The first-ever college textbook on big history, this title focuses on the idea of increasing complexity and is structured, like the big history project courses, accordingly. Most of the second half explores human history; the final chapter looks to the future.
Eric Chaisson | Columbia University Press, 2007 | Book
Chaisson is one of the pioneers of big history, having taught such courses from an astronomer's point of view since the early 1980s. This is his telling of the big history story, showing how increasing complexity is sustained by increasing energy flows.
Spier has taught big history in Amsterdam since the mid-1990s. He has a background in biochemistry as well as in anthropology, so has the perfect training for thinking about the field. In this book, he develops the ideas of Eric Chaisson and explores the important notion of 'Goldilocks conditions,' showing how complexity appears only in very special places in the universe, where the conditions were 'just right.'