We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

E-book purchase
Choose a subscription

Downloaded copy on your device does not expire. Includes 4 years of Bookshelf Online.


Where applicable, tax will be added to the above price prior to payment.

E-book purchasing help


The Twentieth Century

A World History

R. Keith Schoppa

Publication Date - August 2021

ISBN: 9780190497361

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

In Stock

The Twentieth Century: A World History offers a rich chronological narrative of our recent past and provides a valuable historical standpoint from which to view our twenty-first century world.


Never before had any century in history known the continually accelerating rate and scope of change experienced in the twentieth century -- with its revolutionary discoveries, technological inventions, political upheaval, and scientific advances, radical transformation touched virtually every arena of life.

In The Twentieth Century: A World History, R. Keith Schoppa uses a global lens spanning Africa, the Middle East, Russia, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and the Americas. He traces the major developments of the twentieth century from the rise of globalization to the dawn of the digital age; from the Great War of 1914-18 to the “great war in Africa,” conflicts that span the first genocide of the century in Namibia to that of Bosnia-Kosovo in the late 1990s. It was the “century of the refugee,” as the explosion of human violence caused significant population displacement-and it was also the century of indigenous peoples fighting off the lingering impacts of imperialism. This volume surveys various U.S. struggles in battles for civil rights, and witnesses the 1992 collapse of Soviet communism. The century ended in a spasm of violence: four African and European national genocides and the African war, one of the ten deadliest in history, involving nine nations, leaving 6 million dead and 5.4 million refugees.

From the collapse of empires to the rise of decolonized nation-states on the global stage, The Twentieth Century: A World History offers a rich chronological narrative of our recent past and provides a valuable historical standpoint from which to view our twenty-first century world.


  • Offers an accessible and concise historical examination of the twentieth century
  • Provides a rich and nuanced account of our recent past by focusing on lesser-known figures of the era and a balanced comparison of widespread tragedies--as in the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl-- and of victories such as the success of the digital revolution of the 1980s
  • Updates our understanding of the twentieth century with discussion of migration, the rise of feminism, state formation and state-sponsored violence, and nationalism and globalization

About the Author(s)

R. Keith Schoppa is Professor Emeritus of History at Loyola University Maryland, where he served as the Doehler Chair in Asian History from 1998 to 2014. His books include In a Sea of Bitterness and Blood Road: The Mystery of Shen Dingyi in Revolutionary China, which won the 1997 Association for Asian Studies' Levenson Award.


"Schoppa does an admirable job of covering many of the major themes of 20th-century world history." -- T. Anderson, CHOICE

Table of Contents

    Editor's Preface


    Chapter 1: The Great War and Social Change, 1900-1919

    Chapter 2: Claustrophobia: Totalitarianism and the Great Depression, 1920-1936

    Chapter 3: Worlds Blown Apart, 1937-1949

    Chapter 4: A New Day? Revolution, Cold War, and Decolonization, 1950-1965

    Chapter 5: Struggling for Equality, Freedom, and Peace, 1966-1979

    Chapter 6: Bright Triumphs, Dark Disasters, 1980-1991

    Chapter 7: Written on the Darkest Pages of Human History, 1991-2000

    Further Reading