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The Age of Interconnection

A Global History of the Second Half of the Twentieth Century

Jonathan Sperber

Publication Date - 05 January 2023

ISBN: 9780190918958

816 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

A panoramic view of global history from the end of World War Two to the dawn of the new millennium, and a portrait of an age of unprecedented transformation.


A panoramic view of global history from the end of World War Two to the dawn of the new millennium, and a portrait of an age of unprecedented transformation.

In this ambitious, groundbreaking, and sweeping work, Jonathan Sperber guides readers through six decades of global history, from the end of World War Two to the onset of the new millennium. As Sperber's immersive and propulsive book reveals, the defining quality of these decades involved the rising and unstoppable flow of people, goods, capital, and ideas across boundaries, continents, and oceans, creating prosperity in some parts of the world, destitution in others, increasing a sense of collective responsibility while also reinforcing nationalism and xenophobia. It was an age of transformation in every realm of human existence: from relations with nature to relations between and among nations, superpowers to emerging states; from the forms of production to the foundations of religious faith. These changes took place on an unprecedentedly global scale. The world both developed and contracted. Most of all, it became interconnected.

To make sense of it, Sperber illuminates the central trends and crucial developments across a wide variety of topics, adopting a chronology that divides the era into three distinct periods: the postwar, from 1945 through 1966, which retained many elements of period of world wars; the upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s, when the pillars of the postwar world were undermined; and the two decades at the end of the millennium, when new structures were developed, structures that form the basis of today's world, even as the iconic World Trade Center was reduced by terrorism to rubble. The Age of Interconnection is a clear-eyed portrait of an age of blinding change.


  • First major global history of the entire era
  • Clear-eyed, narrative-based organization
  • Creative and illustrative use of maps, graphs, statistics

About the Author(s)

Jonathan Sperber is Curators' Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Missouri. His previous book, Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life, was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in biography.


"The book, most exclusively based on western materials, gives more space to developments in western Europe and America than to those in other parts of the world...Jonathan Sperber has written a landmark study of the twentieth century. A monumental work of scholarship, it will shape our thinking about the most global era in human history." -- David Motadel, Times Literary Supplement

"Jonathan Sperber has provided the first genuinely global history of the late twentieth century. It is a work of massive intelligence and erudition, beautifully rendered in eloquent and moving prose. Sperber really shows how interconnections work, and how apparently unrelated trends or events fit in with each other. A must-read for anyone interested in global order, and in the precarious legacy the twentieth century left for the new millennium." -- Harold James, author The War of Words: A Glossary of Globalization

"A preeminent historian of the nineteenth century has turned his attention to the second half of the twentieth, with spectacular results. Jonathan Sperber tackles the largest and most important themes head-on, with intellectual energy and a remarkable command of telling detail. The Age of Interconnection is bold, original, imaginatively organized, and exceptionally well written. This is a deeply serious book that is also exciting to read, a true tour de force." -- David Blackbourn, author of The Conquest of Nature and the forthcoming Germany in the World, 1500-2000: A Global History

"A truly brilliant, gripping, and readable history of the 1945-2001 world, making a very persuasive case that globalization is the main thread for economics, politics, and sociology in moving toward not utopia but at least a world in which a smaller proportion of us are in dire want and desperate fear." -- J. Bradford DeLong, author of Slouching to Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century

Table of Contents


    Part 1: The Material World

    Chapter 1: Nature
    Chapter 2: Disease
    Chapter 3: Technologies

    Part 2: Interactions

    Chapter 4: Markets
    Chapter 5: Migrations
    Chapter 6: The Powers

    Part 3: Varieties of the Social

    Chapter 7: Societies
    Chapter 8: Labor
    Chapter 9: Leisure
    Chapter 10: Consumers

    Part 4: Dreams and Nightmares

    Chapter 11: Beliefs
    Chapter 12: Murder
    Chapter 13: Utopias

    Epilogue: The Zeroes

    Select Bibliography