Parragon Publishing’s Minipedia on Great Civilizations is yet another fine encyclopedia you can carrying around in a roomy pocket from this publisher. This volume deals in depth with great civilizations in history from the earliest settlements in Africa to the great Asian dynasties to the western culture dominating the world today.
Vividly illustrated with drawings and photographs, the book is as interesting to look at as it is to read. The book is separated into sections by region, not content to stop with continental grouping. There are sections dealing with civilizations in Mesoamerica and Australasia, as well as sections dealing with the Celts, Israel and Islam.
In addition to chapters on the great empires of history such as the Ottoman, Hittite, and Mongol, the volume also features in-depth analysis of all the great religious civilizations throughout history. In this time of Muslim witch-hunts, the sections dealing with the history of Islam and the association between Christianity and Islam is particularly enlightening.
North American pre-Columbian civilizations get a little short-shrifted, but plenty of information is offered on Native American myths and legends. South America before the time of Columbus gets much better treatment and if you are still confused about the differences between the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs, this book will come in very handy.
An interesting and useful feature of the book is that all area sections begin with primitive origins, using as much archaeological data to build a foundation for cultural evolution as possible. From the usually scarce information regarding these prehistorically beginnings, the book evolves outward into ever increasing density of information about the cultures that have come and gone in these countries.
The index is all-encompassing and the book also features a constructive glossary of terms covering all the major terms employed in the book.