Pros: Quick Bird View of the World and World History, colorful, thematic maps, detailed time line.
Cons: Eurocentric, American history missing
Historical Atlases are in my opinion among the most interesting things that you can read. In a matter of minutes you can get an overview of World history and the hundreds of empires and kingdoms that have come and gone.
A Historical Atlas of this kind won't give you a very good overview of World history with respect to how the empires and the kingdoms arose, how people lived, their technology and beliefs, etc. It is just a pictorial overview of the spread of the empires and kingdoms and when they arose, spread and disappeared. Still such a bird eye view of the world and world history is important and can inspire a student or an adult to further studies.
I have found many big thick, so called Historical Atlases with lots of information on world history as well as maps, but they won't give you a quick bird eye view of the world through time. I also found many specialized Historical Atlases that covers a certain time period and region. However, finding a Historical Atlas that includes all of world history and the entire world in only 72 pages, like this one, is quite difficult. Therefore I have kept this old Historical Atlas and I have not yet found a good modern replacement for it.
About Hammonds Historical Atlas of the World
Hammonds Historical Atlas of the World starts off with the migrations of prehistoric man, the spread of farming and domestication, and the cradles of civilization including, the Sumerians, the Egyptian Civilizations, the Minoans, and the Minaeans, the Hittite Empire, the early Chinese Civilizations, the Indus Valley, etc.
They move into the age of empires with the Median Empire, the Assyrian Empire, the Selucid Empire, the Greeks, the Gupta Empire, and the Roman Empire etc. There are maps over ancient Middle East including Israel and Judea, Philistia (Palestine), Phoenicia, Ammon, Syria, etc. There are maps over ancient Greece and ancient Italy and more. All these kingdoms and empires are depicted on maps often indicating size at various times, expansion and trade routes.
Beyond ancient times the maps become increasingly focused first on Rome, the Byzantine Empire, and the Caliphates, and then more on Europe, showing maps of Europe at different times during medieval times and the renaissance. As we move into more recent times there are maps over Europe and the World as colonized by Europe. Then we have maps showing modern Europe and maps depicting the troop movements and invasions occurring during World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. At the end there are a few thematic maps for population, infant mortality, food supply, religions, and languages. At the end there is also eight pages of time lines (about a couple of dozen per page) representing various civilizations, empires, and nations spanning all of world history.
Did Hammonds Discover America Yet?
Hammonds Historical Atlas of the World is a very compact visualization of world history. There are no explanations or detailed history in the book. Therefore you may want to look up that yellow blob in Africa called the Axumite Empire, the Kushan States, or the Sabean Kingdom. However, you very quickly learn things like the names of the various civilizations and when they existed, and what civilization came before another, and how big, for example, the Polish Kingdom once was (or Swedish Kingdom). Hammonds Historical Atlas is a beautiful visualization that puts world history together for you, and inspires you to learn more about it.
It is not a book on world history and you should probably use it with other material if you really want to know world history better. However, if you consider what it is intended for you have to say that, the concept, the size and the layout is great. Since these kinds of Atlases are rare, it is bound to get a high rating from me.
However, I do have a few complaints. First, it is very Eurocentric. There are several dozen maps for Europe and the rest of the world is mostly shown as colonized by Europe. There are only four maps on page 40 showing the various African empires in four different time periods and except for a small corner world map there is nothing on Native American civilizations. Historical maps for the United States are also essentially missing. You can make out a small one in a corner for South America. Canada has one map but the US has none.
I thought the time charts were great and the concept is great and unique and in general it was very informative and inspiring. However, the over focus on Europe and European colonization made it slanted. I am giving Hammonds Historical Atlas of the World four stars.
Finally I would like to add this book to Jennifer Kate's Geography write-off as it is related to Geography and to Becky's back to school write off as it is also could be used in school (at least in Europe).
Finally I would like thank Stef (dramastef) lead in books for adding this book to the epinions data base.