A Concise Survey of Western Civilization

A Concise Survey of Western Civilization : Supremacies and Diversities Throughout History

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This engaging text offers a brief, readable description of our common Western heritage as it began in the first human societies and developed in ancient Greece and Rome, then through the Middle Ages. Providing a tightly focused narrative and interpretive structure, Brian A. Pavlac covers the basic historical information that all educated adults should know. His joined terms "supremacies and diversities" develop major themes of conflict and creativity throughout history. "Supremacies" centers on the use of power to dominate societies, ranging from warfare to ideologies. Supremacy, Pavlac shows, seeks stability, order, and incorporation. "Diversities" encompasses the creative impulse that produces new ideas, as well as efforts of groups of people to define themselves as "different." Diversity creates change, opportunity, and individuality. These concepts of historical tension and change, whether applied to political, economic, technological, social, or cultural trends, offer a cohesive explanatory organization. The text is also informed by five other topical themes: technological innovation, migration and conquest, political and economic decision-making, church and state, and disputes about the meaning of life. Throughout, judicious "basic principles" present summaries of historical realities. Written with flair, this easily accessible yet deeply knowledgeable text provides all the essentials for a course on Western civilization.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 177.8 x 256.54 x 20.32mm | 725.74g
  • Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, black & white tables, maps, figures
  • 1442207817
  • 9781442207813

About Brian Alexander Pavlac

Brian A. Pavlac is the Herve A. LeBlanc Distinguished Service Professor and chair of the Department of History at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.show more

Review quote

This is an exceptionally well-written, engaging, and accessible text... Pavlac includes useful diagrams and charts throughout this text that break down complex information into visual and easy digest parts... Perhaps the most important attribute of A Concise History of Western Civilization is that this is a text that students would actually read and understand. For many history professors, the first and most fundamental struggle is getting students to read and furthermore to read critically. Thus, the fact that this text is one that students will read, become engaged with, and understand makes it a valuable resource to teachers of Western Civilization. Teaching History Written with the skill of a novelist, this book guides the reader step by step through the process of what a historian thinks, does, and interprets. Chapter content establishes the foundation for each future chapter with carefully selected questions, key-word definitions, and ideas in bold type. This is the best-written textbook on Western civilization that I have had the pleasure to read in thirty-five years of teaching. -- William A. Paquette, Tidewater Community College Professor Pavlac has come up with an effective comparative approach: what's new, what's different, what's changed, what's distinctive. This way of encountering Western civilization without drowning in details will produce students who are well-grounded for upper-division courses. -- Christopher M. Bellitto, Kean Universityshow more

Table of contents

Chapter 1: History's Story There's Method What Is Truth? Chapter 2: Wanderers and Settlers: The Ancient Middle East to 400 B.C. The Apes' Cousins Bound to the Soil The Price of Civilization The Rise and Fall of Practically All Middle Eastern Empires Chapter 3: The Chosen People: Hebrews and Jews, 2000 B.C. to A.D. 135 An Obscure History The Tie That Binds Chapter 4: Trial of the Hellenes: The Ancient Greeks, 1200 B.C. to A.D. 146 To the Sea The Political Animal Metamorphosis The Cultural Conquest Chapter 5: Imperium Romanum: The Romans, 753 B.C. to A.D. 300 World Conquest in Self-Defense The Price of Power The Absolutist Solution The Roads to Knowledge Chapter 6: The Revolutionary Rabbi: Christianity, the Roman Empire, and Islam, 4 B.C. to A.D. 1453 The Son of Man The Cultural War Roma Delenda Est Struggle for the Realm of Submission Chapter 7: From Old Rome to the New West: The Early Middle Ages, A.D. 500 to 1000 Goths in the Garden Charles in Charge The Cavalry to the Rescue Chapter 8: The Medieval Melee: The High and Later Middle Ages, 1000 to 1500 Return of the Kings Discipline and Domination Plenty of Papal Power The Age of Faith and Reason A New Estate Not the End of the World Chapter 9: Making the Modern World: The Renaissance and Reformation, 1400 to 1648 The Purse of Princes Man as the Measure Heaven Knows Fatal Beliefs God, Greed, and Glory Epilogue: Why Western Civilization?show more