What do we mean by 'civilization'? What are the accepted norms of a civilized society and how have they come about? From the domestication of animals to the concept of zero, the first public works programme to bacteriology, the development of ritual to the idea of the museum, this book surveys over 25 of the most important milestones in the history of civilization. Far from being a list of man's greatest achievements since the dawn of time, "Milestones of Civilization" sets out to answer these difficult questions and more: are true milestones those that have advanced human understanding and abilities the most? Or are they smaller changes that have brought an improvement in living standards to the many? Is it possible to predict what future generations will call milestones in the formation of civilization and will their choices be the same as ours?Contentious and often surprising choices invite the reader to question the very nature of the term 'civilization' and an interactive companion website will gather suggestions for other milestones.
Linda Blandford is an author, journalist and presenter for BBC television and Radio 4 (including 'Start the Week' and 'Pick of the Week'). She has written for papers including The New York Times, The Guardian and The Sunday Times as a columnist and international reporter, and has taught courses in Politics, Philosophy and History, and International Relations and the Middle East at the University of London. Her books include Oil Sheikhs: in Quest of the New Arab (Weidenfeld and Nicholson) and America on Five Valium a Day (Methuen). She lives in London. Peter Davidson has taught courses in Philosophy and History at the University of London and has written and directed documentaries on WWII and related subjects for the History Channel. H lives in London.