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This is a completely new and updated edition of J. M. Roberts and Odd Arne Westad's widely acclaimed, landmark bestseller The Penguin History of the World.

For generations of readers The Penguin History of the World has been one of the great cultural experiences - the entire story of human endeavour laid out in all its grandeur and folly, drama and pain in a single authoritative book. Now, for the first time, it has been completely overhauled for its 6th edition - not just bringing it up to date, but revising it throughout in the light of new research and discoveries, such as the revolution in our understanding of many civilizations in the Ancient World. The closing sections of the book reflect what now seems to be the inexorable rise of Asia and the increasingly troubled situation in the West.

About the authors:

J.M. Roberts, CBE, published The Penguin History of the World in 1976 to immediate acclaim. His other major books include The Paris Commune from the Right, The Triumph of the West (which was also a successful television series), The Penguin History of Europe and The Penguin History of the Twentieth Century. He died in 2003.

Odd Arne Westad, FBA, is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics. He has published fifteen books on modern and contemporary international history, among them The Global Cold War, which won the Bancroft Prize, and Decisive Encounters, a standard history of the Chinese civil war. He also served as general co-editor of the Cambridge History of the Cold War.

Reviews

'A work of outstanding breadth of scholarship and penetrating judgements. There is nothing better of its kind' Jonathan Sumption, Sunday Telegraph

'A stupendous achievement' A.J.P. Taylor

'A brilliant book ... the most outstanding history of the world yet written' J.H. Plumb

The idea of heroism has become thoroughly muddled today. In contemporary society, any behavior that seems distinctly difficult or unusually impressive is classified as heroic: everyone from firefighters to foster fathers to freedom fighters are our heroes. But what motivates these people to act heroically and what prevents other people from being heroes? In our culture today, what makes one sort of hero appear more heroic than another sort?

In order to answer these questions, Ari Kohen turns to classical conceptions of the hero to explain the confusion and to highlight the ways in which distinct heroic categories can be useful at different times. Untangling Heroism argues for the existence of three categories of heroism that can be traced back to the earliest Western literature – the epic poetry of Homer and the dialogues of Plato – and that are complex enough to resonate with us and assist us in thinking about heroism today. Kohen carefully examines the Homeric heroes Achilles and Odysseus and Plato’s Socrates, and then compares the three to each other. He makes clear how and why it is that the other-regarding hero, Socrates, supplanted the battlefield hero, Achilles, and the suffering hero, Odysseus. Finally, he explores in detail four cases of contemporary heroism that highlight Plato’s success.

Kohen states that in a post-Socratic world, we have chosen to place a premium on heroes who make other-regarding choices over self-interested ones. He argues that when humans face the fact of their mortality, they are able to think most clearly about the sort of life they want to have lived, and only in doing that does heroic action become a possibility. Kohen’s careful analysis and rethinking of the heroism concept will be relevant to scholars across the disciplines of political science, philosophy, literature, and classics.

Anthropological archaeology and other disciplines concerned with the formation of early complex societies are undergoing a theoretical shift stemming from the realization that the social evolution of complex societies was more varied and complex than imagined.

Given the need for new directions in theory, the book proposes that anthropologists look to political science, especially the rational choice theory of collective action. Collective action theorists propose that state formation results from the strategic behavior of rational and self-interested actors who make up the polity, including a political elite and those outside the official structure of the state. The theory proposes that the form taken by a state will depend on the “bargaining power”, of rulers and taxpayers. Where taxpayers have more resources with which to bargain, it is predicted that rulers will concede benefits to taxpayers and will agree to restrictions on their power.

The authors subject collective action theory to a methodologically rigorous evaluation using systematic cross-cultural analysis based on a world-wide sample of societies. The results presented here indicate strong support for most elements of the theory, but some results, in particular those pertaining to the control of ruler behavior, suggest the possibility that there are contexts in which collective action may play out in ways not anticipated by the theory.

While this type of theoretical modeling is commonly seen in political science research, this volume is unique in its approach from an anthropological and archaeological viewpoint.

In recent years, Roman political thought has attracted increased attention as intellectual historians and political theorists have explored the influence of the Roman republic on major thinkers from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Held up as a "third way" between liberalism and communitarianism, neo-Roman republicanism promises useful, persuasive accounts of civic virtue, justice, civility, and the ties that bind citizens. But republican revivalists, embedded in modern liberal, democratic, and constitutional concerns, almost never engage closely with Roman texts. The Life of Roman Republicanism takes up that challenge.

With an original combination of close reading and political theory, Joy Connolly argues that Cicero, Sallust, and Horace inspire fresh thinking about central concerns of contemporary political thought and action. These include the role of conflict in the political community, especially as it emerges from class differences; the necessity of recognition for an equal and just society; the corporeal and passionate aspects of civic experience; citizens' interdependence on one another for senses of selfhood; and the uses and dangers of self-sovereignty and fantasy. Putting classicists and political theorists in dialogue, the book also addresses a range of modern thinkers, including Kant, Hannah Arendt, Stanley Cavell, and Philip Pettit. Together, Connolly's readings construct a new civic ethos of advocacy, self-criticism, embodied awareness, imagination, and irony.

History is the mighty Tower of Experience, which Time has built amidst the endless fields of bygone ages. It is no easy task to reach the top of this ancient structure and get the benefit of the full view. There is no elevator, but young feet are strong and it can be done. -Hendrik Van Loon, in the Foreword to The Story of Mankind It was intended for children, and of course much of the science is hopelessly out of date, but this ambitious, even audacious attempt to offer an overview of the entirety of human history remains a breathtaking work today. A 1921 bestseller, The Story of Mankind won the first Newbery Medal in 1922, and it is no wonder: the book-which begins with the origin of life itself on our planet and the arrival of the earliest protohumans on the scene and ends with "The Last Fifty Years, Including Several Explanations and an Apology"-is abundant with an offbeat charm and packed with the author's own beautiful illustrations and maps that are alive with a fresh, delectable humor. As a document of early modern science writing, it is invaluable. As a delightfully entertaining read, it is not to be missed. AUTHOR BIO: Dutch-American author and educator Hendrik Willem van Loon (1882-1944) sold more than six million books during his lifetime, including The Story of the Bible (1923), Tolerance (1925), and America (1927). After studies at Harvard, Cornell, and the University of Munich, he had a diverse career as a popular professor of European history at Cornell and of social sciences at Antioch College, an Associated Press correspondent in revolutionary Russia and World War I Belgium, and associate editor of the Baltimore Sun from 1923 to 1924. In appreciation for his dedicatedanti-Nazi writing during World War II, he was awarded the Order of Knight of the Netherlands Lion.
In recent decades, scholars have argued that the Roman Republic's political culture was essentially democratic in nature, stressing the central role of the 'sovereign' people and their assemblies. Karl-J. Hölkeskamp challenges this view in Reconstructing the Roman Republic, warning that this scholarly trend threatens to become the new orthodoxy, and defending the position that the republic was in fact a uniquely Roman, dominantly oligarchic and aristocratic political form.

Hölkeskamp offers a comprehensive, in-depth survey of the modern debate surrounding the Roman Republic. He looks at the ongoing controversy first triggered in the 1980s when the 'oligarchic orthodoxy' was called into question by the idea that the republic's political culture was a form of Greek-style democracy, and he considers the important theoretical and methodological advances of the 1960s and 1970s that prepared the ground for this debate. Hölkeskamp renews and refines the 'elitist' view, showing how the republic was a unique kind of premodern city-state political culture shaped by a specific variant of a political class. He covers a host of fascinating topics, including the Roman value system; the senatorial aristocracy; competition in war and politics within this aristocracy; and the symbolic language of public rituals and ceremonies, monuments, architecture, and urban topography.


Certain to inspire continued debate, Reconstructing the Roman Republic offers fresh approaches to the study of the republic while attesting to the field's enduring vitality.

Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

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