Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Historical Atlas of the Medieval World by John Haywood

book cover

Historical Atlas of the Medieval World, AD 600-1492
by John Haywood

Hardback: 96 pages
Publisher: Barnes and Nobles Books
Released: 2002

Source: Bought used through Amazon.

Book Description from Book Flap:
The Historical Atlas of the Medieval World offers a fascinating guide to the history of humanity from the emergence of Islam to the voyages of Christopher Columbus. Combining superbly detailed maps with a wealth of supporting narrative and an invaluable A - Z historical encyclopedia, it provides not only unique perspectives on the broad sweep of world history but also detailed coverage of regional developments, presenting hard facts and expert interpretation in a form that is both readily accessible and visually exciting.

Central to the atlas is a series of world maps that present an overview of the grand themes of history at key dates between AD 600 and 1492. They chart the shifting patterns of human settlement and the rise and fall of empires and states, reviewing in addition the spread of trade and exploration on a world scale. These snapshot surveys are then followed by regional maps that look more closely at the great events of each era--the flowering of medieval Europe and the Renaissance, the far-flung Islamic empire of the Arabs, Tang and Song China, and the dynamic Mongol and Inca empires. Equally illuminating insights are also given into the less familiar history of medieval Japan, the empire of Harsha in India, the first African empires, and the Thai state of Nan Chao. All the maps are supported by a wealth of annotation, succinct accompanying essays, and summary timelines, and they are also backed by a network of useful cross-references, an index, and a substantial encyclopedic section that provides an A-Z guide to the people, places, and events that made their mark on history.

Planned with both the expert and the amateur historian very much in mind, the Historical Atlas of the Medieval World forms a highly accessible, beautifully presented survey that will prove ideal for quick reference or more leisurely browsing.

Historical Atlas of the Medieval World gives an overview of world history for 600 AD - 1492 AD. It didn't give much information on any one event but instead showed the shifting of power on a world scale.

Each 2-page spread had a map, a timeline, and text that tied the timeline and the map together. The text also explained how events in individual empires or countries interacted with the whole to affect overall power shifts. The full-color maps were packed with information but were also easy to read.

The altas divided the world into five areas: Americas; Europe; Middle East; Africa; and East & South Asia. The first series of maps and timelines gave an overview of the major events in all of these five areas at once as well as other details (like were they a nomadic society, a empire, a state, etc.). Then the altas focused on each of the five major areas in turn and covered their major events in more detail. At the back, there was a A-Z guide to the people, places, and events that were mentioned in the text. It gave a summary about the subject and references to where it was mentioned in the text.

Overall, I found this atlas interesting, visually appealing, easy to use, and easy to understand. I'd recommend it to those who are interested in an overview of world history during this time period.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from "Viking Age Europe - 793-1050"
In eastern Europe, Swedish venturers known as Rus pioneered trade routes along the rivers of Russia to the Black and Caspian Seas, giving their name to the Russian state which developed at Novgorod around 862.

The Viking raids and settlements were prompted by developments within Scandinavia itself. By the late 8th century, power was becoming centralized, creating an intensely competitive society. For many, pirate raids overseas became a means to acquire wealth, a reputation, and an armed following to support their ambitions at home. Others, denied the chance to rule at home, sought to conquer lands for themselves and their followers abroad. Trade and land hunger, caused by a rising population, were other important factors in the Viking phenomenon.

1 comment:

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