Modern political geography, reflected in the 200-odd states into which the contemporary world is divided, offers at best a simplification of the world's ethnic and cultural complexities. The nation-states that sit at today's United Nations represent but a fraction of the huge number of distinct and identifiable peoples, nations and cultures that have come into being, settled, migrated, flourished, declined, assimilated, and - in many cases - disappeared since the distant beginnings of recorded history. Cassell's Peoples, Nations and Cultures is a fascinating and informative guide to the myriad discrete ethnic and cultural groupings that have inhabited our planet over the past 6000 years. It presents - in a simple and easy-to-follow A to Z structure within five regionally based sections (The Americas, Africa, Europe, S & Cent. Asia and the Middle East, and E & SE Asia and Oceania) - clear, concise and readable histories of some 1500 peoples, nations and cultures: from the Assyrians of the ancient Middle East to the modern-day Armenians, from the Belgae of ancient Europe to the modern-day Basques.
Peoples, nations and cultures covered include the inhabitants of present-day nation-states (Americans, French); minority peoples within these (Sorbs in Germany, Basques in Spain); peoples dispersed over a number of nation-states (Kurds, Jews); significant cultural but non-ethnic groupings (Maronite Christians in the Levant); and extinct peoples (Alans, Goths).
Professor John MacKenzie, general editor of Peoples, Nations and Cultures, is a specialist in British imperial history. He is a non-teaching fellow of the Universities of St Andrews, Aberdeen and Stirling, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.