Ploetz' Manual of Universal History

Ploetz' Manual of Universal History

Ploetz' Manual of Universal History

Ploetz' Manual of Universal History

Excerpt

This second revised edition of Ploetz's Manual of Universal History has been executed with the aim in mind of including in it the new material which has been produced both by the progress of scholarship in the last generation and the new historical events which have taken place since the original edition was issued. There have earlier been several partial revisions and additions made, but no thorough and coördinated effort at a systematic execution of the task. The effort has been made here, then, to combine the perennial usefulness of this compilation with the changes and advances forced by the progress of scholarship and events. The great body of the book still remained essentially accurate. Therefore, the actual revision consists chiefly in a thoroughgoing rewriting of the section on the ancient Orient, and the period since 1883. In the revision of the Oriental section particular attention has been given to the matter of providing an adequate chronological summary of this period, in the light of the very latest research and results in the field of Oriental chronology. There has also been added considerable new material on the civilization and culture of this area. A few significant alterations have been provided throughout the book in the way of eliminating what are now definite anachronisms, such as the term "Aryan" as descriptive of European races. New paragraphs have been provided on the racial background of Greek and Roman history, and a portion of the classical mythology has been eliminated to make way for more specifically historical material.

Many readers might question the wisdom of taking 1883 as the date for beginning the section on modern times. This choice has been dictated by the fact that the book, as originally printed, ended with this date, and it would have been impossible to have chosen any other date without resetting the entire material on the period since 1815. As an actual matter of fact, 1883 is probably as satisfactory as any other date for the purposes of this compilation. From the standpoint of the newer dynamic history, no particular date can be looked upon as of unique chronological significance. All dates are chosen chiefly on the basis of pedagogical convenience. Least of all is a particular date of significance in a work like the present, which is chiefly devoted to a chronological summary instead of an analysis of great historical movements.

In working out the distribution of material in the modern period, the fact that the work will be used primarily by English and American readers has been a guiding consideration. Much more space has been assigned to the history of Great Britain and the United States since 1883 than to the history of Continental Europe or the rest of the world. The importance of the World War and its aftermath has convinced the editor that there should be relatively more space assigned to European events since 1914 than to those between 1883 and 1914. This will account for the rather more thorough treatment of the war and the period since the armistice. While the editor's own historical philosophy is one in which economic, social, and cultural activities and achievements are deemed as . . .

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