This Site


In addition to heroics and technological change, world history should tell of the clashes of interest and small-mindedness that have driven it, along with the cultural diffusions that have been a part of it. History should be more than a devotional ethnic or nationalistic storytelling. As much as possible it should be a truth-telling.

Macrohistory is used on this site in the sense of "the big picture" or any work broader than microhistory. Let's not consider "meso-history." This site describes interconnections that are not analogous and prefers a collection of specifics over generalized explanations.

In my opinion, a study of history such as this is a collective endeavor. It should draw from the works of professional archeologists and the work of professional historians who have dedicated their lives to a particular field of study.

I don't pretend any kind of lofty unattached objectivity, but the narratives here do attempt clarity and fairness. My aims is to describe rather than to preach. I would rather leave the audience space for their choice in moralizing.

This site is owned and maintained by Gaertner Humanities Incorporated, with whom I'm 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.

I'm grateful for the help I've received from scholars and others, and I invite professional scholars to add more to this site. Credit would be given. I appreciate the books I've received from publishers, and with pleasure I responds to frequent requests from publishers for permission to use this site's 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 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.


Frank Smitha has studied history intensely since returning from Korea in 1953. In Korea at eighteen 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 then South San Francisco. That took a few years out of what by 2014 has been sixty years of study.



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