For more than two thousand years, the Socratic dialogue has been a hallmark of higher education and the method which defines critical thinking. David Hertzel's textbook provides a framework of world historical sources, narratives, and questions through which instructors can gracefully adopt a Socratic method for their General Education classes. No textbook in any field applies critical methods more successfully than does this one. Now in its third edition, the author and editors at Rowman and Littlefield have updated The World History Workbook to include a new chapter on the mixed legacy of globalization and modernization, both defined as having descended from humanist principles. The third edition also includes several additional primary sources, revised numerous projects, passages on a diversity of world historical topics including women, folktales, Swahili as a lingua franca, and the personal significance of ancestry. The core material of narrative, primary sources, and projects remains intact from the first and second editions.
The Workbook follows the argument that humans share a common history, albeit with contrasting particular experiences. The subject of the course therefore addresses the place students and their instructors hold in human history. Students are encouraged to explore historical problems that persist in modern society and project questions suggest grand yet accessible discussion topics including justice, gender, bureaucracy, human rights, individuality, ancestry, faith and reason, and other timeless human problems.
David Hertzel is a Fulbright Scholar and author who has taught World History for twenty-five years at public universities. He has published in Catholic Historical Review, World History Connected, and other peer reviewed journals. Hertzel's doctoral dissertation was translated by a local historical society in Germany. His most recent publication, Ancestors, who we are and where we come from, was released in paperback in 2020 with Rowman and Littlefield Press.
David Hertzel's provocative workbook provides thoughtful exercises that allow students opportunities to gain deeper understandings of how historians make interpretations and draw conclusions about the past. In addition, he draws examples from a wide variety of periods and locations to help students glean a better understanding of what it means to be human.
Hertzel’s workbook offers an innovative approach to learning about world history. He does not present us with an exhaustive narrative, but instead offers a wealth of information and learning frameworks along with selective narratives on a variety of world history topics. It will be a valuable tool for faculty who want to teach by using a book filled with practical exercises that places students at the center of the learning process.
I have had the opportunity to engage the World History Workbook as both a student and an instructor. It is a text that, above all else, respects the students themselves as capable participants in the discipline of History and as protagonists in building a world that is more tolerant, just, open, and honest. In the World History Workbook, Hertzel turns away from providing students with the broad outlines they received earlier in their education. Instead, Hertzel designs his chapters around themes and universal experiences throughout World History. Hertzel anchors these universal themes around student projects that teach the discipline of History step by step. So while the student using the workbook learns about Humanism, the Enlightenment, and other topics, they will complement this reading with projects that teach how historians work such as differentiating between primary and secondary sources, the comparative method, and evaluating sources in relationship to their contexts. Like the chapters themselves, these projects all center around the responsibility of the historian, and indeed the responsibility of every person, to pursue the truth using arguments and evidence.
For the new Third Edition, Hertzel provides a brand new chapter on women and the environment in the Modern World. This chapter exposes students to some of the most offensive injustices towards both women and the environment that are both unchanging human constants and ongoing (in some cases worsening) in the present. While much of this chapter is hard reading, Hetzel addresses these issues in a responsible way that serves not to depress so much as to empower the student to work to create a better world. My own students were emphatic over the power of these readings. I cannot praise the World History Workbook highly enough.
New to this edition:
* Intriguing, challenging narrative, written in a highly accessible style.
* Primary sources spanning the history of humanity from civilizations in every region of the world.
* Sub-narratives on subjects ranging from humanism to Confucianism, personal conscience and institutional pressures, the nature of, the plight of women, the environment, and religious history.
* Project questions challenge students to use think critically and to support their opinions with evidence (usually from primary source assignments).
* The text of choice for classes taught discussion style, yet project assignments make the book ideal for larger, lecture settings, and remote learning.
* A strong introduction into how to do the work of historians.