Big History

From the Big Bang to the Present

NEW AND REVISED EDITION Jared Diamond meets Stephen Hawking in a book that fits human history into the history of the universe, by an American Book Award winner

“Omniscience is a wonderful and terrible thing, but Ms. Brown wears it lightly, from her first lively observation of that ineffable point of unimaginable destiny from which the universe exploded in a second.” —The New York Times

Extend the human story backward for the five thousand years of recorded history and it covers no more than a millionth of a lifetime of the Earth. Yet how do we humans take stock of the history of our planet, and our own place within it? A “vast historical mosaic” (Publishers Weekly) rendered engaging and accessible, Big History interweaves different disciplines of knowledge to offer an all-encompassing account of history on Earth. Since its publication, Cynthia Brown’s “world history on a grand scale” (Kirkus) has been translated into nine languages and has helped propel the “big history” concept to viral status. This new edition of Brown’s seminal work is more relevant today than ever before, as we increasingly must grapple with accelerating rates of change and, ultimately, the legacy we will bequeath to future generations. Here is a pathbreaking portrait of our world, from the birth of the universe from a single point the size of an atom to life on a twenty-first-century planet inhabited by 7 billion people.

Praise

“This exciting saga crosses space and time to illustrate how humans, born of stardust, were shaped and how they in turn shaped the world we know today.”
Publishers Weekly
“Brown combines the findings of major authorities in the natural sciences and the human sciences, crisply portraying the discoveries and debates on history at the grandest scale.”
—Patrick Manning, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of World History, University of Pittsburgh
“There’s much to argue about in Brown’s account, and much to discover.”
The Washington Post