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The No-Nonsense Guide to World History (No-Nonsense Guides) [Paperback]

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Item description for The No-Nonsense Guide to World History (No-Nonsense Guides) by Chris Brazier...

Who was the first black queen? How much do you know about China's history? Most people's knowledge of world history is hazy and incomplete at best. This No-Nonsense Guide to World History gives a full picture, revealing the hidden histories and communities left out of conventional textbooks-from the civilizations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America to the history of women.

It includes a final chapter on how climate change, 9/11, the Iraq war, corporate power, and China's headlong growth fit into the broader patterns of world history.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   144
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.9" Width: 4.3" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2006
Publisher   New Internationalist
ISBN  1904456472  
ISBN13  9781904456476  

Availability  0 units.

More About Chris Brazier

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Chris Brazier has been a co-editor of New Internationalist magazine since 1984. His previous publications include Vietnam: The Price of Peace and (as editor) Raging Against the Machine. Since 2001 he has also been principal writer for UNICEF's The State of the World's Children report.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Africa > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > Central America > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General
5Books > Subjects > History > World > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The No-Nonsense Guide to World History (No-Nonsense Guides)?

There has to be a better book !!  Dec 27, 2007
The most interesting part of this book was the overview of Chinese history. I very much enjoyed it, wished it was as detailed as the European sections - which is ironic because the author stated goal was not to be Euro-centric, and to cover the lives of the ordinary man and woman - especially woman.
The book is 137 pages of text, so he cannot go into great detail, but as an example about life for women in Europe around 800AD (page 52) Mr. Brazier writes that women ".....were taught every week at church about their inferiority to men in the eyes of God." Obviously we have to get past the fact that Mr. Brazier has absolutey no documentation supporting this claim that thousands of priests across all of Europe were sermonizing every week about the status of women. Unfortunately, statements like that greatly damage the credibility of the author. It is easy to critsize Christianity with documented facts, so why put out complete exeggerations? While at the same time, he does not give us one or two lines about what was going on in Africa, South America, Central America, Asian, North America. Tell us how those areas were different, the same, better or worse when it comes to the daily life of an ordinary man or woman.

To make the point he was wanting to make, Mr. Braziers himself ended up writing a Euro-centirc world history book. About 30 pages of 137, were devoted to 20th century Europe. If you include pre 20th century - about half the book was about Europe. Mr Brazier has an agenda that needs to get him to 20th century Europe.

A reviewer labeled Mr. Brazier a Marxist. I would have to agree. If you would like to see how a marxist thinks, get this book at the library -
A brief glimpse at how Mr. Brazier, the marxist views, event of the Russian Revolution and related communist 'achievements'.

1.On page 115 he states that "The Russain people found themselves attacked not only by anti-Bolshevik Russians but also Britain, France, Japan, Estonia and Poland.
The Bolsheviks survived - largely becuase the mass of people were behind them -but their attempts at revolutionary change were in tatters by 1921: agricultural production had collapsed so that the towns and cities went hungry: industrial production was not in much better shape: and drought caused a famine in which millions of peasants died."

Two Points:

1: In 1921 approximately 5 MILLION peasants died because Lenin ordered the Soviet army to take ALL of their food and split it among the military and the cities. There are documents written and signed by Lenin giving these directives. Mr Brazier would lead you to believe that the Russain people had a great struggle against all these countires attacking them, and with the combination of a drought millions of peasant died. Massive famines are always the product of govenrment policies. The collectivization of farms by Stalin resulted in the death of 3 - 5 million Ukrainians, it is discussed in some circles that it should be labeled a Genocide. Our Marxist author describes the sytematic starvation of millions of Ukranians on page 115 - 116 as follows: "By 1934 some 200,000 large collective farms had been created, to the disappointment of poorer peasants who had hoped that the Revolution might give them their own plot of land. The more prosperous peasants (the kulaks) were even more vigorously opposed to this and many thousand were either killed or sent to Siberain labor camps for 're-education'.

2: I do not know about Britian, France and Japan right off the bat, but Estonia and Poland were part of Czarist Russia, and around 1917 Russia is falling apart because of WW I. There is chaos and countires like Latvia, Lithiuania, Estonia, Poland seize the opportunity to gain independence from their Russian masters. At the same time Lenin was seizing power - he establishes a Soviet army and tiny countries like Lativia and Estonia have to fight against this new Soviet army to keep their independence. Poland in 1919 had to fight the Soviet Army because Lenin was wanting to get to Western Europe and help the potential revolutionary movements sprouting in germany and elsewhere, therefore he ahd to go through Poland first. His army failed.

Mr Brazier missed the entire point when writing this book - he should have noticed that all people - including his preciuos communists are brutal people. Yes, humans have bulit some nice things, written some nice songs, painted some nice pictures, but in the end humanity is ready to spill blood. In the 20th century European, African, SouthAmerican, and Asian communists murdered over 100 million of their OWN people - not because they are communists, becuase they are humans.

The idea of writing a non EuroCentric world history book is great - this book fails because the Authors agenda is to build a specific case against the West based on what it has done in the past, so he can present his anti-globalization/corporation ideas (WHICH I GENERALLY AGREE WITH - I just don't want to read about it in a book labeled the History of the world.)

Concise and Easy to Read  Oct 5, 2007
Yes this book had an ambitious task - describe human history in under 40,000 words. The author did an admirable job, with one caveat. As with all historians and he admits as much, he has a bias. Although the author is clearly liberal (no issue with that), but he has a pet project about women's rights, a great subject to cover to be sure, but it should be in the No-Nonsense guide to Women's Rights.

The big plus is this book puts into context and a sensible time line such well known names and places as the Roman Empire, Khubla Khan, the Celtics (historic not Basketball), why Europe has so many languages in such a small place. It skips the 1960s, "70s and 80's which is good - that is easy to cover elsewhere.

I read this book in a train trip from Boston to NYC - a very nice easy read. If you want to know how the world got to where it is, pick this book up. Ignore the author's bias, it isn't that obvious in most parts.
A most useful and excellent little book  Jul 5, 2006
This short book is an excellent introductory guide to some of the key aspects of world history that are not readily available in the more "standard" history books. It sheds some light on the people, struggles, and nationalities that are often overlooked. I highly recommend this book for those that may not have time for a thick 800-page volume but would still like to stay informed.

To answer some of the commentary left by a few reviewers:
1. This book, like any book that claims to be about "world history" cannot possibly contain all there is to know about the subject, that is impossible. If you spent more time actually reviewing the book (through the publisher's website) BEFORE you made the purchase rather than complaining about it after the fact you might have realized what the true, openly stated purpose of this book was. It was not to give an exhaustive account of world history, but rather to be a short introduction to people who may not have the time to read full-length historical works.

2. If by "PC" you mean respectful of minorities, not overly Euro-centric, not using offensive or demeaning language, and paying attention to the world's downtrodden and oppressed then this book is guilty as charged.

3. From a reviewer: "Take these ridiculous thoughts from p. 120: "Mao's dictatorial social engineering had its disastrous effects too - an estimated 20 million died in the famine caused by the Great Leap Forward...But the Chinese Revolution still deserves to be seen as a fantastic achievment."

Would you support the American Revolution? Would you, like me and virtually every other historian and political scientist say that it was a great step forward for humanity? If the answer is yes, again like me and every other historian, then I hope you would also agree that just because we recognize this does not mean we are a supporter of say 100 years of chattel slavery, treating women as second class citizens, giving the right to vote to white propertied men only, naked wars of aggression, rugged expansionism, and slaughter of native americans that have also undoubtedly killed millions of people.

4. "...just a warning to those (like myself) who prefer strong opinions stay in the editorial column if at all possible"

I do hope you are not serious. Many people, like myself, have very strong opinions on slavery, genocide, wars of aggression, womens rights, racism, segregation, gay rights, and lots more. If you want a history that does not have strong opinions, then stick to your high school textbook. Well no actually, that's wrong. Every history book is opinionated and biased: they give their opinion by selecting what gets put in the history book, what gets left out, what is emphasized and what isn't, and so on. It goes without saying that when a person writes a book he/she is obviously using his or her own opinion. An "editorial column" is entirely unnecessary.

It is always very scary to me when I hear people talk about being adverse to having "strong opinions." I shudder to think what kinds of people they would be when placed in 1930s Germany, 1500s England, 1800s America, or for that matter, the present day.

Obviously, not the kinds of people who make history; precisely the kinds that are relegated to the shadows and that of the passive spectator. Which is very useful for exploitative governments but very, very bad, and even at times disastrous for humanity.
Misleading title  Jun 7, 2005
The ambitious title of the book should have made me suspicious. The task of summarizing the worls history in a short world like this is very ambitious. The title of the series 'non-nonsense guide to..' I found misleading. A subject like world history is highly normative to begin with. I found the way the author handled it really idiosyncratic. The way the author handles the subject is from the 'other' viewpoint: The perspective of history that has received a very small proportion of attention in history writing up to 100 years ago. This is in itself is not a bad thing. What put me off was that the author found it necessary to disrespect the reader by adding adjectives all over the place, as if he was afraid that the reader would stroll from the 'politically correct' viewpoint. I think that best describes the viewpoint on world history the 'new internationalist' author takes: PC guide to History. In my opinion PC, for all its good intentions, creates a tunnel vision not unlike the 'Agitprop' of Communist hey-day. Everything is 're-interpreted' to fit the mold. As such this book is not for every-one: only for those that are 'believers' in a PC reinterpretation of history.

For me this book shows again there is no short-cut to learning about history, no quick guide. I am back to more serious 'long history' book such as those by Fernand Braudel or William McNeill.
Great book, but...  Apr 4, 2004
This book is a fantastic guideline to the history of humans on Earth. However, I was not pleased with how opinionated the author was at times, wasting entire pages on opinionated rants. Again, this book is a fantastic, just a warning to those (like myself) who prefer strong opinions stay in the editorial column if at all possible.

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