Volume 1 of this two-volume collection of primary documents covers societies across different geographical regions during the last 5,000 years. While chronologically and geographically comprehensive in scope, this reader will focus on a central theme: the unequal allocation of wealth and power both within individual societies and between different polities ranging from small city-states to large territorial empires. The selected documents reveal that people living at different times and in different places have used similar methods to achieve similar political and economic objectives. By reflecting uniformities as well as diversities in ideas and actions, these documents undermine assertions of Western intellectual, cultural, or moral superiority.
Professor Farr is an Emeritus and formerly Germaine Seelye Osterle Professor of History at Purdue University. He is the author of 9 books and has received numerous fellowships and teaching awards.
Patrick Hearden is an Emeritus Professor of History at Purdue University. He has authored 6 books and has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships.
This outstanding collection of readings is aimed at focusing the attention of the student on how political and economic power is organized and defended. The readings provide an inside look into the concerns, fears and aspirations of economic and political actors. Crucial primary-source documents enable students to understand that hierarchy, oppression and inequality have always blighted human societies. Other documents probe the joint economic and political logic of Assyrian, Incan, European and American imperialisms. Through these readings students can also better understand how propaganda and law have been integral parts of wielding power as far back as recorded history. This collection provides thought-provoking supplementary readings for any world history course.