William H. McNeill (historian)
|William H. McNeill|
Holding first copies of the Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History on his 87th birthday
October 31, 1917|
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Died||July 8, 2016
Torrington, Connecticut, United States
|Occupation||Professor, Historian, Writer|
|Spouse(s)||Elizabeth Darbishire (married 1946–2006)|
|Children||J. R. McNeill, Andrew, Ruth, Deborah|
|Awards||National Book Award
National Humanities Medal
|Education||University of Chicago|
|Alma mater||Cornell University|
|Thesis title||"The Influence of the Potato on Irish History"|
|Institutions||University of Chicago|
|Notable works||The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community|
William Hardy McNeill (October 31, 1917 – July 8, 2016) was a Canadian-American world historian and author, particularly noted for his writings on Western civilization. He was Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Chicago where he had taught since 1947. He was also the father of historian J. R. McNeill with whom he co-authored The Human Web: A Bird's-eye View of World History.
Life and career
Early life, education, and military service
William McNeill was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the son of theologian and educator John T. McNeill. He was educated at the University of Chicago, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in 1938 and Master of Arts (M.A.) in 1939. In 1941, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in World War IIm in the European theater. After the war, he obtained his PhD at Cornell University, in 1947.
In 1947, he began teaching at the University of Chicago, which became his home throughout his professional career.
McNeill's most popular work, completed early in his career, is The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community (1963). The book explored world history in terms of the effect of different old world civilizations on one another, and especially the dramatic effect of Western civilization on others in the past 500 years. It had a major impact on historical theory, especially its emphasis on cultural fusions, in contrast to Oswald Spengler's view of discrete, independent civilizations.
Rise of the West won the 1964 U.S. National Book Award in History and Biography. Mcneill's book, Plagues and Peoples (1976), was an important early contribution to the impact of disease on human history and contributed to the emergence of environmental history as a discipline.
McNeill was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama on February 25, 2010. The citation recognizes "his exceptional talent as a teacher and scholar at the University of Chicago and as an author of more than 20 books, including The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community (1963), which traces civilizations through 5,000 years of recorded history."
McNeill was married to Elizabeth Darbishire until her death in 2006.
He died in July 2016, at the age of 98.
- (1947). The Greek Dilemma War And Aftermath J. B. Lippincott Company, London: Victor Gollancz
- (1949). History of Western Civilization: A Handbook. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 6th edition, 1986. ISBN 978-0-226-56159-2.
- "The Introduction of the Potato into Ireland," The Journal of Modern History Vol. 21, No. 3, September 1949
- (1963). The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Revised edition, 1991. ISBN 978-0-226-56141-7.
- (1973). "The Ecumene: Story of Humanity". Harper & Row. 0065520424
- (1974). The Shape of European History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-501807-3
- (1974). Venice: The Hinge of Europe, 1081-1797. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-56149-3.
- (1976). Plagues and Peoples. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-12122-9.
- (1979). "Historical Patterns of Migration (with comment & reply)", Current Anthropology, 20 (1): 95–102, March 1979, doi:10.1086/202206, JSTOR 2741864, PMID 11630845
- (1980). The Human Condition: An Ecological and Historical View. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-05317-0
- (1982). The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-56157-7
- (1989). Arnold J. Toynbee: A Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506335-X
- (1991). Hutchins' University. A Memoir of the University of Chicago. 1929-1950. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-56170-4
- (1992). The Global Condition: Conquerors, Catastrophes, & Community. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- (1995). Keeping Together in Time: Dance and Drill in Human History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- (1998). A World History. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 4th edition. (First published 1967). ISBN 0-19-511616-X
- (2003). The Human Web: A Bird's-Eye View of World History (with J. R. McNeill). New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-92568-4
- (2005). Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History (with Jerry H. Bentley, David Christian et al., editors). 5 volumes. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing Group. ISBN 9780974309101.
- (2005). The Pursuit of Truth: A Historian's Memoir. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.
- (2009). Summers Long Ago: On Grandfather's Farm and in Grandmother's Kitchen. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing Group. ISBN 9781933782713.
- (2011). Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History, 2nd Edition (with Jerry H. Bentley, David Christian et al., editors). 6 volumes. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing Group. ISBN 9781933782652.
- "William H. McNeill, Professor and Prolific Author, Dies at 98". New York Times. Retrieved 2016-07-13.
- McNeill, William H. (March 1979), "Historical Patterns of Migration", Current Anthropology, 20 (1): 95–102, doi:10.1086/202206, JSTOR 2741864, PMID 11630845. (Biographical details from bottom of page 95.)
- McNeill, William H. & McNeill, J. R (2003). The Human Web: A Bird's-eye View of World History. New York: Norton.
- "A germ of an idea". University of Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
- McNeill, William H. (1963). The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community. University of Chicago Press.
- "National Book Awards". National Book Foundation. 1964. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
- ["President Obama Awards 2009 National Humanities Medals". National Endowment for the Humanities. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
- McNeill, William (2005). The Pursuit of Truth: A Historian's Memoir. Lexington, Kentucky: University of Kentucky Press. p. 52.
- "Obituary". University of Chicago News.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: William H. McNeill (historian)|
- The Changing Shape of World History, William H. McNeill, Paper originally presented at the History and Theory World History Conference, March 25–26, 1994.
- Decline of the West?, William H. McNeill, Review of Samuel P. Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. The New York Review of Books. January 9, 1997.
- J.H. Elliott (16 May 1974), "Where We Started", The New York Review of Books, retrieved 2010-05-26 — joint review of four books including two by McNeill
- McNeill, William H. "Discrepancies among the Social Sciences." Conspectus of History 1.7 (1981): 35-45.