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Main page » Dictionaries and Encyclopedias » Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History

Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History


"This pioneering Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History is designed to help both beginners and experts to sample the best contemporary efforts to make sense of the human past by connecting particular and local histories with larger patterns of world history."
--William H. McNeill, author of The Rise of the
and The Human Web

The Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History is the first true encyclopedic reference on world history. It is designed to meet the needs of students, teachers, and scholars who seek to explore -- and understand -- the panorama of our shared history of humans. Anyone who loves history -- including those who are making history today -- will find this work an endless source of fascinating, thought-provoking coverage of events, people, patterns, and processes.

The encyclopedia was developed by an editorial team of over 30 leading scholars and educators, led by William H. McNeill, Jerry H. Bentley, David Christian, David Levinson, J. R. McNeill, Heidi Roupp, and Judith Zinsser. Its 550 articles were written by a team of 330 historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, sociologists, geographers and other experts from around the world. The first copies arrived on 31 October 2004, the 87th birthday of senior editor Bill McNeill.


Unique Features

  • In-depth coverage of 250,000 years of human existence
  • Synthesis of knowledge from paleoanthropology, archaeology, geology, and geography
  • Emphasis on cultural contact and social change over time and place
  • Comparisons across time and place
  • Resource for AP World History classes and exam
  • Extensive coverage of arts, literature, religion, and science
  • Biographies of 100 leaders who shaped world history
  • Preface and major articles by senior editor William H. McNeill
  • "Book-within-a-Book" survey of Foraging, Agrarian, and Modern Eras by editor David Christian


  • Five volumes; 2,500 pages
  • 550 signed articles by 330 scholars
  • Overviews of core topics
  • 550 primary text sidebars
  • 500 illustrations and photos
  • 60 original maps; 30 historical maps
  • Preface and articles by William H. McNeill
  • Topical outline and comprehensive index

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