It is strongest in its use of Chinese and Environmental history, but very weak on economics, unless sourcing Neo-Marxist analysis. Unfortunately, this economic advantage, when combined with imperialism and colonialism, had devastating effects in other parts of the world. When it gets into the 20th century the author ceases to offer anything new or interesting. Sadly he overshoots and instead paints an explicitly anti-Eurocentric view which suffers from the obverse set of biases relative to the ones he set out to correct. The disease that killed many millions in Europe and Asia originated in China, and the existence of the Mongol Empire, spanning most of the Eurasian landmass, provided the vector for transmission to Europe by maintaining overland trade routes across the Eurasian steppe.
The inspiration for this book arose from two sources. I thought this was a terrific account of the development of global systems as we know them today. Which was exactly the point, right? Otherwise, it still is pretty effective at getting its point across that China, India, and Europe all basically were at parity in 1700 and only began to diverge from there. This book has a slow start in debunking previous notions of how the modern world came about, and the reader will have to be patience in order to appreciate the book. I always knew the Venetians gained a lot of wealth because the city was built upon marshes with unlimited salt supplies as a preservative.
This gives a different perspective on the roots of Western dominance that focuses much more on warring states and contingent factors that drove Britain rather than China to industrialization, rather than innate strengths within European culture that drove it to dominance. Along the same lines, Islamic empires and states feature prominently in the first half of the book, but quietly fade away after that with no clear explanation of why they have fallen out of the narrative. I regret that I didn't buy it in English, it would probably have earnt it a higher grade. However, Marks' assertions are backed by the most recent historical and scientific research as evidenced by examining his quality endnotes. Marks' argument is both convincing and approachable because he provi This is a superb book about world history, but it doesn't read like a history book. The author announces right at the start of the book that he has no intentions of looking at history from all perspectives in this book and indeed, wants to frame the history of the world of the last few centuries from a non-European perspective. Global history is key here by the way; by including the dynamics between the many important players such as China, India, the Islamic Empire in the world Marks is able to present a many-layered story of development that makes sense.
I regret that I didn't buy it in English It's an interesting book all right and it's good to get out of the Eurocentric view that he speaks of and see the global Picture instead. Small wonder, then, that Gandhi was able to use the symbolism of the spinning wheel to such effect in his efforts to gain independence from Britain. I learned about the triangle trades in a Latin American history course in 2012. Chapter one sets the stage for all the arguments that follow. If you want a more in-depth understanding of the evolution of the world economy, there may be better texts -- I was always partial to Wolf and his Europe and the People without History.
For example, The role of finance and energy esp. Several aspects of The Origins of the Modern World elicit praise. It was certainly thought-provoking, and I hope to weight its claims against other world histories. This is for assigning to undergrads and grad students as the first reading in a world or global history class. Marks is Richard and Billie Deihl Professor of History at Whittier College. Indeed, the desire to access the markets of China and India was a primary cause of European exploration.
A little ironic, given that Marks who is a Westerner himself, is criticizing the eurocentric narrative on account of the fact that it's always the White man who writes about the rest of the world. He lives in Whittier, California. A little ironic, given that Marks who is a Westerner himself, is criticizing the eurocentric narrative on account of the fact that it's always the White man who writes about the rest of the world. I was always under the impression that it never existed in the ancient world, that it was only discovered and consumed after the discovery of the new world. Designed for an introductory level college classroom, it is very readable without sacrificing the complexity of the discussion. This clearly written and engrossing book presents a global narrative of the origins of the modern world from 1400 to the present.
This development, combined with the technology of steam power and easily-accessed coal deposits next to the places that needed them an accident and a conjunction , allowed first England, then Europeans generally, to start down the industrial path. His writing style is somewhat academic but very readable. The attempt to demonstrate that world history was not completely a European-driven phenomenon is a much-needed addition to scholarship. Instead of stealing resources from their colonies, making products, then selling it back to them, all materials went into the war effort, leaving the colonies to produce everything on their own. By that I mean that it's not western-centric like many of the other volumes in the same category.
Marks also examines population and finds the Eurasian landmass holding about 70% of world population in 1400, as it does today. But they also had vastly different social and economic systems—one primarily free market capitalism the United States and the other state-planned socialism the Soviet Union —which each sought to project as a global model. I enjoyed reading this book because it enlightened me on the history of the world and provided me with a new insight on Eurocentric concepts which are mostly misinterpreted conjectures. The first of these in contingency, the argument that nothing preordained world history to turn out as it has. Under the biological old regime, the Chinese could produce everything produced in Europe, and at a lower cost. Where in Europe nationalism was mostly a conservative force that emphasized cultural, linguistic, and religious commonalities to blunt the class conflicts that grew along with industrialization, in Asia and Africa nationalism would have an explicit anti-imperialist content, often fueling socially revolutionary movements. Wanting to tell the story of world history from a viewpoint that is truly global, Robert Marks has written The Origins of the Modern World.