World History as a Way of Thinking by Eric Lane Martin Essay
The most defensible and common sense way of identifying what is important in history is to ask how many people it affected in the end. Some ideas, some geographical facts, some discoveries, some societies, even some individuals, have changed the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of millions. They determined that certain courses of action were open to humanity, other closed. This leaves room in so brief an account of world history for only a few personal names, it may be remarked: they are those of people who changed the possibilities open to their fellow-humans. This does not mean that the history of the millions of the unnamed, unknown, easily forgotten, is not worth studying. Everything in the past is worth study. A summary, though, registers the fact that those millions might have lived very different lives has the more influential humans not done things which changed the world—and all history is some kind of summary.
So we see from the beginning Roberts has set out to ascertain who matters or who has shaped the outcome of more lives throughout history. This, in a sense, sets Roberts up to