World History Encyclopedia

by Alfred J. Andrea, General Editor
Carolyn Neel, Associate General Editor and Volume Editor


In order to broaden our perspective and gain the deeper understanding necessary to function effectively in today's global arena, we need to focus on "big picture" trends and phenomena—religion and philosophy, science and technology, political organization, art and culture, population changes, environmental interactions, human migrations—across many countries and regions, rather than dwelling on the dates and details of traditional country-based history. This is what study of world history in the 21st century requires—and what ABC-CLIO's World History Encyclopedia provides.

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Cover image for World History Encyclopedia

March 2011


Pages 7743
Volumes 21
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics World History/General
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An unprecedented undertaking by academics reflecting an extraordinary vision of world history, this landmark multivolume encyclopedia focuses on specific themes of human development across cultures era by era, providing the most in-depth, expansive presentation available of the development of humanity from a global perspective. Well-known and widely respected historians worked together to create and guide the project in order to offer the most up-to-date visions available.

A monumental undertaking. A stunning academic achievement. ABC-CLIO's World History Encyclopedia is the first comprehensive work to take a large-scale thematic look at the human species worldwide. Comprised of 21 volumes covering 9 eras, an introductory volume, and an index, it charts the extraordinary journey of humankind, revealing crucial connections among civilizations in different regions through the ages.

Within each era, the encyclopedia highlights pivotal interactions and exchanges among cultures within eight broad thematic categories: population and environment, society and culture, migration and travel, politics and statecraft, economics and trade, conflict and cooperation, thought and religion, science and technology. Aligned to national history standards and packed with images, primary resources, current citations, and extensive teaching and learning support, the World History Encyclopedia gives students, educators, researchers, and interested general readers a means of navigating the broad sweep of history unlike any ever published.


  • Contributions by a team of over 800 historians, anthropologists, sociologists, and other academics, focused on a world-based view of history, including well-known researchers as well as innovative newcomers who have made remarkable contributions. This multi-faceted approach offers a work that combines orthodox views with creative new perspectives
  • Twenty-one volumes covering the breadth of human history, in nine eras: Beginnings of Human Society; Early Civilizations, 4000–1000 BCE; Classical Traditions, 1000 BCE–300 CE; Expanding Regional Civilizations, 300—1000; Intensified Hemispheric Interactions, 1000–1500; The First Global Age, 1450–1770; The Age of Revolutions, 1750–1914; Crisis and Achievement, 1900–1945; Promises and Paradoxes, 1945–Present
  • General chronologies plotting large-scale changes in human organization, in areas such as population flow, technological development, and the evolution of social and political institutions
  • Hundreds of images and maps, plus charts and bibliographies
  • A wide range of primary source excerpts (some translated into English for the first time) giving students firsthand exposure to the raw materials of historical research


  • No other reference offering a thematic presentation of world history provides such depth and breadth of coverage
  • Designed to meet and exceed state and national standards, giving instructors, librarians, and curriculum specialists an innovative work of impeccable scholarship, reliable content, and practical utility
  • Covers world history both chronologically and thematically, making it possible for researchers and students to take any number of paths through history
  • Begins with an overview volume that describes the organization of the encyclopedia and introduces students to the methods, principles, and driving questions that motivate researchers in this field
Author Info

Alfred J. Andrea, PhD, is professor emeritus of world history at the University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. His published works include Contemporary Sources for the Fourth Crusade and The Human Record: Sources of Global History. In 2002, he served as Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Louisville, where he offered a multidisciplinary seminar on early world history. He served as vice president of the World History Association from 2007 to 2009 and as president from 2009 to 2011.

Carolyn Neel, PhD, is project editor for ABC-CLIO and teaches web courses for Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, AR. Her research and teaching focus is in the field of World History. She served as Program Chair and Treasurer of the World History Association for the years 2007–2009. Prior to her work at ABC-CLIO, she wrote the web content and nine of the episodes of the Annenberg Bridging World History series.

Mark Aldenderfer, PhD, is dean, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts at the University of California, Merced, CA. His published works include Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory–476 C.E. and Montane Foragers: Asana and the South-Central Andean Archaic.

Wilfred J. Bisson, PhD, is professor emeritus, Keene State College, Keene, NH. His published works include
Global Connections: The World in the Early Medieval Age 600–900 and Countdown to Violence: the Charlestown Convent Riot of 1834.

D. Harland Hagler, PhD, is associate professor and assistant chair of the History Department at the University of North Texas, Denton, TX. His research focus is on the United States South. He received both his MA and PhD at the University of Missouri, Columbia, MS.

Kevin M. McGeough, PhD, is assistant professor of archaeology at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. His published works include ABC-CLIO's The Romans: New Perspectives, a volume in the Understanding Ancient Civilizations series.

William E. Mierse, PhD, is professor of art history and classics at the University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. His published works include Sardis from Prehistoric to Roman Times: Results of the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis, 1958–1975 and Temples and Towns in Roman Iberia: The Social and Architectural Dynamics of Sanctuary Designs from the Third Century B.C. to the Third Century A.D.

Alexander Mikaberidze, PhD, is assistant professor of European history in the department of history and social sciences, Louisiana State University in Shreveport, LA. His books include The Battle of Borodino: Napoleon versus Kutuzov and The Russian Officer Corps of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, which received First Prize at the 2005 Literary Awards of the International Napoleonic Society.

Dane A. Morrison, PhD, is professor of early American history and former chair of the Department of History at Salem State College in Salem, MA. He is author of A Praying People: Massachusett Acculturation and the Failure of the Puritan Mission 1600–1690 and editor of American Indian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Contemporary Issues.

Fred Nadis, PhD, is project editor for ABC-CLIO. His published works include Wonder Shows: Performing Science, Magic, and Religion in America as well as articles and essays in numerous publications, including the Atlantic Monthly. He is a past fellow at the Smithsonian Institution's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

James H. Overfield, PhD, is professor emeritus of history and past chair of the Department of History at the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT. His published works include Humanism and Scholasticism in Late Medieval Germany, Sources of Twentieth-Century Global History , and The Human Record—Sources of Global History, coauthored with Alfred J. Andrea.

H. Micheal Tarver, PhD, is dean, College of Arts and Humanities at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, AR, and a member of the Grupo de Analisis Socio-Politico de Venezuela at the Universidad de Los Andes in Merida, Venezuela. He is also editor of the World History Bulletin. His published works include five books on Venezuelan history.

Jack Waskey, PhD, is professor of social science in the Department of Social Science, Dalton State College, Dalton, GA. He teaches courses in philosophy, world religions, and politics and is a specialist on John Calvin. Waskey is the author of numerous academic articles and is currently working on a book on the political thought of John Calvin.



"Overall, this massive undertaking is quite an impressive resource for students of world history. Academic libraries with significant history, anthropology, or archaeology collections would do well to add this to their collection, as would large public libraries."Booklist, Starred Review

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