MORE THAN ONE correspondent has expressed a keen desire to see the historical essays published here of late in the form of a book. It is flattering to see so much interest, and it is also very encouraging, since, as Dr. Boli has already mentioned, the book is in preparation, and will be published later this year under the title Dr. Boli’s Complete and Utter History of the World.

Although the book is not ready yet, there can be no harm in releasing this preliminary table of contents, which will serve to keep hope alive in the breasts of those readers whose patience is sorely tried by waiting a few months for the release of the volume they anticipate with such fervor.

A few more chapters from the book will be published here, so that, from the part, readers will be able to form a fair judgment of the whole.

Dr. Boli’s Complete and Utter History of the World.

1. From the Creation of the Universe to the Dawn of Civilization

2. The Definition and Character of Civilization

3. The Ancient Egyptians, Furnishing and Decorating the Afterlife Since 3150 B.C.

4. The Less Marketable Ancient Civilizations

5. The Israelites Discover Monotheism and Spend Most of the Rest of Their History Trying to Back Out of It

6. The Ancient Greeks Live the Examined Life

7. The Ancient Greeks Invent History

8. Alexander Runs Out of Worlds to Conquer

9. While Rome Conquers the World, Greece Conquers Rome

10. Christianity Ruins Everything

11. The Roman Empire Declines and Falls for 1500 Years Straight

12. Barbarians Everywhere

13. Nothing Happens in the Dark Ages

14. Charlemagne Turns On the Lights

15. The Middle Ages Mistakenly Think Themselves Modern

16. France Invades England; or, England Invades France

17. Europe Pushes the Reset Button

18. The Reformation Eliminates Evil from the World

19. Europeans Discover America; Americans Discover Europeans

20. It Turns Out That the Reformation Left Some Unfinished Business

21. Europe Discovers That the Rest of the World Is Just Sitting There

22. France, England, Spain, Holland, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, and Liechtenstein in North America

23. The French and Indian War Is a Pretty Big Deal

24. Liberty and/or Death

25. So the French Think They Can Have a Revolution, Too

26. Napoleon, the Most Successful Failure in History

27. Americans Throw Their Weight Around

28. Europe Has a Bunch of Revolutions and Stuff

29. Americans Debate the Slavery Question Rather Noisily

30. The North Prospers; the South Gets Reconstructed

31. Suddenly, There’s This Thing Called “Germany”

32. It Looks as Though Africa Might Be Profitable After All

33. Labor Malcontents with Their Unreasonable Demands Ruin Things for the Rest of Us

34. The First World War Is Impossible to Explain

35. The October Revolution Is Delayed Till November

36. The Great Depression Breeds a Snobbishly Thrifty Generation

37. The Second World War Is a Lot Easier to Explain Than the First

38. The Cold War Is Good for Business

39. History Comes to an End

40. Actually, Ignore the Title of the Previous Chapter


  1. Surely the Crusades merit a chapter of their own? Must the Arab/Israeli wars of the second half of the 20th century get crammed into the same Cold War chapter as Korea and Vietnam? Either way, this promises to be the must-read volume of the decade, and a mandatory part of any bathroom reading collection!

    • Dr. Boli says:

      The problem with writing a history of the world is that everything ends up being “crammed” in one way or another. If one is not careful, even a small subject can balloon to half a dozen volumes. —Nevertheless, the table of contents is only preliminary, and suggested additions are always helpful. The Crusades certainly are one of the funniest chapters in world history, so they may well deserve a fuller treatment.

  2. Anelie says:

    Hurrah! I have commenced sitting on the edge of my seat, and will not shift until publication :-)

  3. John Thayer Jensen says:

    Faster! Faster! Write faster!!


  4. Caren says:

    I would complain that this isn’t so much “The History of the World” as the history of western civilization. A shame because the rest of the world has so much of interest to offer—the rather demanding gods of the Aztecs, the eunuchs who ran much of China, and the many Japanese assassinations, for instance.

    • Dr. Boli says:

      This is the objection Dr. Boli attempted to answer back in the second chapter:

      “Some of these early civilizations, like the Chinese or the Mesopotamian, gave birth to traditions that continue uninterrupted to the present day. Many others, like the Inca and the Aztec, were rather rudely interrupted by European adventurers. Because they had no contact with Europe until their discovery, these civilizations do not form part of history proper until after the first European explorers had visited them, after which they become part of history retroactively. History, you see, is a difficult and complex science. If it were merely a matter of arranging events chronologically, anybody with a calendar could do it. The science comes in determining which peoples and civilizations are making history at any given time and which ones are merely goofing off.”

  5. Some more musings on bits of history that might deserve more attention in the outline, and perhaps better satisfy that minority of critics who wish for a less Eurocentric focus:

    1.) The rise of Islam…would that be part of Barbarians Everywhere, or the nothing that happens in the Dark Ages? Or is it so intertwined with the story of the decline of Byzantium that it’s covered under Rome falling for 1500 years?

    2.) The life and conquests of Genghis Khan are a fascinating story (and ripe for parody), and might be combined with Marco Polo’s story for a sort of prequel chapter to the chapter on the Europeans Discovering America.

    3.) The dynasties of China might benefit from a similar treatment to that already given to the Egyptian Dynasties, with the added benefit that these at least have names rather than mere numbers.

    4.) It may already be too late, but while the Ionian Awakening was seeing the birth of Greek Philosophy, a concurrent intellectual stirring in India was seeing the birth of Buddhism, which would later prove so influential on the sort of Philosophy Student of the 1960’s who thought Parmenides just wasn’t esoteric enough.

    5.) The Samurai and Shoguns of Japan not only make for interesting reading, their efforts to slam the door on the face of European visitors for several centuries must surely speak to one so reclusive as the good doctor himself.

  6. Fantastic! This ought to be a delightful reading once the book is released. My anticipation is growing every second.

    Sincerely, me.

  7. Björn says:

    Focus on stuff which will make good motion pictures in the Hollywoods! Heros and virgins and dramatic battles with romantic pauses, and stuff like that, I’d say. Or at least think how it can make good T-shirt slogans. One needs to think about ‘multimedia’ in order to survive in publishing these days.

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