These world history books will give you a good general understanding of world history.  Compiled by history teachers and professors, you can be sure they are comprehensive and well researched.

1. Why The West Rules–For Now: The Patterns Of History by Ian Morris

This book encompasses the dawn of the first homonids (or ape-men as the author put it) to present day. With a chapter conjecturing about the future.

Describing the patterns of human history, the archaeologist and historian Ian Morris offers surprising new answers to the questions. Why has the West dominated the globe for the past two hundred years, and will its power last?

2. A Short History Of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Bryson is not a scientist, but rather a curious and observant writer who, several years ago, realized that he couldn’t tell a quark from a quasar, or a proton from a protein.

Bryson set out to cure his ignorance of things scientific and the result was “A Short History of Nearly Everything

3. The Mediterranean And The Mediterranean World In The Age Of Philip II, Vol. 1 by Fernand Braudel

In the 1500s, billions in gold and silver poured into Spanish coffers from the new world. Yet a century later Spain was bankrupt.

What happened? Fernand Braudel has woven together a fascinating tour around the Mediterranean of the 1500s. Explaining the rise of the Ottoman Empire, how Egyptians made iced drinks, why Algiers became the capital of piracy, how the banking system created the first transcontinental roads, and much more.

This book immerses the reader in a new world full of rich details and surprising connections.

4. The Prize: The Epic Quest For Oil, Money & Power by Daniel Yergin

The Prize traces the history of oil from its humble, entrepreneurial beginnings in the hillsides of western Pennsylvania, to the shrewd domination of the industry by John D. Rockefeller.

To the breakup of Standard Oil and through the discovery of oil in the farthest flung corners of the globe.

5. Guns, Germs, And Steel: The Fates Of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond

No list of world history books would be complete without this one.

In one compelling volume, the famous biologist Jared Diamond tackles the most important question of global history: Why did Europeans come to dominate the New World?

Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world.

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