People And Nations: A World History provides a to-the-point overview of world history for high-school students. The 857 page book is divided into seven main sections known as units, from the dawn of civilization to the world after 1945. These units are further divided into chapters, which average at fifteen pages in length. Each chapter deals with a particular broad topic, such as the Hellenistic Age or the causes of World War I. The three authors of the book, Anatole G. Mazour, John M. Peoples, and Theodore K. Rabb, earned the M.A. and PH.D. degrees from different colleges. The first, Anatole G. Mazour, was a respected historian that specialized in Russian history. Mazour wrote quite a few books on the subject, such as Russia: Tsarist and Communist and The First Russian Revolution. John M. Peoples had taught world history to high-school students for 35 years at Alameda High School in California, and Theodore K. Rabb is Professor Emeritus of History at Princeton University, specializing in the early-modern period of European history.
The general purpose of the textbook is to provide a general, straightforward overview of world history to students while still answering questions such as “How has geography influenced the course of history? Have people simply adjusted to their environment, or have they tried to modify it?” and “How have rights and liberties been gained, protected, or lost?”, which the authors hope the reader can answer using the material in the text. Not every question is answered, however, the majority of them are, and the ones that aren’t can usually be inferred. The section mentioning the history of Athens seems to be missing a sentence and doesn’t answer an obvious question, “Why and how have people changed their form of government?”, when mentioning the overthrow of Athenian tyranny.
Despite these small missteps, People And Nations is still useful as a textbook, providing a general view of world history without boring students. The text in the book is the same quality as or perhaps even better than Glencoe World History by Jackson J. Spielvogel. People And Nations: A World History also makes an excellent resource in general, and actually does a better job at this than as being a textbook, which is not a bad thing, since textbooks are used to supplement a particular curriculum, not to be the main source of one. If someone wanted to learn about Sumerian civilization, without going too in-depth, then that person could find the section mentioning Sumer, and read those four pages about that civilization. There are also a lot of maps, so many in fact, that purchasing a historical atlas is unnecessary. There is also a timeline as well, which is great for determining when two or more historical events occurred, or to find out what events happened in a certain time period. It’s not the most detailed timeline; however, it serves its purpose nevertheless.
In terms of fact-checking, all of the information is accurate and can be matched with other reputable sources such as history.com and ancient.eu. The maps in the book are accurate as well, however, cartography disputes such as whether to include Tibet within the Mongol Empire and the extent of Alexander’s empire are simply unavoidable, and the authors took sides when making maps for the book. People And Nations: A World History, has slight western bias, naming benevolent rulers as greater ones, and including more chapters on Europe than any other continent. However, most of the chapters specifically about Europe or Europeans, are describing when Europe took center stage in the world, the Early-Modern Period and the World Wars. Another reason for this is because two of the three authors specialized in European history (including Russia).
Overall, People And Nations: A World History provides a general and to-the-point overview of world history for high-school students, without being too in-depth or boring, and should be used as more of a supplement to a curriculum than its source. People And Nations: A World History, is also a valuable resource as well, both with its maps, content, and timeline, all of which are accurate and can be matched with other sources. There is slight bias, however, there is so little that it isn’t that noticeable, unless bias is being sought. Overall, People And Nations: A World History, gets a 4.75/5.