Cover image for A history of civilizations
A history of civilizations
Braudel, Fernand.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Grammaire des civilisations. English
Publication Information:
New York : Penguin Books, 1995.

Physical Description:
xl, 600 pages : maps ; 20 cm
General Note:
Originally published: New York : A. Lane, 1993.

Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library CB78 .B73 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Kenmore Library CB78 .B73 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



This book covers the civilisations of the Middle East, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe, from the eighth century. Written in 1962, Braudel took a consciously globalistic approach which was way ahead of his time.

Author Notes

Fernan Braudel was the author of several acclaimed histories, including "A History of Civilizations", "On History", "The Structures of Everyday Life", & "The Wheels of Commerce". He died in 1985.

(Bowker Author Biography) Fernand Braudel, 1902 - 1986 French historian Fernand Braudel was born in 1902. He studied under Lucien Febvre and was a founder of the Annales School of Historiography. He went to Brazil in 1935 as one of the young French scholars who founded the University of Sao Paulo. He was a German prisoner of war during World War II. After the war, he was a professor at the College de France in Paris from 1949-1972, editor of the journal Annales, a founder of the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in 1963, and president of the VIth Section of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes from 1952-1956.

While Braudel was a prisoner of war, he wrote "The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philippe II" (1949). The book shows the environment in which the peoples of the Mediterranean Basin used to live, from the mountains and plains, the sea and rivers to the roads and towns. He combines the rhythm of "geographic time" with the rapid rhythm of "individual time" and the movement of the people and their ideas. The subject matter of history changes because the time frame of history changes. The short-lived dramatic moments are replaced by the lengthy rhythms of material life. Braudel studied the history of the development of capitalism, the flows of communication and the money it induces, the shift in borders it results in and even the changes in the structure of the State it determines.

Braudel's other works are "Ecrits sur l'histoire" (Writings on History, 1969), "La Dynamique du capitalisme" (Dynamics of Capitalism, 1985), and "Identity of France" (1986). The Fernand Braudel Institute of World Economics was created in 1987 by a group of economists, businessmen, journalists and civil servants that were concerned with the process of economic and social disintegration caused by decades of chronic inflation.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

A leader of the Annales school, which reacted against the prominence of politics and personalities in historiography, Braudel wrote based on la longue duree, emphasizing the material basis of daily life--the routine workings of commerce as it changes over the long term. This outlook has gradually permeated the profession, and, as so often happens when a good idea proves unstoppable, its proponent takes a turn at textbook writing. This is the late Braudel's 1962 lesson for French university students on the origin of European, Islamic, Indian, Asian, and New World civilizations. As a text it wasn't widely adopted, perhaps because France was then in a political uproar, pitting its colonialists--heirs to the civilizing mission of the nineteenth century--against decolonizers. And the book bears that sign of its time: The colonial motif pops up everywhere, presented as a timeless feature of ways of life in collision. So it was at the Battle of Tours in 732, which stopped the Muslim juggernaut; and so it is now in the anti-Western sentiments in the Arab world. Whether the conflict split religion and religion, town and country, or liberty and right, the colonial view benefits from Braudel's phenomenal depth of knowledge and synthesizing agility, and his palpable curiosity enlivens the sometimes deadly textbook form. For serious history collections. ~--Gilbert Taylor

Library Journal Review

Braudel was the most prominent member of the Annales school of history in post-World War II France. This history, originally published in 1963 as part of curriculum reform for French secondary students, was eventually judged by French school teachers as too hard for their students and was withdrawn. More than half the book is devoted to the development of Western civilization, and despite the judgment of French school teachers, it is suitable for serious high school students along with undergraduate and public libraries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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