The Letters of William H. McNeill and David Christian: Leaving West Civ Behind


The Letters of William H. McNeill and David Christian is an edited selection of letters between William H. McNeill, an eminent American historian known for his 1964 bestseller and National Book Award winner The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community , and a younger scholar in Australia, David Christian, who is developing a new approach called Big History. As they discuss Christian's ideas, we see two great historians looking at historical frameworks such as Marxist thought, and discussing the relationship between history and natural history and the sciences. The result of this correspondence was McNeill's being convinced that Big History was, as he put it in his foreword to the resulting book Maps of Time , "Here, then, is a historical and intellectual masterpiece: clear, coherent, erudite, elegant, venturesome, and concise. It offers his readers a magnificent synthesis of what scholars and scientists have learned about the world around us in the past hundred years.

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Berkshire Publishing Group
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