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A History of Civilizations [Paperback]

By Fernand Braudel (Author) & Richard Mayne (Translator)
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Item description for A History of Civilizations by Fernand Braudel & Richard Mayne...

This groundbreaker by one of the premier historians of this century takes an anti-ethnocentric approach to the history of civilizations. This book focuses on the broad sweep of history rather than on the famous events. It covers historical developments in almost every corner of the globe, from the Muslim world and the Far East to Europe and the Americas. Includes maps.

Publishers Description
Written in 1962 as the basis for a history course, this curious book is a history of the civilizations of the modern world (from the 8th century on), written in terms of the broad sweep and continuities of history, rather than event-based. Starting with the civilizations of Islam and the Far East, Braudel takes a consciously anti-ethnocentric approach, which is in education terms almost as radical now, as it was when the French ministry of education rejected it as a basis for school history teaching in 1962.

Citations And Professional Reviews
A History of Civilizations by Fernand Braudel & Richard Mayne has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 693
  • New York Times - 07/30/1995 page 20
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1998 page 684
  • Library Journal - 08/01/1999

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Penguin (Non-Classics)
Pages   640
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.7" Width: 5" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 1995
Publisher   Penguin (Non-Classics)
Age  18
ISBN  0140124896  
ISBN13  9780140124897  
UPC  051488016953  

Availability  0 units.

More About Fernand Braudel & Richard Mayne

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Fernand Braudel was France's foremost post-war historian. He is best known for The Mediterranean in the Age of Philip II, Civilization and Capitalism and The Identity of France. Richard Mayne is a renowned translator of French. His other translations include Monet's Memoirs.

Fernand Braudel was born in 1902 and died in 1986.

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Product Categories

1Books > Foreign Language Books > French > All French Books
2Books > Foreign Language Books > French > History
3Books > Foreign Language Books > French > Nonfiction
4Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Early Civilization
5Books > Subjects > History > World > General
6Books > Subjects > History > World

Reviews - What do customers think about A History of Civilizations?

Agh!  Feb 11, 2008
I read this bookk when it was just published, years and years ago. Then, I was young and silly, and thought that the book was, well, so so. Now at 70 y.old.amd woth my Ph D., I read it again, now in English and I think it is really vomiting. It does not have any profondity, no insight into historical events, it skips names that "made" history,he jumps, like a grasshopper, from one century (!) to another without warning, his text is full of quotations with few original material. His conclusions, of each chapter, are so wrong that you doubt if he really ever went -as he says- to all the places he claims he did. What a waste of money, paper and ink.

It made me sick.

I hope you take it out from your lists


A Brief Survey of World History from a French Perspective, Circa 1963  Jan 17, 2006
Braudel writes well in French and the English translation is excellent. If you are looking for a comprehensive world history with great detail and thorough research, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a decent general survey of history written by a Frenchman during the height of the Cold War, then this is your book. Africa and the Americas don't get a lot of text and what little they get is extremely biased and fundamentally inaccurate, even for the time. I actually learned something new about East European, Russian and Indian history from this book.
A History of Civilizations  Dec 25, 2005
As an adult this is my second book on History. I think the book is good if you have some good historical background so you can follow the author's discussions. To me it was difficult because he doesn't approach history on a chronological basis but he goes back and forth in time as his ideas demand it. I would like to find more maps I think it would have helped to follow his arguments and also a reference more clear on which map to look at. You will probably need a world atlas anyway. I thought the treatment of Europe specially XIX century was thorough but Latin America's shallow. While reading the book I realized that only to tackle the job of writing a book on history is a huge job that can not be treated completely in one book, in consequence I think he should have avoided talking about music, languages, art and science because each one of those topics obviously deserves a book on its own. I think the book would be better if the information about growth rates and so on would have been presented in tables rather than in the text. It is a book that definetely deservs the read just make sure is not one of your first books on history.
The First and Still the Best Multidisciplinary World History  Nov 22, 2005
When Fernand Braudel originally published this text in the sixties, he became a pariah at the Sorbonne. In retrospect that disapprobation was the kind of seal of approval that "banned in Boston" came to embody. Previous histories drilled deep into one facet of history. Braudel's was a pioneering effort in multidisciplinary historical analysis. It captures the historical flow that evolves civilizations, sacrificing only the detail outside the themes. Even subsequent to "A History of Civilizations," other historians have been unable to write a thematic survey that matches this original. And don't be tempted to skip the "soft" introductory chapters with titles like "The Study of Civilization Involves All the Social Sciences," and "The Continuity of Civilizations." These tee up the hard topics, like "The Greatness and Decline of Islam." There's method in Braudel's approach, and it takes patience. Braudel's translator, Richard Mayne had his job cut out for him. The complex syntax is that of a French intellectual of the sixties, and it is retained in Mayne's text, but you become accustomed to it. Don't look for maps or photographs in this Penguin Paperback; the text alone is six hundred pages. There's only one other book in this space, "From Dawn to Decadence," by Jacques Barzun. In my view they are complementary.
West Africa gets the short end, yet again...  Jun 20, 2005
Very poor analysis of West African civilizations. For example, Ghana was a very significant Soninke empire in Western Africa, yet barely any attention at all is paid to it. To make matters worse, the author was so desperate to disregard it that he threw in a baseless and eurocentric statement that its capital may have been "founded by whites from the North". Fact is, there were no "whites" to the North. The only light skin berbers nearby were mixed-race "browns".

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