"You've all seen the poster of the milky way galaxy with an arrow to a point about halfway out from the center and the caption, 'You are here.' This book is like that only more so. It locates the human experience in the entirety of space-time."Alfred Crosby, author of Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900
San Diego State University historian Christian is one of the founding figures of the Big History movement. His basic premise is that to truly make sense of human history, history must be integrated with virtually all other disciplines and in order to do this correctly, historians must reach back to the beginning of time. It is becoming fairly well accepted for historians to draw on biology, economics, environmental studies and politics as well as a host of other fields of study, and Christian does a very nice job of explaining the factors that led to the rise of states, the industrial revolution and the information revolution, as well as looking at future possibilities for humankind. What is far less successful is his integration of cosmology, astrophysics and evolutionary biology with the basic fare usually associated with historical analysis. Rather than using the cosmological principles associated with the Big Bang, for example, to demonstrate underlying unity and coherence in all systems across time, Christian leaves the reader with a weak metaphor and limited insight. By attempting to cover all of the universe's 13 billion years in a single volume, even one approaching 600 pages, Christian is forced to use such a broad brush that readers will find much of this book to be fairly superficial. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.