List of Comparative History Books and Works : Vote for your favorites.

List of Comparative History Books and Works   : Vote for your favorites.

Comparative history is the comparison of different societies which existed during the same time period or shared similar cultural conditions.

The comparative history of societies emerged as an important specialty among intellectuals in the Enlightenment in the 18th century, as typified by Montesquieu, Voltaire, Adam Smith, and others. Sociologists and economists in the 19th century often explored comparative history, as exemplified by Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, and Max Weber.

In the first half of the 20th century, a large reading public followed the comparative histories of (German) Oswald Spengler, (Russian-American) Pitirim Sorokin, and (British) Arnold J. Toynbee. Since the 1950s, however, comparative history has faded from the public view, and is now the domain of specialized scholars working independently.

Besides the people mentioned above, recent exemplars of comparative history include American historians Herbert E. Bolton and Carroll Quigley, and British historian Geoffrey Barraclough. Several sociologists are also prominent in this field, including Barrington Moore, S. N. Eisenstadt, Seymour Martin Lipset, Charles Tilly, and Michael Mann.

Historians generally accept the comparison of particular institutions (banking, women's rights, ethnic identities) in different societies, but since the hostile reaction to Toynbee in the 1950s, generally do not pay much attention to sweeping comparative studies that cover wide swaths of the world over many centuries.


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