Journal of World History, vol. 13, no. 2 (2002)


Berserks: A History of Indo-European “Mad Warriors”
Michael P. Speidel
pp. 253-290
Abstract: Berserks, mad warriors scorning wounds and death, constituted an Indo-European warrior style on the same order as wolf-warriors. This study traces their history as far as we can know it, from Mesopotamia to Iceland, from 1300 B.C. to A.D. 1300. Making use of new archaeological and literary sources, the study shows berserks to be a long-lived, cross-cultural phenomenon that lends color and coherence to the early millennia of recorded history.

The Universalizing Principle and Process: On the West’s Intrinsic Commitment to a Global Context
John M. Headley
pp. 291-321
Abstract: This essay seeks to define both the nature and the operation in time and space of a unique feature of Western civilization — namely, its early identification of the idea of Humanity as a total spiritual/moral collectivity and the often erratic and uncertain but never entirely abandoned commitment to the realization of that comprehensive ideal. Its imperfect manifestation is first expressed in a religious cast, which in the course of the Renaissance passes to a more expansive and diverse secular register, where the more fragile and inevitably more particularistic notion of Civilization displaces and frequently disfigures but never entirely loses the ongoing momentum of commitment to a universal jurisdiction of a common, all-inclusive humanity. The early modern period (1300-1700) provides the main context for analysis of the shift from the specifically religious to the more secular register for the continuity of this idea. Only with the near suicide of that very particular civilization in two world wars will the necessity of operating within a common, level playing field of now self-conscious, distinct civilizations and cultural groups reshape that earlier, expressly religious/spiritual message into an even more secular, scientific/technical register toward world community.

Efflorescences and Economic Growth in World History: Rethinking the “Rise of the West” and the Industrial Revolution
Jack A. Goldstone
pp. 323-389
Abstract: The “Rise of the West” has been treated by economic historians as stemming from the onset of rapid economic growth, driven by technological advances. In contrast, all premodern and non-Western economies have been treated as showing only slow or no growth, interrupted by periodic crises. This is an error. Examined closely, many premodern and non-Western economies show spurts or efflorescences of economic growth, including sustained increases in both population and living standards, in urbanization, and in underlying technological change. Medieval Europe, Golden Age Holland, and Qing China, among other cases, show such remarkable efflorescences of impressive economic growth. Yet these did not lead to modern industrialized societies. The distinctive feature of Western economies since 1800 has not been growth per se, but growth based on a specific set of elements: engines to extract motive power from fossil fuels, to a degree hitherto rarely appreciated by historians; the application of empirical science to understanding both nature and practical problems of production; and the marriage of empirically oriented science to a national culture of educated craftsmen and entrepreneurs broadly educated in basic principles of mechanics and experimental approaches to knowledge. This combination developed from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries only in Britain, and was unlikely to have developed anywhere else in world history.

Cycles of Silver: Global Economic Unity through the Mid-Eighteenth Century
Dennis O. Flynn and Arturo Giráldez
pp. 391-427
Abstract: Conversion of China’s monetary and fiscal systems to a silver standard led to a doubling in the value of silver in China vis-à-vis the rest of the world by the early sixteenth century. Heightened profit opportunities induced an unprecedented surge in silver production in Spanish America and in Japan. Destined ultimately for China, tens of thousands of tons of silver passed through Europe via long-distance maritime and overland trade routes. Fifty tons of silver annually also reached China via the Pacific Ocean after the founding of the Spanish city of Manila in 1571. Japan exported huge quantities of silver to China until the late seventeenth century. New American crops were also introduced to Chinese agriculture via the Manila galleons, contributing to a doubling or more of Chinese population in the eighteenth century. Silver demand grew along with China’s population, which in turn led to a fifty percent silver price premium in China. Largely in response to buoyant demand, more Mexican silver was produced during the eighteenth century than had been produced by all of Spanish America during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries combined. Subsequently, during the second half of the eighteenth century, a “tea and opium cycle” propelled British fortunes in Asia. Economic, environmental, and demographic histories must not be viewed as independent phenomena. It is a mistake to view societies around the world as independent of or weakly connected to global forces. All heavily populated continents have been deeply connected since the sixteenth century.

Pestis Redux: The Initial Years of the Third Bubonic Plague Pandemic, 1894-1901
Myron Echenberg
pp. 429-449
Abstract: The third and most recent bubonic plague pandemic came to international attention in Hong Kong in 1894 before infecting ports and riverine towns on every continent within the following five years. While generating similar control measures as well as popular responses in a variety of urban settings, plague also highlighted cultural and political differences, which are briefly examined here for Hong Kong, Bombay, Sydney, Honolulu, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Alexandria, Cape Town, Oporto, and Glasgow. Overall, while the plague’s impact on humans was uneven, it proved to be an unmitigated disaster for wild rodents and their urban cousins all over the globe.


Is Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again?: The Revival of Imperial History and the Oxford History of the British Empire
Douglas M. Peers
pp. 451-467
Abstract: In 1984 the prognosis for imperial history was decidedly bleak; fifteen years later interest in the British empire was reaching new heights, as witnessed in the publication of the five-volume Oxford History of the British Empire (1998-1999). Many of the reasons for this renewed attention will be familiar to those working in world history. While imperial history and world history are not synonymous, there is certainly much overlap between them, especially when we seek to identify the origins of what would become global exchanges of ideas, institutions, and commodities. While it cannot be said that the Oxford History of the British Empire is the definitive word on the British empire — for the field is still preoccupied with a number of very heated debates including those raised by feminist and postcolonial historians — the 150 chapters that comprise this series offer unique opportunities to take stock of the field.


J. Donald Hughes, ed. The Face of the Earth: Environment and World History
Reviewed by Barbara Bennett Peterson
pp. 469-471

E. G. Richards. Mapping Time: The Calendar and Its History
Reviewed by Jeremy Neill
pp. 471-473

William G. Martin and Michael O. West, eds. Out of One, Many Africas: Reconstructing the Study and Meaning of Africa
Reviewed by John Thornton
pp. 473-475

Thomas D. Hall, ed. A World-Systems Reader: New Perspectives on Gender, Urbanization, Cultures, Indigenous Peoples, and Ecology
Reviewed by James P. Kraft
pp. 475-477

Fred Dallmayr, ed. Border Crossings
Reviewed by Ken Booth
pp. 478-480

Morgens Herman Hansen, ed. A Comparative Study of Thirty City-State Cultures
Reviewed by Marc van de Mieroop
pp. 480-483

Predrag Matvejevic. The Mediterranean: A Cultural Landscape
Reviewed by Céline Dauverd
pp. 483-485

Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell. The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History
Reviewed by Anthony Molho
pp. 486-492

Susan Whitfield. Life along the Silk Road.
Svat Soucek. A History of Inner Asia
Reviewed by David Christian
pp. 493-495

R. I. Moore. The First European Revolution, c. 970-1215
Reviewed by Robert Bartlett
pp. 495-497

S. D. Goitein. A Mediterranean Society: An Abridgment to One Volume
Reviewed by Peregrine Horden
pp. 498-500

William R. Thompson. The Emergence of the Global Political Economy
Reviewed by Ken Pomeranz
pp. 500-504

Dipesh Chakrabarty. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference
Reviewed by Gyanendra Pandey
pp. 504-506

Anthony Pagden, ed. Facing Each Other: The World’s Perception of Europe and Europe’s Perception of the World
Reviewed by David Hanlon
pp. 506-509

Colin Kidd. British Identities before Nationalism: Ethnicity and Nationhood in the Atlantic World, 1600-1800
Reviewed by Alison Games
pp. 509-512

Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker. The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic
Reviewed by Colin Kidd
pp. 512-514

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, Lynn Hunt, and Marilyn B. Young, eds. Human Rights and Revolutions
Reviewed by James C. Hsiung
pp. 514-517

Susan Migden Socolow. The Women of Colonial Latin America
Reviewed by Todd Hartch
pp. 517-519

Jeremy Adelman, ed. Colonial Legacies: The Problem of Persistence in Latin American History
Reviewed by John W. Sherman
pp. 520-522

Laura Hein and Mark Selden, eds. Censoring History: Citizenship and Memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States
Reviewed by Daqing Yang
pp. 522-525

Ramachandra Guha. Environmentalism: A Global History
Reviewed by Laxman D. Satya
pp. 525-529

David Boucher. Political Theories of International Relations
Reviewed by Marysia Zalewski
pp. 529-532

John Tomlinson. Globalization and Culture.
Brigit Meyer and Peter Geschiere, eds. Globalization and Identity: Dialectics of Flow and Closure
Reviewed by Gijsbert Oonk
pp. 532-537

Index to Volume 13, pp. 539-545