I read approximately 350-400 pages in the text A History of Western Society, 8th Ed. I didn’t read in a continuous style instead flipping through the book stopping at something interesting reading then reading several pages of that chapter, moving on to others gaining knowledge of several chapters of the book rather than focusing on one.
It is a historical text on western civilization from Mesopotamia to the present, with focus on social history with chapters on Greece, Rome, religious wars, political revolutions, evolutions in energy and industry, expansion, urbanism, nationalism, dictatorship and the Second World War, even the Cold War. I thought of it as a sociological perspective on history.
The textbook was a very interesting and colorfully descriptive history text. I liked that the theme of politics and culture were balanced giving the reader a chance to see it from a broader perspective. It balanced the socio-economical structures during different periods in time that was very intriguing.
The way the book was presented the reader with tools to help with self-educating and useful study guides for students to truly understand what it must have been like in the past, socially. I felt the questions were really helpful in stimulating my own critical thinking. Features all through the text gave interesting accounts of everything from groups to major historical events that put the reader right into history.
I felt that the pictures were chosen well to present the material written. I like that everything from resent news, art and European countries were given a fair introduction to western history. I felt the authors were able to give a broader perspective to foreign countries that were much unbiased. Islamic regions were also introduced to the reader in very stimulating terms. And I am glad to see that the expansion of history to include women and gender issues that has occurred in western society. The section on witch hunts and the Athenian women balanced the book nicely.
I really enjoyed flipping through and reading the text and felt that it would be a very good tool to use for undergraduate study as an introductory class. It gives the student a really good start on terms and concepts of sociology and history. I felt that this would also be a good book for the use in Art History.
The color photos clearly show the artistic beauty of many cultures and society. The three authors John P. McKay, Bennett D. Hill, and Buckler are well respected and each is very proficient in history; which gave the book a solid scholarly mark for it to be a must reading.
The book should be on any good historian’s book shelf. The use of Blackboard I really liked because of the apparent growing use of that learning tool. This text was full of teaching tools to use with that program that will help the first year student to become acquainted with something they will increasing begin to use on their trek towards their college degrees.
McKay, J.P., Hill, B.D., & Buckler, J. (2006) A History of Western Society, 8th. Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.