Features and Benefits

Overview of World Civilizations

Provides a Unique Periodization of History - The book is divided into six major periods in history. Within each part, the authors identify specific themes that characterize common experiences or common forces in individual societies as well as the kinds, patterns, and extent of global contacts that emerged during the era.  This organization helps readers better relate the past to the present.   

Supports the new Curriculum Framework

  • New! Revised Edition, 7th Edition ©2017 includes a Key Concept correlation for the College Board’s New Curriculum Framework for AP® World History effective 2016–2017 plus, end-of-chapter questions revised to align to the new framework outline.
  • New! Test Prep Workbook for AP®—fully revised and rewritten to prepare students for the new AP Exam. (Available for purchase)
  • New!  AP Exam Style Test Bank. (Available online)

Provides a Pedagogical Framework - New Learning Objective questions have been added to each chapter to highlight central themes and ideas. Each question is linked to one of the chapter’s main sections. 

Focuses on Critical Thinking - New chapter-ending Critical Thinking Questions reinforce important concepts and serve as essay or class discussion topics. Thinking Historically analytical essays relate to the chapter but extend across chronological and geographical boundaries. Critical thinking questions at the end of each essay prompt the reader to consider the far-reaching implications of historical developments.

Helps Readers Visualize History - Visualizing the Past boxes support visual literacy. Readers learn how to read and analyze graphic material such as maps, charts, and graphs. Part-opening and chapter-opening timelines help readers place history in context.


The features in World Civilizations: The Global Experience have been carefully constructed and honed over the course of seven editions. Our aim has been to provide students with tools to help them learn how to analyze change and continuity.

Part Introductions

Part introductions, reviewed for this edition, discuss the conditions that set the stage for the developments that define each new period in world history. They identify the characteristics of the period of world history covered in the part, and recap the continuities that exist from one period to the next. Two world maps at the beginning of each part introduction provide a graphic reference for the major changes of the period. Part timelines list the major events of the chronological period covered.

End-of-Part Analysis

Following the final chapter in each part is an essay that revisits the dominant cross-civilizational (or cross-regional) contacts and divisions that occurred during the era under examination. These sections encourage analysis of the dominant contact patterns in the period as well as the relationship to them of major individual societies. 

Chapter Introductions

Each chapter introduction tells a compelling story about a particular pattern, individual, or incident to spark students’ interest and introduce chapter material in an engaging and dramatic way. The opening story concludes with an explanation of how the story relates to the chapter content and the key themes and analytical issues that will be examined in the chapter.


In addition to the timeline in each part introduction, each chapter includes a timeline that orients the student to the period, countries, and key events of the chapter. 

Learning Objectives

Each of the main chapter headings is followed by a Learning Objective for the section that follows. These Learning Objectives also appear on the first page of the chapter, giving students an idea of important concepts they will encounter when reading the chapter.

Section-Opening Focal Points

Focal points listed next to each of the main chapter headings identify for the student the principal points to be explored in the section.

Visualizing the Past

The Visualizing the Past feature of each chapter supports visual literacy by showing students how to read and analyze visual material such as maps, charts, graphs, tables, or photos to interpret historical patterns. Text accompanying the illustrations provides a level of analysis, and a series of questions draws the students into providing their own analyses.


Substantial excerpts from selected original documents put students in contact with diverse voices of the past, and many have been revised for this edition. We share a firm commitment to include social history involving women, the non-elite, and experiences and events outside the spheres of politics and high culture. Each document is preceded by a brief scene-setting narration and followed by probing questions to guide the reader through an understanding of the document and to encourage interpretive reflections and analysis.

Thinking Historically

Each chapter contains an analytical essay on a topic of broad application related to the chapter’s focus but extending across chronological and geographical boundaries. Critical thinking questions at the end of each essay prompt the reader to think beyond the “who, what, where, and when” of historical events and consider instead the far-reaching implications of historical developments.

Global Connections

Each chapter ends with a Global Connections section that reinforces the key themes and issues raised in the chapter and makes clear their importance not only to the areas of civilization discussed in the chapter but also to the world as a whole.

Critical Thinking Questions

Critical Thinking Questions can be found at the end of each chapter as well as at the end of each part. These questions reinforce important topics and themes explored in the text and also serve as possible essay or class discussion topics.

Further Readings

Each chapter includes several annotated paragraphs of suggested readings, substantially updated for this edition. Students receive reliable guidance on a variety of books: source materials, standards in the field, encyclopedia coverage, more readable general interest titles, and the like.

Test Prep for AP

Practice tests have been added to the end of each part to help students review content in preparation for the AP® World History exam.

MyHistoryLab Icons

Throughout each chapter are MyHistoryLab icons paired with images, maps, and portions of the narrative that lead students to additional resources—documents, images, maps, videos, and more—found on MyHistoryLab, giving students a deeper understanding of the topics covered in the text and leading to a more thorough integration between the book and online resources. A new MyHistoryLibrary etext with audio with hundreds of primary source documents, and Writing Space with a variety of assignments that link to the documents in MyHistoryLab and much more.