Any summary of world history is bound to be laughably crude and incomplete. Even multi-volume or semester-long attempts to distill the innumerable events of our watery planet fail to capture the fullness and depth of the story. But this is no reason to abandon the pursuit of historical knowledge.
History is a story. It grants us access to the laboratory of human experience. It helps us understand people, societies, and our connections to them. It contributes to empathy and moral understanding. History teaches us how the world works.
This world history book is shorter than most and, therefore, it is even cruder and more incomplete than most. If you have the time to read a multi-volume history of the world, we recommend that you do. But in the meantime, this short book tells an abbreviated version of the unlikely story of the forces, events, and people that have changed the world – a version that you can read in about an hour.