Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History Essay example

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Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History by historian David Christian explores big history by propagating a “modern creation myth” (2). Christian discusses the history of everything, from the big bang theory to modern day, in a technical and historical narrative. He believes that big history is a new, yet important, area of history ignored by historians. Christian tells us big history is “a coherent story about the past on many different scales, beginning, literally, with the origins of the universe and ending in the present day” (2). The fortitude in Christian’s argument is in his careful handholding of his readers. Christian takes his readers from the creation of the universe to modern day, much as a textbook, using charts, graphs, …show more content…
Christian then published books on the topic including Maps of Time (2004), Big History, the Big Bang, Life on Earth, and Humanity (2008), and The Fleeting World: A short history of Humanity (2008). In Maps of Time, Christian presents his material in a textbook manner with a summary and a list of additional readings at the end of each chapter. Christian tells his readers, at many points, that the evidence or theories he uses do not have clear solutions and require further investigation (18). The first five chapters are a thorough discussion of the creation of the universe, the stars, the earth, and the beginnings of life while the following chapters discuss human history and its impact on the earth and its resources. Each leaves the reader to ponder if the information they are receiving is methodical enough to consider. In the additional reading section of each chapter, Christian posits the idea that more information is necessary for the reader to understand the evidence. In the final chapter, he discusses the future, which further discombobulates his readers. Christian recognizes that the future is unforeseeable, but he constructs one anyways. Christian uses information from cosmology, biology, geology, anthropology, astronomy, mathematics, and finally history to construct his modern creation myth, which may make the reader hesitant and possibly confused. One could ask if big history is a good idea or if it is too big.

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