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