A Day in a Working Life

300 Trades and Professions through History

by Gary Westfahl


From prehistory to present day, individuals with occupations such as astronomer, novelist, and soldier have played a role in determining the course of history.

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Cover image for A Day in a Working Life

April 2015


Pages 1373
Volumes 3
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics World History/Culture
  Politics, Law, and Government/General

Ideal for high school and college students studying history through the everyday lives of men and women, this book offers intriguing information about the jobs that people have held, from ancient times to the 21st century.

This unique book provides detailed studies of more than 300 occupations as they were practiced in 21 historical time periods, ranging from prehistory to the present day. Each profession is examined in a compelling essay that is specifically written to inform readers about career choices in different times and cultures, and is accompanied by a bibliography of additional sources of information, sidebars that relate historical issues to present-day concerns, as well as related historical documents.

Readers of this work will learn what each profession entailed or entails on a daily basis, how one gained entry to the vocation, training methods, and typical compensation levels for the job. The book provides sufficient specific detail to convey a comprehensive understanding of the experiences, benefits, and downsides of a given profession. Selected accompanying documents further bring history to life by offering honest testimonies from people who actually worked in these occupations or interacted with those in that field.


  • Provides detailed, interesting essays describing more than 300 professions and occupations across a broad range of eras, including the 21st century, and from around the world, which will give readers a wider understanding of how people have supported themselves throughout time
  • Supplies historical primary documents that provide personal perspectives on past occupations
  • Offers fascinating information on how professions began, who did them, and continuity in occupations across time, such as that 18th-century journalists were often imprisoned for displeasing those in authority, and yet 21st-century U.S. journalists may still spend time in jail for refusing to reveal their sources
Author Info

Gary Westfahl, is adjunct professor at the University of La Verne in La Verne, California. He has authored, edited, or coedited 24 books, including Praeger’s Science Fiction, Children's Literature, and Popular Culture: Coming of Age in Fantasyland; ABC-CLIO’s The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders; and The Spacesuit Film: A History, 1918–1969.



"Westfahl has collected a tremendous amount of information about trades and professions throughout human history, and this set is recommended for most public and academic libraries."—Booklist

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