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Spine for World History: Medieval-Renaissance period?

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ETA: We're strongly leaning toward Duiker and Spielvogel's World History.


I'm looking at options for “World History: Medieval-Renaissance†next year for a 10th grader who's pretty academically focused. I'd really like to use Daileader's excellent 3-part Middle Ages in Western Europe audio lecture series, so I'm looking more for a complementary text with a global focus and any interesting primary-sources reading in world history for period ~A.D. 1000-1800.


Some of the world history options for our spine are:


Strayer, Ways of the World: A Brief Global World History With Sources. I have this, it has a global focus, it has some focus on primary sources and their interpretation, so it's definitely a candidate for us. I would like to hear others' experiences, however, to see if there's something that might be better for DS.


Duiker and Spielvogel, World History. A lot of people refer to using or having used “Spielvogel,†but there seem to be several versions of World History and Western Civilization by him. This one seems to be the best fit, but I'm really not sure. I don't think we'd go with his Western Civ. Book. An interesting review of an earlier edition of Spielvogel's World History: A Human Odyssey is here. It appears that Duiker was added as a co-author, and lead author, somewhere along the way, but I'm not positive. ETA: a 2008 WTM thread discusses this text; there's also an interesting review by an AP World History teacher for 9th and 10th graders here with experiences using Duiker and Spielvogel in 2001-2002.


Spielvogel, Glencoe World History. This book seems clear, and I really like the extensive use of primary sources. It seems to me, however, that it's intended for a one-year non-honors 9th grade world history class, written at about a 6th grade reading level. It really looks good for its intended purpose, but I think DS is beyond that point in background, reading level, familiarity with maps, etc. ETA: In an earlier WTM thread, another reviewer considered it pre-high school and written at a 5th grade reading level.  If you can handle the distracting side-bars and the reading level and background is right, it looks like a good text, however.


I have Noble's Western Civilization, which has worked well for DS, but using it means I'd need to supplement for the rest of the world, which I might do, though not ideal; we'll also be using the audio lectures of “Great Authors of the Western Literary Tradition,†which is taught by Noble for the middle ages period, and it would be nice to get another perspective.


SWB's History of the Medieval World. I have this, and it's a good book, but we started with her ancient book at the beginning of 9th and switched.


I'd appreciate any feedback on your experiences on world history spines for the Medieval-Renaissance period (or useful primary sources to use). Thanks!

Edited by Brad S
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As background, what we did in 9th grade for ancients: we watched and discussed the Great Courses' "History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective†and read Noble, et al's Western Civilization through about A.D. 1000. DS read Herodotus and excerpts from Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius, and Sima Qian. In parallel, we're also finishing up a world literature course over the same time period, using mostly the Norton Anthology of World Literature, Concise Edition. We're planning on going through world history in three years, mostly compressing years 2-3 of a WTM-type schedule. Thanks.


Edited slightly for clarity and to update.

Edited by Brad S
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  • 1 month later...

Strayer's book for world history is excellent. I have an older copy of Bulliet's text, which is fine, but Strayer excels in his narrative.


For Medieval-Renaissance, I would probably combine the non-Western Civ. chapters in Strayer or similar text and then expand on the Euro portions with a Euro text.  I think I have three different ones, Hunt, Kagel's, and Chambers, I think.  I actually like an older version of Lynn Hunt's book that my older kids used for AP Euro.  I submitted our syllabus for audit with my newer copy listed along with the Chambers volume as our main texts, but we reverted to the older copy for Sailor Dude. 


Brad, I will pm you tomorrow. I have TC lectures and texts you might be interested in to go along with the Econ resource I am sending you. Remember, I am all done.  I have all kinds of suggestions as well for primary and secondary resources. How wild do you want to get?

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I have both volumes of Strayer's Brief Global History With Sources and it is clearly written.  I had written the draft course plan with Noble, et al's Western Civilization and Strayer for non-European and then switched to Duiker and Spielvogel (plus the Daileader lectures) but still reading the Strayer introductory section on using primary sources.  Either way has merit.  When I read some sections side by side, I liked Duiker and Spielvogel a little better than Strayer for Medieval (although it's possible I would have come to a different conclusion with different sections), but I wasn't impressed with Duiker and Spielvogel for the 20th Century and doubt I'd use it for 11th grade, and maybe we'll go with Strayer + a Euro text for modern.  If DS does decide on an AP World History or AP European History in 11th, that would greatly affect our textbook choice.  In any case, we'll probably use the Strayer big picture brief essays at the beginning of each section, which are a really nice feature either as an introduction or review.    


We'll be pretty heavy on literature of the time since we're planning on reading all of the Norton Anthology of World Literature, Concise Version, over that time period plus a few other things, so I don't want to go overboard on the history.  But we need more primary sources; a couple of good secondary sources would also work.  (My DS is really into history right now, and I've left a few books around which he's been reading on his own, so that's one approach.)  I'm more than open to all sorts of suggestions!

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