While world history materials date back to prehistoric times, the field itself is relatively young. Indeed, when the first edition of Peter Stearns's best-selling World History in Documents was published in 1998, world history was poised for explosive growth, with the College Board approving the AP world history curriculum in 2000, and the exam shortly thereafter. At the university level, survey world history courses are increasingly required for history majors, and graduate programs in world history are multiplying in the U.S. and overseas.
World events have changed as rapidly as the field of world history itself, making the long-awaited second edition of World History in Documents especially timely. In addition to including a new preface, focusing on current trends in the field, Stearns has updated forty percent of the textbook, paying particular attention to global processes throughout history. The book also covers key events that have altered world history since the publication of the first edition, including terrorism, global consumerism, and environmental issues.