This Site


A study of world history should include or draw from the works of professional archeologists and historians. It should tell of the cultural diffusions, the clashes of interest and petty-mindedness alongside the heroics and technologies that have produced attitudinal and social change across the millennia. The history of any place and age should be more than the ancient and modern devotional and nationalistic storytelling of any particular society.

Frank Smitha sees "microhistory" as necessary. He uses "macrohistory" in the sense of work broader than microhistory, including "world history" and "the big picture." A third category of history has been suggested: "mesohistory." It has been described as offering an ideal mix of specificity and generality. Generalities about hunter-gatherers, early farmers and the rise iof socio-economic classes in ancient times are okay, but worthwhile generalities are few. This site strives to avoid the analogous. It aims at creating pictures of causal interconnectedness and change. Look elsewhere for Arnold Toynbee's generalities as to why civilizations have broken down. This site is interested in specifics.

This it site doesn't pretend any kind of lofty unattached objectivity in gathering what has happened, but in its narratives it does attempt clarity and fairness. It aims to describe the past rather than to preach or to propagandize. Unlike preaching, it leaves its audience space to do its own moralizing.

This site is owned and maintained by Gaertner Humanities Incorporated, with whom Smitha is associated. It is used by numerous high school history teachers, some private schools, home schoolers and has its best days when universities are in session. It ranks up and down on Google. One day it was second place on page one of a "world history" search, then a few days later it was on page two – with Google's method of ranking sometimes unfathonable.

We are grateful for the help from scholars and others, and we invite professional scholars to add more to this site. Credit would be given, and the purpose of this site – an understanding of the past – would be enhanced.

Smitha appreciates the books he has received from publishers as gifts, and with pleasure he responds to frequent requests from publishers for permission to use his maps.

We appreciate friendly e-mails, such as: "Love your site. Thanks. Just enough for the big picture!" And, "Thank you Frank for your really, really excellent and accurate description of Argentina during Peron's presidencies." And, "I just found your website and I was wondering if teachers could use this site, and print if needed... Thank you."

The site has been online since 1997. Gaertner Humanities is the sole recipient of income from its unobtrusive Google ads, which pay the bills. We try to keep ads off of the site that are scams or otherwise annoying. If you see such an ad on this site please tell us so we can add them to our already long list of blocked ads.

Here are sections beyond the site's narratives:

World History Timeline covers events from 4.3 million years ago to the present month. Here and there opinion is involved in the selection of items, but we try to keep opinion down.

Opinions are listed in a section that separates them from narratives.

Book Summaries are written to provide historical information.

Movies and History describes only eight films.

Macrohistories describe the work of a couple dozen macrohistorians and does not include works published in recent years.

Countries: Location and Data began as an offering of recent developments among nation-states. It's faster and better in pinpointing a country's location than Wikipedia. If you like, paste the following URL on your computer:

Smitha's bio

Frank Smitha has studied history intensely since returning from Korea in 1953. In Korea at nineteen he was jolted into taking an interest in what was happening in the world and what had happened. Leaving the Marine Corps in 1954, he worked his way from Glendale Community College to UCLA. From there as an undergrad he went to UC Berkeley where he continued intense study, sitting in on classes and lectures by visiting scholars, doing library research and, beginning at the age of thirty-two, writing. He didn't hope to obtain a position at a leading university and wasn't interested in the prestige of a degree, but he married and his PhD wife insisted that he get a degree, and this resulted in a BA with honors in History from California State University at Hayward, in 1977, at the age of 43. An instructor there who had a PhD from Stanford did what he could to have a scholarship extended to him from Stanford. That didn't work out, and, needing to make a living, Smitha went to work as a writer-editor in Silicon Valley and South San Francisco. That took a few years out of what by 2014 has been sixty years of study.



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