Chronology of world history /

Main Author: Mellersh, H. E. L.
Other Authors: Williams, Neville, 1924-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, c1999.
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Review by Choice Review

Although historical chronologies of high quality are not in short supply, this is the most comprehensive currently available. Its 3,200 pages in four volumes cover historical events, 3,000 BCE through 1998. Each year is arranged in four categories (Politics, Government and Economics; Science, Technology and Medicine; Arts and Ideas; and Society), each of which is subdivided (Arts and Ideas into Architecture, Arts, Film, Literature, Music, Theater and Dance, Thought and Scholarship). Brief entries typically consist of one sentence giving relevant names, dates, and concepts. Sidebars examine particular issues in detail (e.g., the campaigns of Alexander the Great, the rise of Islam, US civil rights). Much of the material in this set is derived from the chronologies by Mellersh (Chronology of the Ancient World, 10,000 B.C. to A.D. 799, 1976) and Williams (Chronology of the Expanding World, 1492 to 1762, 1994; and Chronology of the Modern World, 1963 to 1992, 2nd ed., CH, Nov'95), although the material has been extensively revised and updated. Reference collections already owning the chronologies by Mellersh and Williams will not be duplicating material by purchasing this set. Its comprehensive scope and depth of coverage make it the definitive historical chronology. Recommended for all collections. D. Auchter; Ohio State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

This set is the latest revision of volumes that have gone through numerous printings since their first appearance in the 1960s and were most recently issued by Simon and Schuster in 1994. The copyright page of each volume states that these books are "extensively revised and updated" editions of the previously issued titles: Chronology of the Ancient World, Chronology of the Expanding World, and Chronology of the Modern World [RBB O 15 95], though they fail to mention Chronology of the Medieval World, which was also part of the last revision. ABC-CLIO published an abridged version of the Simon and Schuster volumes, called Chronology of World History, Compact Edition, in 1996. Content has been completely rewritten, and a new page design makes this version more attractive and easier to read. Coverage of the twentieth century has been expanded. The first volume now embraces both the ancient and medieval worlds, from prehistory to A.D. 1491; and the period previously dealt with in volume 4, from the mid^-eighteenth century to 1992, has been expanded into two volumes, one covering 1776^-1900 and the other covering 1901^-1998. The volumes are arranged in strict chronological order with date spans for each section ranging from an entire millennia in the first volume to individual years in the last two. The preface to each volume states that the entire chronology "contains over 70,000 entries," a number verified by a sampling by the Board. Within each date span, entries are grouped within four main categories (Politics, Government, and Economics; Science, Technology, and Medicine; Arts and Ideas; and Society) and up to 25 subcategories. A number of these subcategories--Colonization, Computing, Ecology, Everyday Life, Human Rights--reflect a shift from the 1994 version, which generally tended to emphasize politics and literature. Also new are several topical "mini-chronologies," such as "Rise of Islam (610^-756)," "The Automobile (1862^-1900)," and "New Food Products (1904^-98)." These are compiled from related entries scattered throughout the set. Each chronological section also includes a listing of births and deaths of "noteworthy people" within the span of years covered. In the previous edition, these lists provided only names and dates; but now each person gets a descriptive sentence. Each volume concludes with an index of people and events plus a separate titles index listing various works of art or literature. Unfortunately, as with the previous revision, there is no cumulative index. One problem with virtually any chronology is the relative lack of background information for some entries. In this set, although most entries are longer than those in its predecessor, they are still quite brief when compared to, for example, Grun's Timetables of History (Simon & Schuster, 1991) or the much more verbose The People's Chronology, by James Trager (Holt, 1992). In volume 1, for example, it is stated that in 1274 "the examination system is abandoned in South China," with no explanation of what the examination system was. Volume 4 reports that in 1986 the A320 Airbus was "the first commercial aircraft to use a `fly-by-wire' system," with no explanation of what that phrase means in aviation. More disappointing is the inconsistency with which specific dates of events are given. At no time, for example, are exact opening dates of movies given or the exact dates of operatic premieres. The "Sports" section for 1981 notes that "Mairzy Dotes . . . wins the inaugural Japan Cup at Fuchu racecourse," but fails to note the exact date, while a chronological listing for the same year notes the specific date (August 30) that "John Henry . . . wins the first Arlington Million horse race." One series of outright errors was spotted in the third volume, where it is stated that in 1890 "Anatole France publishes his novel Thais, based on the opera by French composer Jules Massenet"; while under 1894 it is noted that "Thais, by the French composer Jules Massenet," premieres and "is based on a novel by the French writer Anatole France published in 1890." The latter entry, of course, is the accurate one, as the novel preceded the opera. Although coverage of other cultures has been expanded, there is still a distinct European^-North American emphasis. With the exception of the first volume, well under 10 percent of the entries in the set deal with events taking place outside of Europe or the U.S. Larger libraries, even those that own the 1994 version, may wish to consider this set, because on size alone it covers more events than any other general chronology. Smaller libraries will likely find Timetables of History or The People's Chronology adequate for their needs.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-A detailed listing of events from 3000 B.C. to 1998. The set starts with large clusters of years grouped together (e.g., "3000 B.C.-2001 B.C.") that get smaller as the chronology progresses toward modern times. From 1492 on, it proceeds year by year. Each period contains listings under "Politics, Government, and Economics"; "Science, Technology, and Medicine"; "Arts and Ideas"; and "Society." Good individual indexes are located in each volume. The entries are written in an accessible style and could benefit students. However, there are a few areas where this set falters. First, it seems to be biased toward Western history, particularly in the latter two volumes. Second, the choice of information at times is selective-some dates for statehood are included but others aren't. Additionally, the significance of events, such as the Battle of Hastings, is not noted. (Nor does it mention here that the William of this battle later became known as William I the Conqueror.) Entries in James Trager's The People's Chronology (Holt, 1995) are more complete, more accurate, and more diverse, making it the preferred choice for students.-J. B. MacDonald, Milner Library, Illinois State University, Normal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.