Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

World Civilizations: Volume I: To 1700, 8th Edition

  • Philip J. Adler
  • Randall L. Pouwels
  • ISBN-10: 1305959906
  • ISBN-13: 9781305959903
  • 448 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2015, 2012, 2008
  • COPYRIGHT: 2018 Published
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About the Product

For an accessible, comprehensive global survey of the world's major civilizations, Adler and Pouwels's WORLD CIVILIZATIONS offers a great balance between detail and brevity. This unique student-oriented text offers 53 short chapters accompanied by strong pedagogy and critical thinking tools, giving instructors the flexibility to assign a wide range of major topics in world history in a variety of different ways, while making learning more manageable for students. The focused treatment of topics throughout history covers every major epoch and follows broad patterns and processes, while illuminating history through specific examples and a particular emphasis on social and cultural topics. This edition is available in MindTap, an online learning experience that guides students through the course by combining the complete textbook with interactive multimedia, new chapter and unit activities, and study tools that assist instructors in keeping students engaged with the material.


  • Fifty-three concise chapters cover key points in manageable "chunks." This organization is ideal for professors who wish to augment lectures with outside material.

  • Historian's Craft boxes describe some of the methods and sources on which professional historians rely to illuminate the past. These include historical linguistics, archaeology, oral traditions, and written documents. Four new topics have been added in the eighth edition, covering problems of translation and interpretation of foreign-language evidence as well as the uses of critical textual analysis, genomic evidence, and historical theory.

  • Thematic "framing history" features are keyed to five broad text themes: Society and Economy, Law and Government, Patterns of Belief, Science and Technology, and Arts and Culture. All chapters have one or more boxes based on these themes; some are based on biography while others are based on primary sources.

  • Two additional features, Evidence of the Past and Images of History, spotlight artifacts and material culture. These and all other text features include a set of critical thinking questions.

  • Unit introductions and unit-opening Worldview maps highlight the major civilizations discussed in each part of the text. The end of each unit features rich pedagogical material including a Putting It All Together review section, a Cross-Cultural Connections feature, and a comprehensive Worldview chart that compares important themes and events across civilizations, encouraging students to think beyond regional borders.

  • Color illustrations, many of them new, and abundant maps throughout the text provide a rich visual context for the narrative discussions.


“[World Civilizations] is an effective textbook, which works as the common reading link to all students... it presents short sessions, and it explores topics related to "non-Western" regions in a better way than other similar textbooks do. The authors structured the book into an easily adaptable format to my two-semester, 32-week World Civilization survey sequence... The chapters follow a clean structural presentation: the narrative, summary, identification terms, and questions for further reflection – those questions may also work when flipping the classroom... [the text] allows the instructor to creatively play with content.”
— Cristina Mehrtens, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

About the Author

Philip J. Adler

Philip J. Adler taught college courses in world history to undergraduates for almost thirty years prior to his recent retirement. Dr. Adler earned his Ph.D. at the University of Vienna following military service overseas in the 1950s. His dissertation was on the activity of the South Slav émigrés during World War I, and his academic specialty was the modern history of Eastern Europe and the Austro-Hungarian empire. His research has been supported by Fulbright and the National Endowment for the Humanities grants. Dr. Adler has published widely in the historical journals of the U.S. and German-speaking Europe. He is currently professor emeritus at East Carolina University, where he spent most of his teaching career.

Randall L. Pouwels

Randall L. Pouwels earned his B.A. in history at the University of Wisconsin and his Ph.D. in history at UCLA. His Ph.D. dissertation was on the history of Islam in East Africa. His book, HORN AND CRESCENT: CULTURAL CHANGE AND TRADITIONAL ISLAM ON THE EAST AFRICAN COAST, 800-1900 (Cambridge, 1987), has become a standard work in African history. THE HISTORY OF ISLAM IN AFRICA (Athens, Oxford, and Cape Town, 2000) was jointly edited with Nehemia Levtzion of Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Widely praised in reviews, it was selected by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2001 and was made a selection of the History Book Club. In addition, he has written numerous articles and reviews on East African history, the history of Islam in Africa, and historical methodologies. Dr. Pouwels's other research interests include the history of the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, and the history and archaeology of Native Americans. Over the years, his work has been supported by grants and fellowships from Fulbright-Hays, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Studies Research Council, the National Geographic Society, and the American Philosophical Society. He taught African history for over twenty years at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and at UCLA. He has been the Professor of African and Middle Eastern History at the University of Central Arkansas since 1984.

Table of Contents

1. The Earliest Human Societies.
2. Mesopotamia.
3. Early Africa and Egypt.
4. Central Asia and India's Beginnings.
5. Ancient China to 221 B.C.E.
6. Settlement of the Americas and the Pacific Island.
Worldview I: From Human Origins to Agrarian Communities, 100,000–500 B.C.E.
7. New Civilizations and Empires in Western and Central Asia.
8. The Greek Adventure.
9. Greek Humanism, 800–100 B.C.E.
10. Rome: From City-State to Empire.
11. The Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity in the West, 31 B.C.E.–800 C.E.
12. Iran, India, and "Global" Trade.
13. Imperial China in Its Golden Age.
Worldview II: Classical Civilizations of the World, 500 B.C.E.–800 C.E.
Unit III: THE POST-CLASSICAL ERA, c. 650–1500 C.E.
14. The Americas to the Fifteenth Century.
15. Islam.
16. Mature Islamic Civilization and the First Global Civilization.
17. Africa from Axum to 1400.
18. The Mongols Unify Eurasia.
19. Japan and Southeast Asia.
20. The European Middle Ages, c. 800–1500.
21. The Late European Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Worldview III: The Post-Classical Era, 800–1400 C.E.
22. A Larger World Opens.
23. Religious Division and Political Consolidation in Europe.
24. The Gunpowder Empires of Western and Southern Asia.
25. Africa in the Era of Expansion.
26. China from the Ming Through the Early Qing Dynasty.
27. Japan and Southeast Asia in the Era of European Expansion.
28. From Conquest to Colonies in Hispanic America.
Worldview IV: Expanding Webs of Interaction, 1400–1700 C.E.

New to this edition

  • For the first time, WORLD CIVILIZATIONS is available in MindTap®, an online learning experience that guides students through the course by combining the complete textbook with interactive multimedia, a variety of new chapter and unit activities, and study tools that assist instructors in keeping students engaged with the material.
  • The Historian's Craft, a favorite feature of instructors and students alike, makes a more frequent appearance in the new edition. The variety of new topics includes the use of genomics to reconstruct human global migrations, problems of translation and interpretation of foreign-language evidence, and the role of historical theory.
  • Many new "framing history" features cover a wide range of themes, including Society and Economy, Law and Government, Patterns of Belief, Science and Technology, and Arts and Culture. For example, three new Society and Economy features -- on Women's Power Behind the Throne: The Example of Roxelana, Witchcraft, and Women's Voices in Nineteenth-Century Latin America -- reflect this edition's sharper focus on the importance of women in history. Two of the new Science and Technology features discuss Albert Einstein and Science in the Service of Intelligence.
  • Each chapter now opens with a thought-provoking image and caption that is intended to provide students with an immediate insight into the chapter's contents and to raise questions in their minds as they begin their reading.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor's Companion Website  (ISBN-10: 1305960025 | ISBN-13: 9781305960022)

Find everything you need for your course in one place. This collection of book-specific lecture and class tools is available online via Access and download PowerPoint® presentations, images, the instructor's manual, and more.

Cengage Testing, powered by Cognero® Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1305960106 | ISBN-13: 9781305960107)

Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero®, is a flexible, online system that allows you to import, edit, and manipulate content from the text's test bank or elsewhere, including your own favorite test questions. Create multiple test versions in an instant and deliver tests from your LMS, your classroom, or wherever you want.

MindTap History, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Adler/Pouwels' World Civilizations: Volume I: To 1700  (ISBN-10: 1305960211 | ISBN-13: 9781305960213)

MindTap History is the digital learning solution that helps you engage and transform today's students into critical thinkers. Through paths of dynamic assignments and applications that you can personalize, real-time course analytics, and an accessible reader, MindTap helps you turn cookie cutter into cutting edge, apathy into engagement, and memorizers into higher-level thinkers.

Student Supplements

MindTap History, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Adler/Pouwels' World Civilizations: Volume I: To 1700  (ISBN-10: 1305960211 | ISBN-13: 9781305960213)

It’s 1 AM, there are 20 tabs open on your computer, you lost your flashcards for the test, and you’re so tired you can’t even read. It’d be nice if someone came up with a more efficient way of studying. Luckily, someone did. With a single login for MindTap History for Adler/Pouwels' World Civilizations, 8th Edition you can connect with your instructor, organize coursework, and have access to a range of study tools, including e-book and apps all in one place! Manage your time and workload without the hassle of heavy books! The MindTap Reader keeps all your notes together, lets you print the material, will even read text out loud, and allows for further research opportunities all with the click of a mouse. Need extra practice? Use Mastery Training to help you retain more information than you ever thought possible; plus find the entire eBook in the MindTap Mobile App, as well as quizzes and important course alerts. Want to know where you stand? Use the Progress app to track your performance in relation to other students.