home > scholarship and essential questions > description > essential questions > Scholarship


A Scholar's and A Global History and Geography Teacher's Annotated
Global History and Geography Bibliography

The work identified in this component were selected to help teachers expand their understanding of world history:

Each work:

  • examines the big ideas of world history and geography,

  • explores broad connections and interrelationships across time and place,

  • focuses on important turning points in world history,

  • asks conceptual questions that are qualitatively different from those that are asked in national and/or regional histories.

Core Readings

Scholars identified in this category are among the recognized authorities in world history and geography. They focus on the big picture and ideas of world history. Their names and works are cited in many scholarly publications. Familiarity with these works will provide a solid foundation in the field of world history.

Thematic Works

Works of scholars identified in this category are part of the rapidly expanding body of scholarly literature. They focus on cross-national interactions such as belief systems, conflicts, migration, cultural diffusion, multi-regional empires, and trade.

Reference Books

If teachers do not have access to some of these references, they should encourage their school librarians to acquire them.

Speculative Works of Contemporary History

These works explore economic and foreign policy issues that shape the contemporary process of globalization trends in the 21st century.

Journal and Newspaper Articles

These works are short and succinct. The scholarly community recognizes them as foundational.

Global History and Geography Websites

These websites provide resources complied of reputable organizations that teachers can use to develop materials for their global history and geography classes



Grids are provided within the Suggested Core Readings and Thematic Works categories. These grids link back to the Unit and subsection component of the Global History and Geography Online Resource where the identified scholarly works are also listed. This organizational system emphasizes the interconnectedness of all of the dimensions of the Global History and Geography Online Resource that are consistent throughout the project.

 Global History and Geography
Core Readings

Barber, Peter. 2005.  The Map Book. London: Orion Publishing Group.A large-format volume with excellent illustrations of 175 significant maps, annotated with historical details that explain their specific relevance. These images give a visual understanding of the world from Ptolemy’s maps to satellite imagery.

1  A  B  D  E

E  F  G

3 A  C

4 B  C D  E G

A  B  C  D H A  B C D 7 A   G 8

Bayly, C. A. 2004. The Birth of the Modern World 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. This scholarly work in world history has been very well received. It does assume that the reader is familiar with the field of world history and its major arguments and questions.


2 3 B
C  E  F  G  H A  B  C 7 8

Bentley, Jerry. 1993. Old World Encounters: Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre-Modern Times New York: Oxford University Press. In this classic world history treatise, Bentley explores how cross-cultural encounters worked in pre-modern times. For many, the standard text on ancient global history, and the most popular antidote to Eurocentrism.

1  C  D  E

2 3  B  C  D A  E
6  B 7 8

Blij, H. J. de, and Murphy, Alexander. 2003. Human Geography: Culture, Society, and Space, 7th Edition. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. This text takes a systematic approach in investigating global issues of population change, agriculture, urban and industrial areas, economics, politics, language and religion as well as human/environment interactions.

1  B C E



4 E

6 7 B E F G  H 8  A  B C

Braudel, Fernand (translated by Richard Mayne). 1993. A History of Civilizations. New York: Penguin Books. The French historian is one of the founders of social history. Along with Marc Bloch and Lucien Lefevre, he built a school of thought that showed that "great men" do not make history; that change happens regionally - and often glacially slowly.


2  B  C  E  F  G 3   G F  G
C  D  E  G 6    7 8

Diamond, Jared. 2005. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking. In this book, Diamond explores why some societies succeed while others fail. Collapse is considered a continuation of the themes introduced in Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies.


2   3  A  
G 6    7 A  B  C  D

Diamond, Jared. 1997. Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. The breakthrough world history book with mainstream readership, Guns, Germs and Steel  won a Pulitzer Prize for answering its riveting question: Why was it Pizarro and the West who conquered Atahualpa and the Inca and not the other way around? The answer: the accident of Eurasian geography, which gave its people the surplus to generate guns and domesticate large animals.

1  A  B  C

2     3  C  D  E  F      A  D  E
6  B   7 C  D


Isichei, Elizabeth. 1997.  A History of African Societies to 1870.  New York: Cambridge University Press.

1  A  B  D

2   C  E  G

B  C  D

4 B  E

 H 6   C 7  A  E 8 A  B  D

Manning, Patrick. 2003. Navigating World History: Historians Create a Global Past. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. This is THE book if you want a more detailed discussion of world history than this bibliography provides. One of the leaders of world history, Manning's book is the first history of the world history movement.

1  A

2  A

3  A

A 6  A A A

McNeill, William H. 1991. The Rise of the West: A History of Human Community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. McNeill is the grandfather of world history; this book arguably created the field of world history. Reading or at least familiarizing oneself with his many works is essential for any global history teacher. McNeill asked why "the West" came to dominate so much of the world. Students of world historiography should look at McNeill's reflection on how his thinking changed between 1963 (when the book was first written) and 1991 (when the book was reprinted). See "Rise of the West After Twenty-five Years."


2  B  C  D  E  F 3  H  G B  E  F  G
A  C  G 6  D  

McNeill, William H. 1998. Plagues and Peoples. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press. In this book McNeill puts microbes into the portrait gallery of world history right next to Napoleon and Genghis Khan as great forces for change. A new preface was added to the original book for the 1998 version.

1  A  B  C  D  E  F

2  G 3  B  C  D  E       D  E
G  H 6  A  B   A D

Pacey, Arnold. 1990. Technology in World Civilization: A Thousand-Year History. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press. This work surveys important technological advances across time. It is important for its understanding of science, and technical details behind the technology.


2  A  B 3  B  D        A  C  D
G  H 6     7   C  D


Stearns, Peter. 2000. Gender in World History. New York: Routledge. This compact book attempts to amalgamate women's history and world history. Numerous case studies from earliest civilizations to 20th century international movements explore established ideas about women and men and their roles.

1  A

2  A

3  A

A 6  A A A

  Wolf, Eric. 1982. Europe and the People Without History. Berkley: University of California Press. This book integrates Africa, Asia, and Latin America into the European economic orbit up to 1900. Wolf moves away from a national history model of world history.


2     3  C C  E
G  H 6  C   7    

back to the top

Thematic Works

Brown, Cynthia Stokes. 2007. Big History From the Big Bang to the Present. New York: New Press.

1 A B C E

2 A B E

3 C D

4 A B C D E

5 A G H


7 A

8 A B C D

Christian, David and William H. McNeill. 2004. Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. Berkley: University of California Press. About as big a history as you can find. Starts with the creation of the universe.

1  A  B  C 

2  A  B 3  B  C  E       A  C  D
G  I 6  G B  C

Curtain, Philip D. 1984. Cross-Cultural Trade in World History. New York: Cambridge University Press. Curtain sets forth the arguments for a comparative world historical approach to world history.

1  A  B  C 


3        C D

C  D E

H 6  7    


Fernándes-Armesto, Felipe. 2006. Pathfinders: A Global History of Explorations. New York: W. W. Norton& Company. This book is about encounters, encounters between cultures, and the out-reach of ambitions, imaginations, efforts, and innovation that make them possible.

1 A B C D


3 C F G

4 A B C E F



7 A B C D E F G H

8 A B C D

Flynn, Dennis O., Arturo Giraldez and Richard von Glahn. 2003. Global Connections and Monetary History, 1470-1800. Burlington, VT: Ashgate. In this book, the authors speculate about how the demand for silver globalized the world's economy much sooner than conventional wisdom holds. Ming China's need for silver became a conduit for Latin American bullion.


2     3  A  C      A  B  E
H 6     7    

Frank, Andre Gunder. 1998. ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age. Berkeley: University of California Press. Considered by many to be the indispensable book among world historians. Turns almost every work of social science on its head by arguing that Westernization as it is traditionally conceived may not actually exist at all, and, in the long view, we are all satellites of Asia.

1  C

2     3  C        E
G  H 6    7    

Goody, Jack. 1996. The East in the West. New York: Cambridge University Press. Goody is a social anthropologist, particularly fascinated with technology's effects on society.


2     3        E
6    7   D

Gombrich, E. H. 2005. A Little History of the World. New Haven: Yale University Press. In forty short, concise chapters, Gombrich recounts the sweep of humankind’s experience across centuries from the Stone Age to the atomic bomb in which he tells a colorful story of wars, conquests, grand works of art, and the spread and limitation of science.

1 A B  C D E

2 C E F

3 B C D

4 B C E F G

5 A B C D G H

6 A B D



Kennedy, Paul. 1987. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000;. New York: Vintage Books: A Division of Random Houses. Kennedy’s great achievement is that he makes us see our current international problems against a background of empires that have gone under because they were unable to sustain the material costs of greatness.

2 E

3 C E

4 A B C D E F G


A B  C  D

7 A B C D E F G H

8 A B C D

Landes, David S. 1998. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some Are So Poor. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. This important, highly readable work raises the question of why some nations achieve economic success while others remain mired in poverty.


2     3  A  D  E  F  G  H     G

G  I




McNeill, J.R. and William H. McNeill. 2003. The Human Web: A Bird's Eye View of World History. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. This book is one of the best short world histories.


2  B  C  D  E  F  3  G  E       F
A  C  D  G 6  A  C  D   A  B  C  D  E  F  
    G  H
A  D

Pomeranz, Kenneth. 2000. The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press. For most of human civilization, China was the center of civilization; then the Western world eclipsed it in terms of wealth, conquest, and stability. Pomeranz, a specialist in Chinese history, sociology and culture, asks the question: What happened to China?


2     3   A  B  D  E
G  H  I 6  C  D  E  H B  C  D


back to the top

Reference Books

Daniels, Patricia S. and Stephen G. Hyslop2006. Almanac of World History from Prehistory to Present Day.  Washington, D.C. National Geographic.

Danspeckgruder, Wolfgang F. ed, 2001. The Self Determination of People: Community, Nation and State in an Interdependent World. Lynne Reiner, Inc.

Ehrenberg, Ralph. 2005. Mapping the World: An Illustrated History. Washington, DC: National Geographic Books. Chronological compilation of over a hundred significant maps by key cartographic innovators that spans thousands of years and many cultures, illustrating geographic discovery, scientific invention, and cartographic techniques.

Greenspan, Karen. 1996. The Timetable of Women's History:  A Chronology of the Most Important People and Events in Women's History. New York:  Touchstone Books. This chronology begins with Bronze Age findings and ends in 1992.

Gunn, Bernard. 1991. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. A Touchstone Book, New York: Simon & Schuster.

Kagan, Neil, ed. 2004. Concise History of the World: An Illustrated Time Line. Foreword by Jerry H. Bentley. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic.

Pulsipher, Lydia Mihelic and Pulsipher, Alex. 2005. World Regional Geography: Global Patterns, Local Lives. New York, NY: Bedford, Freeman and Worth. A regionally organized text that addresses how people are influenced by and respond to social, political and economic forces in a globalizing world.

Warf, Barney (ed.). 2006. Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc. A comprehensive, multidisciplinary overview of the major ideas, concepts, terms, and approaches of contemporary human geography.

Wilford, John Noble. 2000. The Mapmakers: The Story of the Great Pioneers in Cartography - from Antiquity to the Space Age, Second Edition. New York: Knopf.This book explores the history of cartography from ancient times to the present, and includes the historical background of important mapmakers and the inherent bias of maps.

National Geographic. 2005. National Geographic Visual History of the World. Washington, DC: National Geographic. A comprehensive volume illustrated with more than 4,000 illustrations and photographs, with a timeline on each page noting the most significant events with color-coded cross-references. Large fold-out pages tie major events of world history from the Roman Empire to Afghanistan war to contemporary paintings, photographs and illustrations.

National Geographic. 2005. Atlas of the World (8th edition). Washington, DC: National Geographic. The newest edition of this comprehensive atlas used digital techniques, GIS, satellite imagery and shuttle radar mapping to create a precise cartographic record linked with important and diverse cultural information.

O'Brien, Patrick K., ed. 2002. Oxford World History Atlas. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shirley, Rodney W. 2001. The Mapping of the World: Early Printed World Maps, 1472-1700, 4th ed. Riverside, CT: Early World Press. Remarkably comprehensive, well-illustrated catalogue (474 plates) of maps of the world, including separately printed maps, wall-maps and maps in books for this important  cartographic era. 

Snyder, John P. Flattening the Earth: Two Thousand Years of Map Projections. Chicago: Chicago University Press. This book deals with the history of the impossible task of showing the round earth on a flat surface accurately, and explains the properties of over 200 map projections used in old and recent atlases. 

Springhill, John. 2001. Decolonization Since 1945: The Collapse of European Overseas Empires. New York: Macmillan.

Stearns, Peter N. 2001.The Encyclopedia of World History. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Third Millenium Press. 2004. The Time Chart History of the World.6000 years of history presented in a graphic format, based on a 1890 Victorian wall chart, updated and extended to the twenty first century, and includes 6 maps of significant historic eras.

Whitfield, Peter. 1994 The Image of the World: 20 Centuries of World Maps. London: British Library. (Reprinted in 1997 by Pomegranate Art Books, Rohnert Park, CA.) Collection of annotated reproductions of different types of old maps illustrating the historical and cultural images that have shaped perspectives of the world.

back to the top

Speculative Works of Contemporary History

Abu-Lughod, Janet L. 1989. Before European Hegemony: The World System, A.D. 1250 - 1350. New York: Oxford University Press. According to Abu-Lughod, the historians of the 19th century, Karl Marx included, held that the most important epoch in history was the creation of the capitalist nation-state in the 16th -17th centuries. Abu-Lughod, however, argues that the crucial moment occurred far earlier - and not in the West.

Friedman, Thomas L.  2005.  The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.  New York:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

back to the top

Journal  and Newspaper Articles

Curtin, Philip D. 1993. "Africa and the Slave Trade," The Ibero-American Heritage Curriculum Project: Latinos in the Making of the United States of America, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: TEACHERS GUIDE and READER. Albany, NY: The State Education Department.

Hodgson, Marshall G.S. 1954. "Hemispheric Inter-Regional History as an Approach to World History," Journal of World History. vol.1, pp. 715-23.

Pitzl, Gerald R. (ed.). 2005. Annual Editions: Geography 2006/7 (21st edition). Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill. A compilation of current press articles organized by topic, this collection includes overviews, a resource guide and an annotated listing of appropriate websites. (This publication is updated for each year).

Shaffer, Lynda. 1994. "Southernization," Journal of World History. Shaffer's article is a model for how modern world history studies can reshape the world history narrative. Her argument is that beginning in the first millennium BC, there was a process of Southernization, from South China to India.

back to the top


Why Study History:


Large resource for maps, articles and lesson plans, expeditions section for maps


Global resources, maps and activities


United Nations site, global statistics


World population data


Population reference bureau site, World and US population data and articles


US population data, maps, statistics


Resource for documents, images and maps


Library of Congress map resource


Historical cartographic time-line and large collection of maps


Collection of maps


Earth Science information network

Educators reference desk, lesson plans


Environmental Protection Agency, resources, lesson plans

US Department of State


US geological survey maps, resources, lesson plans


back to the top