I am trying to write a history of the world in about fifteen A5 pages. I’ll start at the Big Bang and go all the way to whatever the most recent world-changing event was: 9/11? Coronavirus? The Cubs in 2016? I’m not sure.
A couple famous comprehensive modern histories of the world are J.M. Roberts’ “Penguin History of the World” and H.G. Wells “A Short History of the World”. I had planned to dig deeply into those and distill them into something even shorter but I don’t think that is going to work. I think J.M. Roberts is too long to do that effectively – the version I have is 1100 pages. I don’t have H.G. Wells at the moment but I think I’ll have the same problem, even though it’s much shorter, and besides I think the H.G. Wells might be a little dated now. I plan to use both of these books later on for filling in and checking the work but I’ll start with something else for the basic skeleton.
One source that I am using is the Big Fat Notebook revision guide for middle school. I think this is about the level of summary that I’m looking for. It has a lot of analysis and quizzes and things I won’t use but as a chronological list of things that have ever happened, it’s fine and not longer than I want. I’m not sure that the emphases are exactly right for what I’m doing, so I’ll need to find other base sources but it’s still a good place to start.
The other good starting point is of course Wikipedia and I am deep in various entries, ancient history, the Sumerians, ancient Egypt, etc.
One thing that is weird is that the Big Bang, formation of the earth, etc. are not officially part of world history. According to Wikipedia:
The academic term “history” is not to be confused with colloquial references to times past. History is fundamentally the study of the past, and can be either scientific (archaeology) or humanistic (history through language).
Everything I’m reading seems to start with neanderthals and the first homo sapiens and then straight into early civilizations. They skip right over the formation of the universe and the earth, all the dinosaurs and the period when the earth was just sharks and forest fires. It seems to me that of course you have to put the Big Bang in there. Otherwise it doesn’t make any sense.