The Atlas of Past Times, by John Haywood

My Copy: 9780681423183 (image from

I’m a book devourer, so it makes sense I’d randomly buy things in the bargain pile when I get browse-happy. This book was one of them, and is similar to another book on my shelf that I haven’t reviewed yet. So, one at a time, I’m going to read and study each book cover to cover.

The Atlas of Past Times is pretty self-explanatory. It gives a history of the world in well-colored and marked maps with some textual explanations. I’m a sucker for maps, especially National Geographic ones.

Well, these aren’t National Geographic, but the detail and the clarity in the 100+ maps are certainly good enough for the price (even at full price). It’s a book I’d call a great resource for a quick reference to a historical event.

The layout is largely chronological, but shifts to account for regional/ cultural events such. You won’t find a section dedicated entirely to South America or Europe before moving on. I like that, because this keeps the context and you don’t need to flip through several sections of the book to get the gist of what was going on in a certain year. The maps are within a few pages of each other.

That’s why I like maps so much–a great map is worth more than a chapter of text in some cases. It lets you think instead of passively absorb.

Well, any student who’d like a good historical map reference guide and can’t spend much, this one will do some good. I’d recommend it for that, and at least until I read the other one, I’ll definitely be keeping it.

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