Watersheds of World History
This is every text book and Jeopardy history question neatly tucked into 186 pages. This book lends itself to highlighting the “important” parts of history, human events, and how our moral codes have been altered and adapted to meet our needs as an ever changing society, taking us from regions to individual countries and states, from vague ideas of a higher power to organized religions.
It’s a great primer to get a general idea of our past and, as the author encourages, stands as a starting point to find things you may want to research further and really dig in to.
It’s important to note that this isn’t simply a chronological listing of things deemed important by history. Taylor demonstrates a great understanding of the matters at hand, a deep knowledge that is required to not only highlight these matters but illustrate how they’re all tied together.
I had a couple small issues with this book:
1) It’s due strictly to my personal taste but the first 30 pages or so seemed rather slow and maybe a teensy bit dull. This changed rapidly when the text switched to the Roman Empire and carried the reader swiftly through the rest of the book.
2) It’s oddly formatted in that the text changes from regular print to a heavy bold font on and off, several times in each chapter and section. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the change and it easily distracts the reader from absorbing the texts. If it was meant to highlight areas the author hoped the reader would pay special attention towards, it failed in that respect. There was simply too much of the book in bold print. I’d venture to guess between 35-40%. Way too much.
Overall, I was impressed with Taylor’s knowledge and understanding of so many complicated issues. His writing and editorial choices make it easy to understand for a reader that may not unfamiliar with certain points and periods, flowing easily from one watershed moment to the next. It’s a good read that I’d recommend to anyone who may be a bit of a history or political fan. It’s a great jumping off point to learn more about so much of our political, religious, and moral arcs throughout our past.
Disclaimer: The author contacted me and sent me a free copy of this book to read and review.