David Christian's Big History, Maps of Time

David Christian is a professor of History at the University of California at San Diego. He has a PhD from Oxford University and was born in 1946. (Just a kid).

The first 75 pages takes the reader from the Big Bang to the formation of the earth some 200 million years ago. That is Part One: "The First 300,000 years."

Part Two: "Life on Earth," before humans, to page 135.

Part Three: "Early Human History, before agriculture," another 63 pages, to page 203. Much of this is on human evolution and the significance of collective learning, with a few words about tools. We share much with other primates. "During the past million years, several new types of hominines apeared in different parts of Africa and Eurasia." Christian comments that knowledge about the lives of people before agriculture is largely guess work. "But it seems reasonable to guess that for some time, human populations were similar to those of modern chimps..." There is nothing here about religion.

Part Four: "The Holocene," 125 pages from the beginnings of agriculture to modern times, the first cities, the first states, with power based on cohersion and new forms of diversity. There is in this chunk of history to modern times less than a half page on Rome and its empire.

Part Five takes us from the Middle Ages to the present in 95 pages. One can read these pages and not get a feel of the age of imperialism or what World War I was about, or the passions involved in World War II, or the stupidities of Stalin and the Cold War.

Part Six is titled "Perspectives on the Future," 36 pages.