This is a broad spectrum history of the world from a few thousand years BCE through the fall of the Roman Empire in first few centuries of the CE. Because it covers so much ground, it’s important to discuss some of the methods and approaches. Bauer explains that her focus is covering not only what is known for sure, but also what is spread through oral histories, myths, and other early sources. In part this is because otherwise the history would be primarily severely limited to dry accounts of what archeologists have been able to uncover, but would also be severely limited. So even where the records might be somewhat apocryphal or in question there’s a sense that this is at least a cultural history. Primarily this focuses on a few major regions, which are more or less supported by historical records. Egypt, Mesopotamia/Middle East, India, China, and around the Mediterranean. We begin with what we know prior to the invention of writing, and then move into the first formations of writing. This goes into discussions about the technology and need for writing as a matter of invention. We slowly move toward the idea of writing being beyond necessity, but that takes some time. The history moves laterally first around certain eras, slowly moving into the more modern eras, and by the time we’re near the close, the amount of information available becomes a rich, layered set of histories. I remember reading SPQR by Mary Beard and being struck that late historians of the Roman Empire (like Pliny) could cite early histories some five or so hundred years earlier. The amount of time covered is just hugely monumental, and the life and spirit that comes through in a still relatively dry history is wild. The biggest success I think is helping to divorce the idea of human condition from the forms of modern technology that we often feel are inextricably tied to the value of our life.