reading response M 23
McNeill, John Robert, and William Hardy McNeill. The Human Web: A Bird’s-eye View of
World History. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003.
– J.R. McNeill and William McNeill, The Human Web: A Bird’s Eye View
of World History –Chapter VI
What did the world look like in 1450?
Why might the world have appeared to become “smaller” by 1800?
How might the “Commercial Revolution” have made a difference?
Your response should include a brief summary of the reading and your own interpretation of
it. What are the historical questions the author is posing? What is the historian’s argument?
What are the sources and methodologies the historian uses? How successful are they in
achieving their aim? Next, pose some questions of your own the text raises for you that you
believe deserve further discussion. These are informal reflections only, not formal papers, so
don’t get hung up on making them perfect, just do them! You will be surprised what you can
come up with when you put pen to paper, (or your fingers to the keyboard!) and articulate
your own interpretation of a text. The heart of historical practice is inquiry, so ask
questions! If there is something you don’t understand, say so! Do not be afraid to disagree
with the author’s findings, or question their methods. If you think the author could have done
something differently, write about it. If you liked the reading, or thought it was awful, tell me
that too. You are not being graded on your ability to remember everything you read, but
on your ability to synthesize the information and come up with questions of your own.
We will be discussing your questions and observations in class, so bring your own copy
Is this question part of your Assignment?
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