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Authors: Alan Dale Daniel

Tags: #History, #Europe, #World History, #Western, #World

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BOOK: The Super Summary of World History
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Not
all
events
in
this
time
line
are
covered
in
the
text.

Taking the Long View

After about 1980, it is difficult to say what we are studying is “history” because it is still within the lifetimes of most people, and in such cases the
“long
view”
of history is lost. In fact, I would have to say that anything occurring after 1950 is probably not history. It is best that “history” is written by people who were not alive at the time of the events and not affected by the emotions of the time including emotions passed down from their parents or their friends. My writings herein on Vietnam suffer from the prejudices of my age and my political positions both at the time of the war and now in the aftermath of the war and its perceived impact on the war in Iraq and the War on Terror. Even writing about the Great Depression is somewhat hard because my dad was alive during the Depression and told me a lot about his experiences during that time; thus, my view is colored by those remembrances. However, no one is ever free of prejudices and history has a lot to do with forming those prejudices. Nonetheless, I have written this history to include the Cold War up to its end in 1989 but very little thereafter. So, readers, beware of what anyone says about events within their lifetime. The long view will sort it all out. For now, be aware that like it or not my prejudices will come through no matter how much I try to suppress them. This is true of everyone, although some may be better at avoiding the pitfalls than others. The key is to be aware that no one is without a point of view, and most people who want to write about anything have very strong points of view. Awareness is the key. Have fun!

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Introduction

We are going to do an extreme summary of world history with a heavy concentration on Western Europe and the United States of America. Using this method, we will first lay a foundation so the pieces of history will have a place to fit as we study them. It is like looking at the picture before you build a puzzle; it makes it easier. After reading this summary you should be able to pick up any detailed history book and quickly understand where the era fits into the total stream of history.

A little background on your author will help you understand his point of view. I was born in 1947 in Bakersfield, California, my dad died just after I graduated from High School, I earned a BA in history from San Fernando Valley State College (California State Northridge now) by working my way through, and then, from 1970 to 1975, I served as a helicopter pilot for the United States Marine Corps. While in the marines, I went to night school and earned my MBA from Pepperdine University. After the marines, I attended law school, obtained a JD from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1978, and passed the California bar that same year. I was a California attorney for over twenty-five years in both private and public practice. The City Attorney’s Office for the city of Bakersfield hired me in 1984 and I spent twenty years as their water law attorney (among many other things) leaving the city in 2004.

My thesis study for my history degree was Herodotus, probably the greatest historian ever, even though Thucydides was probably just as good. Both Greeks, both fun to read, and both about as impartial as a person can get while still breathing.

In this work I attempt to be impartial, as all historians should; however, I am prejudiced as all of us are, and by knowing that I am a staunch conservative Republican and a Christian will aid you in processing my writings, helping you know why I think some things are very important and others not so much. I like to compare events. How were the priesthoods in Egypt and the Dark Ages alike? Why didn’t China fall, as Rome did, into a complete collapse after conquest from outside invaders? Art in Europe seems to predict the future, but art in the East does not. Why is this? And so on. By comparing cultures and trying to notice similarities and differences between them, we can learn at a deeper level than simply memorizing bare sets of facts.

The history of our world can be divided into sections, and here are the ones we will use:

Prehistory
(before the written word—150,000 BC to about 8000 BC in the near east)

The most important events in human history occur here: agriculture, writing, societal organization

Ancient
history
(8000 BC to about AD 455 or the fall of Rome)

The rise of cities and complex administrative organizations

The
Dark
Ages
(AD 455 to AD 1300)

The failure and disintegration of Roman Western civilization and societal organization in Europe.

Renaissance
(AD 1300 to AD 1500)

Rediscovering ancient wisdom and moving beyond, with the help of science and the printing press

Age
of
Discovery
to
World
War
I
(1500 to 1914)

Europe finds out that the world is a large place, and then devours it while building a golden age of progress

World
War
I
(1914 to 1918)

WWI cracks the Western world, then the Great Depression shatters it as the West totters on the brink of total economic and social collapse

Interwar
Years
and
World
War
II
(1918
to
1945)

The entire world tumbles into another total war, and then crawls over broken landscapes into the future

Cold
War
(1945 to 1989)

As the world rebuilds and rearranges itself, a twilight war rages menacing all, and after it fades the future darkens yet again with new threats of religious wars without end

Postmodern
History
(End of the cold war in 1989 and beyond . . . well, a little beyond)

Technology makes breathtaking advances while humanity’s thoughts grow cold and dark. New wars erupt with new methods of killing. What will rule the future, destruction or progress? Does progress really exist?

The
invention
of
agriculture
and
animal
husbandry
was
THE
most
important
event
in
secular
history
. The invention of writing and the invention of the printing press were some of the next most important events, but nearly every historian will agree that without agriculture and animal husbandry the world would be a far different place. Religious folks will say the advent of their religious leader, such as Jesus Christ, Mohammad, or Buddha for example, was by far the most important event in history; however, that leads to a decision based solely on religion and a religious leader’s impact. A Christian is not going to say the birth of Buddha was more important than the birth of Jesus. Because of this, I will stay away from proclaiming the start of a religion as the most important event in history although the start of the great religions truly was of immense importance.

Just for fun, let’s guess at the top twenty events in world history (based on how they influence our present world), in order of importance (religion excluded). Here is my list. Does your list match?

Top 20 Events in History (my opinion)

1.
The
Invention
of
Agriculture
and
Animal
Husbandry
(8,500
BC)
.
The Neolithic Revolution.
This will also include the invention of spoken language, the wheel, metallurgy, social order (government), and the idea of god and an afterlife (maybe), to name a few other “minor” items that go along with 8500 BC.
As
far
as
importance,
nothing
else
comes
close.

2.
The
invention
of
writing
(5,000
BC).

3.
The
invention
of
the
Printing
Press
(AD
1430).

4.
The
Discovery
of
the
Scientific
Method
(AD
1469,
Natural History
published).

BOOK: The Super Summary of World History
5.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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