From the first civilizations to the 21st century, this wide-ranging, compulsively readable book encompasses all of world history--great ages and monumental events; the rise and fall of cultures; names, dates, and statistics; and stories galore. Designed as an authoritative reference that's also irresistible to browse, it's a brilliant blend of narrative, analysis, detailed facts, and visual variety including sidebars, time lines and more than 200 maps and illustrations. The book offers four revealing ways to look at the human epic. In Milestones, 12 essays address key developments from agriculture and writing to modern democracy and other important themes; next, Major Eras takes a chronological approach, examining 11 eras from prehistory to the present. World at a Glance traces specific subjects through the centuries, with entries on Wars, Religions, Human Accomplishments, Leaders, Artists, and more. An expansive appendix listing presidents, popes, and other world figures, as well as a bibliography, a glossary, and a comprehensive index round out this amazing reference. A book that meets the most demanding standards of accuracy and graphic excellence, this is an indispensable tool for students and an illuminating, engrossing exploration for anyone interested in the who, what, why, when, and where of world history.