How They Lived

An Annotated Tour of Daily Life through History in Primary Sources

by James Ciment
Foreword by Robert André LaFleur


How did refrigerators change daily life in the United States?

Print Flyer
Cover image for How They Lived

December 2015


Pages 871
Volumes 2
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics World History/Culture
  Popular Culture/General

Ideal for history majors, nonhistory majors taking history courses, as well as general readers, this book provides not only the primary documents and artifacts of ordinary people in history, but also annotations that help the reader put them into context and grasp their deeper meaning.

This two-volume work explores daily life across human history through primary sources, making use of this primary source material as well as detailed analysis to help readers understand and use these sources as evidence of how life used to be. The diverse selection of sources includes artifacts, inscriptions, histories, letters, and first-hand accounts, ranging from ancient times to the emergence of modern Europe to the present day. This set makes use of an innovative layout: facing pages contain a primary source selection on the left side, with the introduction and analysis on the right side. This facing-pages layout allows readers to access the text information and the primary source itself without any distracting page-turning.

Unlike most other books on history that relay key, momentous events in history and tales regarding kings and generals, aristocrats, and the highly educated, How They Lived: An Annotated Tour of Daily Life through History in Primary Sources includes significant coverage of ordinary people and interesting information about everyday life at all levels of society. As a result, this collection helps close the gap in what students of history are typically exposed to through its presentation of both written documents and images of artifacts.


  • Examines all of world history from the prehistoric era to the present day, in every region of the world, with a special emphasis on non-Western cultures
  • Features valuable material not readily found online, primary sources, and content specifically aligned to Common Core standards
  • Supplies introductory material, extensive annotation, and in-depth analysis that heighten readers' appreciation of the historic significance of the topics covered
  • Explains how to make use of primary sources in order to put the documents and artifacts in their historical context
  • Includes both written documents and artifacts, uniquely laid out to make the content more accessible to readers
Author Info

James Ciment, PhD, is an independent scholar and an editor of reference works in history and the social sciences. His published works include Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It. Ciment received his doctorate in American history from the City University of New York.



"This reference work should be of special interest to faculty preparing and teaching general survey courses in history and related fields of study. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduate and community college students; general readers."Choice

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

A Day in a Working Life cover imageThe Ongoing Columbian Exchange cover imageMummies around the World cover image
The Early Medieval World cover imageThe Celts cover imageEncyclopedia of the Black Death cover image

Product Search

Product Search

Publication Year



Need Help? Try our Search Tips