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Christopher Harman’s “A Peoples History of the World” Essay

Chris Harman offers a unique optimistic observation of history from ancient times to present, where the needs in transformation in technology and relations between classes in the society are “set on”. In Section II of the writing the author emphasizes the importance of the ideas and makes a rather successful effort to create a well-liked history of the humanity, representing the interrelation between the progress of means of manufacturing as well as and the fight between classes.

A People’s History of the World is a very optimistic writing. One of the most interesting arguments of the author is that human nature represents a construct: Human beings, we have been told, have always been greedy, competitive and aggressive, and that explains horrors like war, exploitation, slavery and oppression of women. I argue very differently. ‘Human nature’ as we know it today is a product of our history, not its cause (Harman, 2008). For the author, all the people have options.

These options are different for each individual, depending on his/her position in the society or gender. The view of slavery seems very interesting: a master has more options, but slave also have them, notwithstanding that they are different. According to the author, this creates our history. This statement makes clear the author’s argument that the research of the material reasons of this or that event is very important, however it is not enough, it is just the first step necessary to be made in order to understand something deeper.

The writing of Harman, namely Section II, tells the reader a very important thing: it not just describes historical events like other books do, but tries to explain to us where our history comes from. In the textbooks on history we usually find simple list of events and many facts remain not properly understood, while the given writing shows us the completely different view on what is happening is the world. Bibliography Harman, C. (2008). A People’s History of the World: From the Stone Age to the New Millennium. Verso Books


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