Globalization is fast becoming the most over-used and least-understood word in the world. For Tony Blair it is 'inevitable and irresistible'. To deny it, says Nelson Mandela, is 'like saying I do not recognize winter'. The accelerating political, economic, cultural and environmental interconnections that it describes are powerful and controversial. But where did globalization come from - and where is it going next? By identifying successive waves of globalization - from 15th-century explorations to the European trading empires of the 19th century; from the construction of the Great Wall of China to the fall of the Berlin Wall - Alex MacGillivray tells the incredible story of how a mysterious flat earth became a global village. Covering globalization from all angles (the rise of the multinational corporation, the birth of the football World Cup, how most film stars know a friend of a friend of Kevin Bacon), MacGillivray opens the lid on the complex economics behind the controversies and gives equal play to technology and culture, politics and war. From Babylon and Bollywood to Seattle and satellite navigation, the book is rich in detail, wide-ranging in scope and even-handed in its assessment of the benefits and dangers of globaliztion. It is the brief history of an incredible shrinking planet.