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People often complain that in history lessons at school they were taught just a few topics--the Romans, the Tudors, the Nazis--and how they have no idea at all about what happened in between. To remedy this, World History: 50 Things You Really Need to Know offers brief and stimulating outlines of key developments in the history of the world, from the beginning of agriculture 10,000 years ago to the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11.

Each essay is accompanied by a detailed timeline of dates and events, and the flavor of the period concerned is brought to life by selected contemporary quotations from figures as diverse as Aristotle, Ashoka, Saladin, Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther, Suleiman the Magnificent, Galileo, Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Mary Wollstonecraft, Napoleon, Lincoln, Lenin and Winston Churchill. In addition, box features throw light on a range of related topics, from the Nazca Lines to Renaissance man, from Confucianism and the state to Alexander the Great's horse, from Islamic science and the Barbary corsairs to the Enigma code and the atomic bomb.

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