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(BBC)   10 things people want to see in world history books but are usually missing. And no, "a centerfold" did not make the list   (bbc.co.uk) divider line 65
    More: Interesting, Andrew Marr, University of Manitoba, German states, crop yields, chemical weapons, optics, human history, Charlemagne  
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6095 clicks; posted to Geek » on 25 Sep 2012 at 10:55 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-09-25 10:29:15 AM
That is interesting. I remember a college student activity treasurer explaining her approach to double entry bookkeeping: when credit and debit did not balance, and they never did, she added a fictitious entry to one to make them balance. I still don't know if she was incompetent or embezzling.
 
2012-09-25 10:36:25 AM
The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.
 
2012-09-25 10:52:31 AM
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition?
 
2012-09-25 10:59:40 AM
I always thought that we needed more info on the french revolution. it's wacky, and it's a little disappointing that american students never get an opportunity to pay attention to a revolution that was in many ways a whole lot more farked up then our little secession.
 
2012-09-25 11:07:29 AM
ZAZ
That is interesting. I remember a college student activity treasurer explaining her approach to double entry bookkeeping: when credit and debit did not balance, and they never did, she added a fictitious entry to one to make them balance. I still don't know if she was incompetent or embezzling.

Incompetent. If she was smart enough to embezzle, she'd be smart enough not to tell you she was doing it.

At my undergrad, nearly every student election had to be re-run do to irregularities. Apparently nobody bothered to tell the little darlings that returning officers aren't allowed to campaign at the polling place.
 
2012-09-25 11:08:07 AM
Errr, we spent a significant amount of time in middle school world history on Hammurabi's Code. Perhaps in England it is not focused on?
 
2012-09-25 11:08:53 AM

pute kisses like a man: I always thought that we needed more info on the french revolution. it's wacky, and it's a little disappointing that american students never get an opportunity to pay attention to a revolution that was in many ways a whole lot more farked up then our little secession.


I teach a few lessons on French Rev. It's one of those things the kids really enjoy once they get into it so I spend some time on it.

"Inherited" a small, replica guillotine from a colleague, should be fun this year.
 
2012-09-25 11:10:25 AM
I'm happy to see Hammurambi's Code on the list. If nothing else, maybe it'll shut up the farking Bible-thumpers who think our laws are based on the 10 Commandments. So few people have even heard of it, let alone understand its significance.
 
2012-09-25 11:11:58 AM

bhcompy: Errr, we spent a significant amount of time in middle school world history on Hammurabi's Code. Perhaps in England it is not focused on?


Then you were one of the lucky ones. I didn't hear about it until Freshman year high school and even then it was glossed over.
 
2012-09-25 11:12:56 AM
The headline raises a good question: which historical figure would we want to see a centerfold of?
 
2012-09-25 11:14:54 AM
England is an irrelevant island ruled by sociopaths?
 
2012-09-25 11:22:20 AM

brigid_fitch: bhcompy: Errr, we spent a significant amount of time in middle school world history on Hammurabi's Code. Perhaps in England it is not focused on?

Then you were one of the lucky ones. I didn't hear about it until Freshman year high school and even then it was glossed over.


i didn't hear about it until law school.
 
2012-09-25 11:22:31 AM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.


James Burke's Connections! I loved that show! For those who haven't watched it, it's a little dated, but definitely worth watching if you can get your hands on a copy of the series.
 
2012-09-25 11:22:41 AM

brigid_fitch: I'm happy to see Hammurambi's Code on the list. If nothing else, maybe it'll shut up the farking Bible-thumpers who think our laws are based on the 10 Commandments. So few people have even heard of it, let alone understand its significance.


The bible was written by god and hammurabi's code is based on it.

That settles that.
 
2012-09-25 11:24:31 AM

brigid_fitch: bhcompy: Errr, we spent a significant amount of time in middle school world history on Hammurabi's Code. Perhaps in England it is not focused on?

Then you were one of the lucky ones. I didn't hear about it until Freshman year high school and even then it was glossed over.


Strange... then again, same thing goes for pute kisses like a man talking about the French Revolution. We spent a lot of time on it in middle school and high school(both the revolution and France in general(for some reason I still remember having to write an enormous report on Eleanor of Aquitaine over spring break one year)). And this was a public school education
 
2012-09-25 11:25:33 AM
Pretty sure Hammurabi and the Seven Years' War were in my world history class. Maybe the latter was in my Euro History class though.

Agree on Alhazen, but double entry bookkeeping pales compared to the introduction of Arabic numerals and arithmetic to Europe by Fibonacci in the 13th century.
 
2012-09-25 11:25:51 AM

bhcompy: Errr, we spent a significant amount of time in middle school world history on Hammurabi's Code. Perhaps in England it is not focused on?


Well, that's the problem with the Mesopotamians. No one's ever seen them. No one's ever heard of their band.

Sargon, Hammurabbi, Ashurbanipal and Gilgamesh.
 
2012-09-25 11:26:31 AM

theorellior: The headline raises a good question: which historical figure would we want to see a centerfold of?


helen of troy (really curious to know what face let loose thousands of ships -- although, I don't believe that in real life, she had much to do, beyond coincidence, with the trojan war)

elizabeth bathory

queen elizabeth I

that was the first off the top of my head.
 
2012-09-25 11:28:14 AM

ApatheticMonkey: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.

James Burke's Connections! I loved that show! For those who haven't watched it, it's a little dated, but definitely worth watching if you can get your hands on a copy of the series.


At least some of it is on Netflix.

Which means I totally have to watch it now!
 
2012-09-25 11:31:13 AM
Most of that was covered in the classes that I took in high school. The two that were not were at least alluded to, Middle Easterners preserving knowledge and advancing science during the "Dark Ages" and the empires of SE Asia.
 
2012-09-25 11:32:02 AM

LazarusLong42: Pretty sure Hammurabi and the Seven Years' War were in my world history class. Maybe the latter was in my Euro History class though.

Agree on Alhazen, but double entry bookkeeping pales compared to the introduction of Arabic numerals and arithmetic to Europe by Fibonacci in the 13th century.


Yes, it was called the French and Indian war. A guy named George blunder on the frontier and started it.
 
2012-09-25 11:33:15 AM

ApatheticMonkey: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.

James Burke's Connections! I loved that show! For those who haven't watched it, it's a little dated, but definitely worth watching if you can get your hands on a copy of the series.


They're on Youtube.
 
2012-09-25 11:34:09 AM

bhcompy: brigid_fitch: bhcompy: Errr, we spent a significant amount of time in middle school world history on Hammurabi's Code. Perhaps in England it is not focused on?

Then you were one of the lucky ones. I didn't hear about it until Freshman year high school and even then it was glossed over.

Strange... then again, same thing goes for pute kisses like a man talking about the French Revolution. We spent a lot of time on it in middle school and high school(both the revolution and France in general(for some reason I still remember having to write an enormous report on Eleanor of Aquitaine over spring break one year)). And this was a public school education


we dealt with the french revolution a little in high school, but it was really unsatisfactory. Not until I studied more did i realize what was going on. in high school, they basically said, the french saw the american revolution and wanted to copy it. close your books and move on.

I studied the french revolution a lot in college, my last year of a philosophy degree spent a lot of time with the french enlightenment for some reason, which involved a lot of personal study into the revolution.

/ then, like the hammurabi code, we dealt with it a lot in law school. i'm in louisiana, so the code napoleon and the legal thought behind it is somewhat relevant to our own jurisprudence (though, it is important to note, we never had the napoleon code. the code took effect in france and her colonies in 1804. the louisiana purchase was 1803 -- so, tennessee williams got it wrong in a street car named desire... all the same, we modeled ours off the french)
 
2012-09-25 11:45:09 AM

theorellior: The headline raises a good question: which historical figure would we want to see a centerfold of?


Cathrine the great, I hear she was pretty kinky.
 
2012-09-25 11:47:31 AM

pute kisses like a man: bhcompy: brigid_fitch: bhcompy: Errr, we spent a significant amount of time in middle school world history on Hammurabi's Code. Perhaps in England it is not focused on?

Then you were one of the lucky ones. I didn't hear about it until Freshman year high school and even then it was glossed over.

Strange... then again, same thing goes for pute kisses like a man talking about the French Revolution. We spent a lot of time on it in middle school and high school(both the revolution and France in general(for some reason I still remember having to write an enormous report on Eleanor of Aquitaine over spring break one year)). And this was a public school education

we dealt with the french revolution a little in high school, but it was really unsatisfactory. Not until I studied more did i realize what was going on. in high school, they basically said, the french saw the american revolution and wanted to copy it. close your books and move on.

I studied the french revolution a lot in college, my last year of a philosophy degree spent a lot of time with the french enlightenment for some reason, which involved a lot of personal study into the revolution.

/ then, like the hammurabi code, we dealt with it a lot in law school. i'm in louisiana, so the code napoleon and the legal thought behind it is somewhat relevant to our own jurisprudence (though, it is important to note, we never had the napoleon code. the code took effect in france and her colonies in 1804. the louisiana purchase was 1803 -- so, tennessee williams got it wrong in a street car named desire... all the same, we modeled ours off the french)


It sounds like the extent of history most people get is essentially watching History of the World Part 1. I honestly find it strange, but I guess I was very lucky. My son now goes to the same schools and is getting a similar education(currently in 7th grade.. this year he's learning about Middle Eastern cultures and history, Mesopotamia, hajj, Egypt, etc.. last year was European and Chinese history). I weep for America if what I experienced is a rare scenario
 
2012-09-25 11:48:16 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: ApatheticMonkey: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.

James Burke's Connections! I loved that show! For those who haven't watched it, it's a little dated, but definitely worth watching if you can get your hands on a copy of the series.

They're on Youtube.


Brilliant!

Also, I'm a fan of Eugen Weber's "The Western Tradition" series. It's also on YouTube, mostly. Here's a playlist.
 
2012-09-25 11:48:23 AM
Many of those would be good additions, but aren't Hammurabi's Code and Simon Bolivar already standard fare in history courses? This is BBC, so maybe not in UK schools.

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.


Ditto. Ever since I was turned on to Burke and van Doren in the mid 80s, I've thought that most high school courses could/should coordinate their curricula so that they're all teaching their subjects along the same timeline as the others. Start in 9th grade with basic science, etc., then beginning in in 10th grade you start with early human history and move through 11-12 coordinating the subjects you mention. It brings a lot more meaning and it's much easier to pick up the cycle of human advancement (scientific discovery leads to a philosophical change which leads to political change, rinse and repeat).

Barring that, if I were a history teacher I'd probably toss into the closet whatever textbooks they issued and go with something like:

Grade 9: Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything"
Grade 10: James Burke's "Connections" and "The Day the Universe Changed"
Grade 11: Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage" and Thomas Hughes' "American Genesis"
Grade 12: Daniel Yergin's "The Prize"
 
2012-09-25 11:57:21 AM

LazarusLong42: Pretty sure Hammurabi and the Seven Years' War were in my world history class. Maybe the latter was in my Euro History class though.

Agree on Alhazen, but double entry bookkeeping pales compared to the introduction of Arabic numerals and arithmetic to Europe by Fibonacci in the 13th century.


Hey now, no damn college perfesser hippie better be goin and tryna teach mah kids that numbers was invented by no dirty mooslim terrists!!
 
2012-09-25 12:14:47 PM

bhcompy: pute kisses like a man: bhcompy: brigid_fitch: bhcompy: Errr, we spent a significant amount of time in middle school world history on Hammurabi's Code. Perhaps in England it is not focused on?

Then you were one of the lucky ones. I didn't hear about it until Freshman year high school and even then it was glossed over.

Strange... then again, same thing goes for pute kisses like a man talking about the French Revolution. We spent a lot of time on it in middle school and high school(both the revolution and France in general(for some reason I still remember having to write an enormous report on Eleanor of Aquitaine over spring break one year)). And this was a public school education

we dealt with the french revolution a little in high school, but it was really unsatisfactory. Not until I studied more did i realize what was going on. in high school, they basically said, the french saw the american revolution and wanted to copy it. close your books and move on.

I studied the french revolution a lot in college, my last year of a philosophy degree spent a lot of time with the french enlightenment for some reason, which involved a lot of personal study into the revolution.

/ then, like the hammurabi code, we dealt with it a lot in law school. i'm in louisiana, so the code napoleon and the legal thought behind it is somewhat relevant to our own jurisprudence (though, it is important to note, we never had the napoleon code. the code took effect in france and her colonies in 1804. the louisiana purchase was 1803 -- so, tennessee williams got it wrong in a street car named desire... all the same, we modeled ours off the french)

It sounds like the extent of history most people get is essentially watching History of the World Part 1. I honestly find it strange, but I guess I was very lucky. My son now goes to the same schools and is getting a similar education(currently in 7th grade.. this year he's learning about Middle Eastern cultures and history, Mesopotamia, ...


In regards to History, I don't necessarily have a problem with the heavy focus on American/State history, however it is a problem that with each grade you cover the SAME exact thing. Year after year, until you get to High School you learn the exact same friggin stuff. Then you take Geography and European History, then back to US History. Asia? Africa? What? Those aren't covered almost at ALL. I didn't even get a glimpse of Egyptian History until college with surprisingly an ART HISTORY class. I graduated HS in 2002 and we effectively stopped right before the Vietnam War. Arguably the most important history, semi-current history is NOT taught because it is the last chapter or so in the textbook. So if they have time, and if kids are paying attention then because it is almost Summer or Christmas time, maybe you MIGHT get to current history...

Let's be real here also, they only teach in a manner for students to pass a test or standardized test. "Learning" does not happen in school anymore. Memorize for test, take test, pass, move on.
 
2012-09-25 12:21:44 PM

BretMavrik: Many of those would be good additions, but aren't Hammurabi's Code and Simon Bolivar already standard fare in history courses? This is BBC, so maybe not in UK schools.

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.

Ditto. Ever since I was turned on to Burke and van Doren in the mid 80s, I've thought that most high school courses could/should coordinate their curricula so that they're all teaching their subjects along the same timeline as the others. Start in 9th grade with basic science, etc., then beginning in in 10th grade you start with early human history and move through 11-12 coordinating the subjects you mention. It brings a lot more meaning and it's much easier to pick up the cycle of human advancement (scientific discovery leads to a philosophical change which leads to political change, rinse and repeat).

Barring that, if I were a history teacher I'd probably toss into the closet whatever textbooks they issued and go with something like:

Grade 9: Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything"
Grade 10: James Burke's "Connections" and "The Day the Universe Changed"
Grade 11: Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage" and Thomas Hughes' "American Genesis"
Grade 12: Daniel Yergin's "The Prize"


The Prize pretty much opened my eyes in college about that interconnection, how I had studied global security and energy policy and military history but to reimagine WW2 in my mind with oil taking such a prominent driving role (e.g. Rommel in Egypt) really changed how I conceptualized a lot of things.

Actually saw the 8-part (wonderful) doc on I think PBS first, the read the book.

That said, as a highschooler I'm not sure I would've grasped/appreciated the significance in the same way. Hated studying history and politics until I got older, now it's my favorite.
 
2012-09-25 12:32:41 PM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.


I was lucky that I was in accelerated classes in High School and part of an experiment called the "IDEA" program in that for two year in high school I had a three hour bl
 
2012-09-25 12:35:26 PM

Mawson of the Antarctic: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.

I was lucky that I was in accelerated classes in High School and part of an experiment called the "IDEA" program in that for two year in high school I had a three hour bl


Sorry, hit submit by accident (iPhone)

This three hour block was called "Humanities" and was team taught by the History, Art, Literature, and Music teachers together so when we got to Romanticism we exposed to ALL facets within it. That more than anything helped developed my inclusive attitudes towards history and the arts. Makes a lot more sense when things are placed in context.
 
2012-09-25 12:38:17 PM

theorellior: The headline raises a good question: which historical figure would we want to see a centerfold of?


Lady Godiva seems an obvious choice.
 
2012-09-25 12:41:58 PM

BretMavrik: Many of those would be good additions, but aren't Hammurabi's Code and Simon Bolivar already standard fare in history courses? This is BBC, so maybe not in UK schools.

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.

Ditto. Ever since I was turned on to Burke and van Doren in the mid 80s, I've thought that most high school courses could/should coordinate their curricula so that they're all teaching their subjects along the same timeline as the others. Start in 9th grade with basic science, etc., then beginning in in 10th grade you start with early human history and move through 11-12 coordinating the subjects you mention. It brings a lot more meaning and it's much easier to pick up the cycle of human advancement (scientific discovery leads to a philosophical change which leads to political change, rinse and repeat).

Barring that, if I were a history teacher I'd probably toss into the closet whatever textbooks they issued and go with something like:

Grade 9: Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything"
Grade 10: James Burke's "Connections" and "The Day the Universe Changed"
Grade 11: Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage" and Thomas Hughes' "American Genesis"
Grade 12: Daniel Yergin's "The Prize"


Bill Bryson's book is in my top ten of important books! His breakdown of Snowball Earth and the fact that whatever our ancestors we had at the time numbered in the low thousands which yielded the billions of us today solidified the idea of how fragile our existence is.

I would also add John Julius Norwich's History of Byzantium series as a very engaging, chatty history of a not very popularized aspect of our background (the real Roman Empire after the Latins) and filling in the gaps from 300 AD to the Renaissance.

Also Larry Gornick (and others) have done a marvelous collection in The Cartoon History of the World Series. Very engaging as it's in comic form, but surprisingly indepth and readable. Plus, the footnotes and resources are the most extensive I've ever seen. Great lists of books to read.
 
2012-09-25 12:42:12 PM

Chevello: LazarusLong42: Pretty sure Hammurabi and the Seven Years' War were in my world history class. Maybe the latter was in my Euro History class though.

Agree on Alhazen, but double entry bookkeeping pales compared to the introduction of Arabic numerals and arithmetic to Europe by Fibonacci in the 13th century.

Hey now, no damn college perfesser hippie better be goin and tryna teach mah kids that numbers was invented by no dirty mooslim terrists!!


It's ok, they've kinda rested on that for about 1000 years. Also, they got numerals from India, so, what are ya gonna do?
 
2012-09-25 12:45:59 PM

Egoy3k: theorellior: The headline raises a good question: which historical figure would we want to see a centerfold of?

Cathrine the great, I hear she was pretty kinky.

chunky

FTFY
 
2012-09-25 12:47:56 PM

Mawson of the Antarctic: This three hour block was called "Humanities" and was team taught by the History, Art, Literature, and Music teachers together so when we got to Romanticism we exposed to ALL facets within it.


My college did this and threw in Architecture, Creative Writing, Poetry, Comparative Religion, and a few odds and ends. It took care of all your electives all by itself. It met five days a week and multiple times a day on certain days.
 
2012-09-25 12:50:11 PM

the money is in the banana stand: In regards to History, I don't necessarily have a problem with the heavy focus on American/State history, however it is a problem that with each grade you cover the SAME exact thing. Year after year, until you get to High School you learn the exact same friggin stuff. Then you take Geography and European History, then back to US History. Asia? Africa? What? Those aren't covered almost at ALL. I didn't even get a glimpse of Egyptian History until college with surprisingly an ART HISTORY class. I graduated HS in 2002 and we effectively stopped right before the Vietnam War. Arguably the most important history, semi-current history is NOT taught because it is the last chapter or so in the textbook. So if they have time, and if kids are paying attention then because it is almost Summer or Christmas time, maybe you MIGHT get to current history...

Let's be real here also, they only teach in a manner for students to pass a test or standardized test. "Learning" does not happen in school anymore. Memorize for test, take test, pass, move on.


Regarding teaching the same thing every year, I agree to a degree, but more towards the difference between the government class and american history class you take in high school and the same courses that are required in general ed in college(US Government and US History are GE requirements in every California public college, which is the extent of my knowledge regarding these things). Those courses really were the exact same thing. Monumental waste of time.

Yes, I learned about the American Revolution in middle school and again in high school, but I learned from a different angle with more experience and more focus on nuances that they deliberately exclude from teaching a 12 year old. Paul Revere is a great topic for middle school or even elementary school. On the other hand, the political machinations were more the focus high school, securing assistance from the French, Spanish, and Dutch, Indian involvement, etc. I don't mind that so much, really, as there is a lot to learn there, but it needs to be balanced with learning about the world as well. I know that I received next to nothing on the First Persian Empire, outside of how they interacted with the Greeks(who were featured), despite how important of a civilization it was.
 
2012-09-25 12:53:21 PM
I had a really good World History class. However, my classes showed most countries history independent from the rest of the world. A nice comparative cultural timechart history of the world (which are now available) that shows how the timelines match up against what other regions of the world were doing at the same time period would have really been useful. I was in college before I really began to understand why many countries of the world did what they did because of things happening in other regions of the world.
 
2012-09-25 12:56:14 PM

Mawson of the Antarctic: BretMavrik: Many of those would be good additions, but aren't Hammurabi's Code and Simon Bolivar already standard fare in history courses? This is BBC, so maybe not in UK schools.

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.

Ditto. Ever since I was turned on to Burke and van Doren in the mid 80s, I've thought that most high school courses could/should coordinate their curricula so that they're all teaching their subjects along the same timeline as the others. Start in 9th grade with basic science, etc., then beginning in in 10th grade you start with early human history and move through 11-12 coordinating the subjects you mention. It brings a lot more meaning and it's much easier to pick up the cycle of human advancement (scientific discovery leads to a philosophical change which leads to political change, rinse and repeat).

Barring that, if I were a history teacher I'd probably toss into the closet whatever textbooks they issued and go with something like:

Grade 9: Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything"
Grade 10: James Burke's "Connections" and "The Day the Universe Changed"
Grade 11: Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage" and Thomas Hughes' "American Genesis"
Grade 12: Daniel Yergin's "The Prize"

Bill Bryson's book is in my top ten of important books! His breakdown of Snowball Earth and the fact that whatever our ancestors we had at the time numbered in the low thousands which yielded the billions of us today solidified the idea of how fragile our existence is.

I would also add John Julius Norwich's History of Byzantium series as a very engaging, chatty history of a not very popularized aspect of our background (the real Roman ...


If you're not afraid of reading quite a lot of material, The Story of Civilization by Will & Ariel Durant comes in eleven thick volumes and is pretty comprehensive.

The Story of Civilization is brought to life in eleven volumes: (1) Our Oriental Heritage; (2) The Life of Greece; (3) Caesar and Christ; (4) The Age of Faith; (5) The Renaissance; (6) The Reformation; (7) The Age of Reason Begins; (8) The Age of Louis XIV; (9) The Age of Voltaire; (10) Rousseau & Revolution; and (11) The Age of Napoleon.

For the student of history, instead of paying a fortune collecting piecemeal books that cover various historical events and eras, buy this set instead. It is the equivalent of one-stop shopping. This set is a fantastic collection and if you are looking to find an all encompassing treatise of world history, this where to start. You will not be disappointed.
 
2012-09-25 01:01:30 PM
#11 An Ending?


I actually did not learn about any of those in school but thank god for the Civ series. I think I was introduces to all those but the obscure Austrian general.
 
2012-09-25 01:21:28 PM
Simon Bolivar, the code of Hummarabi, and the Seven Years' War aren't in British history texts?

Huh, wasn't expecting to feel superior to another country on primary education grounds, ever.

(The other ones are good suggestions, though. Especially Haber-Bosch Synthesis and the rise of Optics, tech has shaped the world a lot more than politics alone has and that needs to be impressed upon students if you want them to be remotely useful later in life.)
 
2012-09-25 01:34:08 PM
FTFA "Charlemagne didn't make the cut. Mughal emperor Aurangzeb did."

Not to discount the achievements of Aurangzeb, but farking Charlemagne didn't make the cut? He wasn't exactly a lightweight. I would chalk it up to the excesses of political correctness, but they left out Simon Bolivar too. You know, the man who liberated an entire farking continent from European colonialism. Fail.

I understand they're operating under some serious time constraints, but if you fail this hard maybe you should just quit.
 
2012-09-25 01:34:31 PM

brigid_fitch: bhcompy: Errr, we spent a significant amount of time in middle school world history on Hammurabi's Code. Perhaps in England it is not focused on?

Then you were one of the lucky ones. I didn't hear about it until Freshman year high school and even then it was glossed over.


I learned about it in 6th grade social studies (ancient world history). I'm surprised that it's apparently not more well known.
 
2012-09-25 02:25:40 PM
I can't imagine the code of Hammurabi being taught in the US. Explaining that slaves had even some theoretical rights in Iraq at the dawn of time (the overseer didn't exactly lose an eye if he knocked a slave's eye out, but there was a punishment) that the US never had while slavery existed (let alone the serfdom that existed between when Catherine the Great freed the serfs in Russia and roughly the 1920s).

Might make the little tykes question American Exceptionalism.

/loved connections
//less happy when I noticed that somehow Burke jumped from graphite to genetic engineering
///the same stuff, lampblack, was one of three ingredients used by Gutenberg for his ink
////makes about the same sense, none.
 
2012-09-25 02:48:01 PM
FTFA:
"No other scientist before him had used maths to prove this process, says Prof Jim Al-Khalili from the University of Surrey. "

I know what I'm leaving out of my history book.

/Yeah, it's correct but ewwww.
//I'll take my color with a side of u though.
 
2012-09-25 02:50:17 PM

TheSilverKey: FTFA:
"No other scientist before him had used maths to prove this process, says Prof Jim Al-Khalili from the University of Surrey. "

I know what I'm leaving out of my history book.

/Yeah, it's correct but ewwww.
//I'll take my color with a side of u though.


You sound Canadian.
 
2012-09-25 03:08:40 PM
I think I learned most of my History and World Cultures from reading the stacks of National Geographics
sitting around the house. Everyone knows you don't throw those away because you never know when your going need to them. ( I do come from a long line of hoarders) This was before the invention of the computer.
 
2012-09-25 03:37:04 PM
Unbiased view of history is also absent.

/Is that herp a derp I did?
 
2012-09-25 03:46:30 PM

Jim_Callahan: Simon Bolivar, the code of Hummarabi, and the Seven Years' War aren't in British history texts?

Huh, wasn't expecting to feel superior to another country on primary education grounds, ever.

(The other ones are good suggestions, though. Especially Haber-Bosch Synthesis and the rise of Optics, tech has shaped the world a lot more than politics alone has and that needs to be impressed upon students if you want them to be remotely useful later in life.)


It depends on the year. British history education tends to follow themes for a semester where it cover a variety of subjects in more detail than US history lessons tend to teach. They change the major areas from time to time. Of course it not really until you get to an older age and start using original sources, and analysis, instead of following the text of one textbook you really get a decent understanding.

The British textbooks also didn't cut out Thomas Jefferson to fit in room about how Newt Gingrich saved the world either. The horror.
 
2012-09-25 04:26:06 PM
On a related note, how about a reality show where younger guys who look like Michael Wood and Neal Oliver compete in pubs and clubs with Old Anglo-Saxon and Scots Gaelic to see which scores more poonany?
 
2012-09-25 07:16:17 PM

limeyfellow: Jim_Callahan: Simon Bolivar, the code of Hummarabi, and the Seven Years' War aren't in British history texts?

Huh, wasn't expecting to feel superior to another country on primary education grounds, ever.

(The other ones are good suggestions, though. Especially Haber-Bosch Synthesis and the rise of Optics, tech has shaped the world a lot more than politics alone has and that needs to be impressed upon students if you want them to be remotely useful later in life.)

It depends on the year. British history education tends to follow themes for a semester where it cover a variety of subjects in more detail than US history lessons tend to teach. They change the major areas from time to time. Of course it not really until you get to an older age and start using original sources, and analysis, instead of following the text of one textbook you really get a decent understanding.

The British textbooks also didn't cut out Thomas Jefferson to fit in room about how Newt Gingrich saved the world either. The horror.


The teaching also covers the subject into a lot of depth and has a lot of history to cover. The big chunks are Roman Britain, early Middle Ages, Tudor, industrial revolution and the Victorian era and the thirties through to the sixties. Each of those blocks covers enough to match the entire history of the US when you add in the Empire or Europe. That's without the dark ages, late Middle Ages, the civil war and the restoration.

2000 years of history and not enough time to teach it.
 
2012-09-25 09:19:31 PM
Or, you could just hand out free copies of Paradox Interactive games and tell the kids to plug away.
 
2012-09-25 10:51:49 PM
I'm guessing that most people who were "never taught" these pretty standard history lessons just weren't paying attention those days.
 
2012-09-25 11:21:54 PM

Seth'n'Spectrum: Or, you could just hand out free copies of Paradox Interactive games and tell the kids to plug away.


I destroyed geographic tests, including a school-wide geography competition, thanks in no small part to the DOS game Shadow President. Another program (not exactly a game) called Explorers of the New World taught me at least as much about the age of exploration as school ever did.

Rome: Total War with the Europa Barbarorum mod is like a fun-as-hell history book if you read about all the historical events when those windows pop up.

Hell, I'd guess a lot of kids born slightly after me learned to read (or at least to read well) in order to play text-heavy video games, which is why my kid(s) won't get to play anything with extensive voice work until they're older :-)

/ Deus Ex boils down to a study in Aristotle's three forms of government.
 
2012-09-26 12:15:25 AM

fallingcow: Rome: Total War with the Europa Barbarorum mod is like a fun-as-hell history book if you read about all the historical events when those windows pop up.


If you think the Total War series is informative, you'll be blown away by Europa Universalis or Crusdaer Kings.

/though without mods, you may end with some awkward "King of Alsace" moments.
 
2012-09-26 12:36:28 AM

the money is in the banana stand: I graduated HS in 2002 and we effectively stopped right before the Vietnam War. Arguably the most important history, semi-current history is NOT taught because it is the last chapter or so in the textbook.


I went to school in the 60's and WWII was definitely included, which happened 30 years prior. You graduated in 2002 and Vietnam (which happened 30-35 years earlier) was NOT included.

It's not because it's the last chapter in the book. It's because we stopped being the good guys.
 
2012-09-26 12:52:29 AM

BretMavrik: Many of those would be good additions, but aren't Hammurabi's Code and Simon Bolivar already standard fare in history courses? This is BBC, so maybe not in UK schools.

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.

Ditto. Ever since I was turned on to Burke and van Doren in the mid 80s, I've thought that most high school courses could/should coordinate their curricula so that they're all teaching their subjects along the same timeline as the others. Start in 9th grade with basic science, etc., then beginning in in 10th grade you start with early human history and move through 11-12 coordinating the subjects you mention. It brings a lot more meaning and it's much easier to pick up the cycle of human advancement (scientific discovery leads to a philosophical change which leads to political change, rinse and repeat).

Barring that, if I were a history teacher I'd probably toss into the closet whatever textbooks they issued and go with something like:

Grade 9: Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything"
Grade 10: James Burke's "Connections" and "The Day the Universe Changed"
Grade 11: Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage" and Thomas Hughes' "American Genesis"
Grade 12: Daniel Yergin's "The Prize"


I'd throw excerpts from 1491 and 1493 by Charles C. Mann in there too around the senior year. Some of the agricultural stuff might bore them, but 1491 goes a long way in challenging misconceptions about native American societies and 1493 does an excellent job of examining roots of globalization, from the effect of Spanish Colonial (Bolivian) silver on the worldwide economy to the role new American crops played in the rise and fall of nations. They're both fascinating.
 
2012-09-26 01:13:04 AM

MacWizard: the money is in the banana stand: I graduated HS in 2002 and we effectively stopped right before the Vietnam War. Arguably the most important history, semi-current history is NOT taught because it is the last chapter or so in the textbook.

I went to school in the 60's and WWII was definitely included, which happened 30 years prior. You graduated in 2002 and Vietnam (which happened 30-35 years earlier) was NOT included.

It's not because it's the last chapter in the book. It's because we stopped being the good guys.


Depends.. I graduated in 01. Had Nam, but also had textbooks in to the late 90s that had USSR on their "current" world map. Wonders of public education
 
2012-09-26 10:46:52 AM

bhcompy: MacWizard: the money is in the banana stand: I graduated HS in 2002 and we effectively stopped right before the Vietnam War. Arguably the most important history, semi-current history is NOT taught because it is the last chapter or so in the textbook.

I went to school in the 60's and WWII was definitely included, which happened 30 years prior. You graduated in 2002 and Vietnam (which happened 30-35 years earlier) was NOT included.

It's not because it's the last chapter in the book. It's because we stopped being the good guys.

Depends.. I graduated in 01. Had Nam, but also had textbooks in to the late 90s that had USSR on their "current" world map. Wonders of public education


I did 20th Century World History in Grade 12 in Canada in 1998. Socials 9-11 focussed on Canadian history (Grade 8 covered the thousands of years in which there wasn't a Canada). The course ostensibly stopped in 1980 (the year I was born) because that's when the textbooks were printed. We spent a week on 1900-1914, maybe a lecture on WWI, three agonising months on the interwar period, a bare week on WWII (which was the sole reason my friends and I took the course - I got 100% on the multiple choice unit test the day before Christmas vacation), and the last three weeks on 1950 - 1980. I don't know if that was standard at the time or if our teacher just really really liked the Depression.
 
2012-09-26 07:36:02 PM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.


James Burke is one of my personal heroes. I'm reading The Knowledge Web right now. Absoulely brilliant man. Anyone who has not seen Connections almost certainly does not understand how history really works.
 
2012-09-26 07:39:16 PM

brigid_fitch: I'm happy to see Hammurambi's Code on the list. If nothing else, maybe it'll shut up the farking Bible-thumpers who think our laws are based on the 10 Commandments. So few people have even heard of it, let alone understand its significance.


I was actually surprised to see it, since at least in my own experience, it's a common reference. I had no idea it might be obscure to anyone. I don't think I know anyone who didn't hear about it at some point. It's well known enough, at least, that Tom Weller lampooned it in his excellent Cvltvre Made Stupid. ("No running by the pool." - "If a man seeketh to park his ox, and another man rusheth to take his space, the aggrieved man may let the air out of the other man's ox." - and so on)
 
2012-09-26 07:45:19 PM

Smackledorfer: brigid_fitch: I'm happy to see Hammurambi's Code on the list. If nothing else, maybe it'll shut up the farking Bible-thumpers who think our laws are based on the 10 Commandments. So few people have even heard of it, let alone understand its significance.

The bible was written by god and hammurabi's code is based on it.

That settles that.


Well, except for the little issue of dates:

- Ten Commandments: c. 1446 BCE (supposedly)
- Code of Hammurabi: c. 1772 BCE

Hammurabi died c. 1750 BCE, three hundred years before scholars' best guess on the date that Moses would have received the tablets. Assuming that even happened.

Yes, I know it's a joke. But it's one unfornately hamped by the wet blanket of available facts.
 
2012-09-26 08:01:08 PM

LazarusLong42: ApatheticMonkey: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The one thing that history books don't do (and that James Burke did so well) is explain how all of history is connected. History, philosophy, literature, architecture, art, politics, music, religion, and science are all tied together and it often feels like they're all explored separately, instead of showing how one event flowed into another.

James Burke's Connections! I loved that show! For those who haven't watched it, it's a little dated, but definitely worth watching if you can get your hands on a copy of the series.

At least some of it is on Netflix.

Which means I totally have to watch it now!


All of it's available online, if you look for it. Someone posted a link to the whole series here awhile back. It's also all on YouTube, again if you look around, but the dedicated link was much better.

There are three Connections series (Connections, Connections 2, Connections 3). I can't stress enough how worthwhile it is to watch them all in order, both internally and in respect to each other. Each series is partly serialised, with references in later episodes to things from earlier ones. Meanwhile, Burke's style requires a little effort from the viewer, and with each successive series the pace gets faster, so it helps to have seen the earlier ones. A companion series, based on the book of the same title, is The Day the Universe Changed. While Connections focuses on the complex and highly interactive cause-and-effect aspects of the history of science and technology, TDTUC focuses on the cultural and philosphical consequences of those changes, including how they affect later change. It's all very heady stuff. I've gone through it all many times for many years, and I'm still learning from it.

For those of you who've never seen it, Burke is also very engaging and has a great sense of humour. Some bits are very subtle, but very rewarding if you catch them. (For example, at the end of the very first episode of the first series, "The Trigger Effect," he explains that people don't really know how to survive without civilisation anymore, even how to hitch up the first invention of civilisation, the plow. As he's talking, a careful viewer will note that he has hitched it up backwards.)

The other thing newcomers should know, it if helps to encourage you to check it out, is that all this is done very demonstratively. It's not just a guy talking. He goes to the places where things happened, and directly shows you what he's talking about. Modern-day elements are shown as they really are, and historical elements are reproduced with excruciating precision. (Again, sometimes with humourous bits added.)
 
2012-09-26 08:02:10 PM

Egoy3k: theorellior: The headline raises a good question: which historical figure would we want to see a centerfold of?

Cathrine the great, I hear she was pretty kinky.


That's apparently apochryphal, the stuff of vicious rumours spread by her political enemies. At least according to my historian mother.
 
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