Big History

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Books about a wide swathe of history from the creation of spacetime until now, even extending into what we can see of the future, plus the associated science/mathematics. Could cover smaller bits (e.g. evolution of multicellularity, or the history of Asia) but has to be wide-ranging in time or space or both. Popular books mostly.
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642 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: To give us an idea of the scale of the universe.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: To give us an idea of the scale of time.
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michelleqcy: Should be a good overview.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: David Christian is the originator of "Big History" and this is his latest book, which I presume to be the most up-to-date and best-written, which may not be true.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Just what is spacetime, anyway?
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michelleqcy: Not 100% sure this belongs, but understanding the Earth is necessary for understanding history.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: A textbook but supposedly very well-written. On here for the same reason as the previous book.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: The evolution of earth itself from rock to living planet.
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120 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: The origin of life is one of the big phase transitions in history.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Should be a good overview of the big phase transitions in evolution on earth, and give us some hooks to hang our hats on as we move through the next few books.
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2,521 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Not sure this belongs on the list yet.
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302 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Gotta understand microbes before we understand more complex organisms.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: I feel that a good understanding of ecology is necessary to understand history. I'm hoping this fills in the "plant life" gap. We'll see.
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1,846 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Supposedly an excellent book, and I feel an understanding of the dinosaur age and how it came to an end is important in history.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Not surprising that this is on here. I hope it lives up to the hype.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: DNA has been a major source of recent insight into human origins. I hope this gives a good oversight into what we've learned.
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132 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: The evolution of consciousness is another big bottleneck in world history. I'm not sure there are any good books about it but this seems like it may fit the bill.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: I wanted something about cave art. That this also delves into consciousness is helpful.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Stories are probably the crucial thing that differentiates us from animals (language more generally, but some species do approximate language - stories are clearer). What forms do our oldest stories take?
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3,637 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: A classic from Carl Sagan about yet another bottleneck, the evolution of intelligence. I'm not sure if human intelligence is too narrow. We'll see.
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3,320 medlemmer
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michelleqcy: Goes from ancient history through technology etc, but I think this would be a good book in conversation with Dragons of Eden, since intelligence plays a big part in information.
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michelleqcy: I think this is probably the best book going about how geography drives history.
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1,995 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Added here in conversation with "Origins", because as I understand it, Graeber's thesis is that individuals make a big difference in the sweep of world history rather than just things like geography. I suspect it's a "por que no los dos" situation.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: I know little about this book but I do know it tries to pry as much as we can possibly know about prehistory from a mixture of fields, so this probably belongs. I'll make a decision on it after I've read it.
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michelleqcy: Societies among other animals, displaying altruism etc, probably show how our own societies began.
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82 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: So humans have evolved...how do they band together?
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328 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Added this in conversation with the previous book. Understanding another kind of complex society - insect societies - is important in understanding our own. Not sure if this or E.O. Wilson's original "Insect Societies" is better, but this is certainly more up-to-date.
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1,100 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: A classic in anthropology. Hoping the patterns will be sweeping enough to make this book belong.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Something about the history of sexuality seemed apropos for this list.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Another anthro classic about basic human relations. Not sure if it belongs though. We'll see.
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4,017 medlemmer
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michelleqcy: May be a little modern in coverage, but I think social stratification is an important topic in history.
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2,745 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: First of the economic history books on here.
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2,008 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Religion is incredibly important in human history, but how did it arise? Not sure yet if this is the best book on the topic.
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46 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Hoping this will give some insight into comparative religion without getting bogged down by details.
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99 medlemmer
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af DK
468 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Should be a good overview of world history in cartographic form. Helps to see where things are taking place.
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287 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Urbanism was another big turning point in human history, and understanding it seems important.
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michelleqcy: For understanding how cities evolve to meet the needs of citizens.
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310 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Overview of ancient civilizations.
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259 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Overview of medieval civilizations.
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1,382 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Book on medieval civilizations, focusing more on medieval thought, to bridge with the Braudel book later, which is mostly focused on the modern era.
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772 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Second economic history book. I know little of it other than it seems to have good reviews.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Seems useful to have historical trade illustrated in map form.
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947 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: "There are only nine meals behind mankind and anarchy," said Alfred Henry Lewis in 1906. Understanding the history of food and farming seems important. There don't seem to a lot of good books on the topic but hopefully this will fill in the gap.
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24,778 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Probably the most prominent example of Big History, and one that historians aren't big fans of, but I figure you need to know what it says in order to criticise it.
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120 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Materials science in history
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73 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Human beings are technology-using animals, so a history of technology seems apropos. Hopefully will correct anything Diamond got wrong about technology's effect on history.
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2,460 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Technology and warfare are tightly connected, so I put this in conversation with the previous book.
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158 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Disease is, as we are all painfully aware, a big component in history. Hopefully will fix some of the deficiencies of Diamond on the germs part of Guns, Germs and Steel.
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892 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: A French view of the major civilizations of today.
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235 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: An overview of world history from the Treaty of Westphalia until now. Hope it's good.
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167 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: The empires of history and how they brought together different peoples are an important topic.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Actually a series of four volumes covering a large swathe of human history and how power dynamics played a part in their rise and fall. I know little about this series otherwise. May be removed.
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95 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Short book on the lessons of war from history. Not entirely sure it belongs here, I'll decide after reading.
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1,738 medlemmer
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michelleqcy: A more general "Lessons of History" which looks quite insightful. The Durants wrote a series of books about the history of civilization but they look a bit West-centric.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Not about history per se but the recurring laws that we see at all levels of organism and superorganism.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Should be an interesting read about the broad patterns behind history.
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82 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Another book by Turchin about cycles in human history. Not sure if this or War and Peace and War (or both) belong better here.
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1,154 medlemmer
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Hoping this will be a good read about the potential future of international dynamics.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: Unless of course climate change ends us first. The first of forward-looking books about where history will take us if we're not careful...or even if we are.
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michelleqcy
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michelleqcy: History will come to an end when the universe does.