The history book Big ideas simply explained

Review From User :

Knowledge of the world is the first step to global citizenship!

Why teach history Why not add more hours of maths or technology instead There is so much students need to learn in order to be professionally successful later, and besides, they can check historical facts on the internet. Who ever needed to know anything about Mughal India to be an asset in the workplace Who needs it for recreation
For most educated people, historical knowledge is part of a cultural package they subscribe to, but which they do not value in the same way they value for example management, financial or technological skills. It is something they learn passively in their spare time, going to museums, reading the odd historical article, maybe even a book on a specific era of special interest. But why have students study it in school Wouldn't more English, math or science be better Or another language

History as such, in its global stretch from the Olduvai Gorge over early agricultural societies in the Mesopotamian river valleys to huge empires and later formation of modern nations, ideologies, conflicts, and inventions, is a neglected stepchild in most contexts, not least in school.

Considered something that can be scrapped without loss, it is frequently reduced to a mere stereotypical look at the most famous monsters and saints, heroes and villains. Instead of connecting historical and geographical knowledge to generate deeper understanding of development processes, history lessons are quite often reduced to watching themed documentaries, writing about random topics without context, showing "old-fashioned" pictures and reading historical adventure fiction. The argument is that general knowledge can be "looked up".

My experience, however, is that if we do not teach the basics anymore, students will not know what to look for. The inherent danger of that lack of context is vulnerability to naive acceptance of "alternative" facts. If we ask students to discuss and interpret something they do not know anything about, they are lost in an ocean of information they can't relate to. More often than not, the "debate" turns into mere speculation or fantasy argumentation based on personal history and parental beliefs.

The result is a fragmentary understanding of the causes and effects of developments, and difficulties to see history as a sequence in time, and a simultaneous global process. I guess all history teachers have their moments when they realise how little knowledge and understanding can be taken for granted without thorough engagement and dialogue with the students.

I remember correcting tests once in a staff meeting (secretly) and giving myself away by laughing out in loud frustration when reading the answer to the question:

"In what way did communication improve in Ancient Rome"

One student, who obviously had not listened to the lessons or studied at home, thought he could improvise an answer and wrote:

"They invented aeroplanes and that was good for transportation."

On a more serious note, history helps us explain to students what happens in the world today, and why it is worrying. It helps students see patterns, characteristics of successful or failing societies, and the impact of strong personalities on the course of history. Comparing a person to Hitler has become a general insult, a way to express utter disgust for the methods used to reach power, but who can still explain properly what were the social and economic causes for his rise, and how he used fear and propaganda to achieve his goals

To be able to establish an idea of timelines, cause-and-effect-chains, biographical information, and connections between different events, countries, and topics, we need overviews of global history.

We need reference books that offer structured information, and that refer back to different earlier sections, thus putting them into a wider context, adding quotes, primary sources, major events, and relationships between diverse historical questions over time and geographical borders. We need history books that look at ideas and people, in all parts of the world, and from different perspectives. And we need explanations in straightforward language, with as little regional bias as possible.

This book offers just that: an introduction to world history in clear layout. It is not a book for scholars, and there is plenty of detail left out, but it is a highly necessary book nonetheless. It is a first step to "real" history. A first step to learn about the events that demagogues like to quote out of context, a first step to an overview of humankind's mistakes that should not be repeated. A first step to learn about fights against oppression, for civil rights, and for democracies. And a first step to learn about dictatorship and propaganda.

It is an excellent book for students to consult, in order to have a knowledge basis to start from when they are faced with politicians who work with power play, denunciation, spreading of fear and demagoguery.

We study history to learn from the past, for a better future. This is an excellent way to start, with an appealing modern design.


Media Size : 50.1 MB

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