Fourth Edition   ©2019

Ways of the World with Sources, Volume 1

A Brief Global History

Robert W. Strayer , Eric W. Nelson

  • ISBN-10: 1-319-10975-6; ISBN-13: 978-1-319-10975-2; Format: Paper Text, 640 pages

  • Podcast

    Eric Nelson discusses updates to the new edition of Ways of the World.


The thematic, comparative, and genuinely global narrative focuses on the big pictures of World History. Brief by design, the narrative avoids the overwhelming detail of many textbooks and emphasizes major developments and the larger contexts in which these developments took place. Broad themes include global commerce, the emergence of major religious traditions, industrialization, the rise and fall of totalitarian systems, technological innovations, and human impact on the environment. Part-opening essays set the stage for the chapters that follow and encourage students to make connections among the world's cultures.

The unique 2-in-1 format of narrative plus reader offers a full suite of opportunities for developing historical thinking skills. This combination of textbook and source book teaches historical thinking and analysis through the inclusion of related written and visual primary and secondary source projects at the end of each chapter. Accompanying the narrative, each chapter concludes with a Working with Evidence project of 5-6 primary sources organized around a particular theme, issue, or question, such as “Perceptions of Outsiders in the Ancient World,” "State Building in the Early Modern Era," “The Islamic World in the Seventh Century,” and "Global Feminism." Each is followed by a related Historians’ Viewpoints secondary source feature, which pairs 2 brief excerpts from historians who comment on some aspect of the topics covered in the primary sources. Each source feature is accompanied by incisive questions to guide students’ skillful examination of the sources.

A variety of learning tools help students focus on the big picture.

  • Part-opening Big Picture essays preview the major developments that are covered in subsequent chapters, while new Landmarks timelines provide a visual outline of how major events unfolded in relation to each other during that period.
  • Seeking the Main Point questions and Landmarks timelines near the beginning of each chapter help students focus on the main themes.
  • Practicing Historical Thinking questions invite students to reflect on what they have learned to that point in the chapter.
  • Guided Reading Questions in the margins emphasize "comparison," "connection," and "change."
  • Chapter-ending Big Picture questions encourage student synthesis of the material.
  • Introductory headnotes and comparative questions in the thematic Working with Evidence and new Historians’ Voices source projects help students understand how the written and visual sources relate to each another and to the chapter narrative.

A thoughtful and reflective approach to the global past challenges the idea that history is static and the textbook is a definitive account. Robert W. Strayer, a pioneer in the field of world history, and Eric W. Nelson, an innovative teacher, muse on the multiple meanings of history and the historian's craft. Students experience first-hand the process of reading historical evidence and making historical arguments.

  • At the end of each chapter, a short Reflections section raises provocative, sometimes speculative, questions about the craft of the historian and the unfolding of the human story.
  • New Controversies essays highlight debates about key historical issues: the beginnings of history, the origins of major religious traditions, the nature of empires, the idea of the Atlantic World, the Industrial Revolution, and the concept of globalization.
  • The primary source projects in Working with Evidence encourage students to draw their own conclusions from the historical record, and the secondary source excerpts in Historians’ Voices sections help students understand how scholars contribute unique and sometimes conflicting analysis of historical events.

"Zooming In" features link specific people, places, and events to big themes in world history. One "Zooming In" feature in every chapter calls attention to particular people, places, and events, situating them in a larger global context. Topics include Göbekli Tepe and monumental construction before agriculture, Trung Trac and resistance to the Chinese Empire, gunpowder, the end of the Byzantine Empire, feminism and nationalism in Java, the Cuban Revolution, and many more.

LaunchPad helps you do more than you can with print alone. Free when packaged with the book, LaunchPad’s course space and interactive e-book is ready to use as is, or can be edited and customized with your own material and assigned right away. Developed with extensive feedback from history instructors and students, LaunchPad includes the complete narrative e-book, as well as abundant primary documents, maps, images, assignments and activities. The aims of key learning outcomes are addressed via formative and summative assessment, short answer and essay questions, multiple choice quizzing, and LearningCurve, an adaptive learning tool designed to get students to read before they come to class. Available with training and support, LaunchPad can help you take your teaching to a new level.
LearningCurve ensures students come to class prepared. Tired of your students not reading the textbook? Would you like to know what they read and how much they understood—BEFORE they come to class?  Assign LearningCurve, the adaptive learning tool created for your survey textbook in LaunchPad, and the system’s analytics will show how your students are doing with the reading so that you can adapt your class as needed.  Each chapter-based LearningCurve activity gives students multiple chances to understand key concepts, return to the narrative textbook if they need to reread, and answer questions correctly.  Over 90% of students report satisfaction with LearningCurve’s fun and accessible game-like interface.  LearningCurve appeals to students so that they engage with the textbook, and it helps you to know what they know before class begins.

A range of options offers convenience and value. In addition to the full textbook, this edition is also available for the first time in a conveniently smaller and discount-priced Value edition — a two-color version with full narrative and select art and maps — and is also available in a steeply- discounted loose-leaf format.  Other lower-priced options include: e-books for both book formats; an interactive e-book format in the complete text’s dedicated version of LaunchPad, with LearningCurve adaptive quizzing and fully integrated study resources; and, for the most affordable and easiest-to-use e-book option, Achieve Read & Practice, with the mobile and accessible Value edition e-book and the adaptive quizzing of LearningCurve.

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