This reader in modern world history attempts to put in perspective the major events of the 20th century which have had a global impact. That century began with the promise of war permanently banished, of medical advances that would extend life and enhance its quality, where industrialization would finally eliminate material deprivation and the expansion of knowledge would permanently end our spiritual poverty.
The world has not reached that new millennium. Some grand predictions became a reality but much of the progress automatically assumed and the century's onset was lost in the spiraling carnage of war and hatred unleashed for the first time on a global scale in 1914.
If our failure to achieve the beneficent transformation lies in our past then The Making of the Modern World is an attempt to try to understand that past. Thus words of the variety of people in this volume ranging from Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong to Tsuki-san, the teenage factory girl in pre-World War II Japan and the anonymous Kenyan businesswoman in the 1970s all help us comprehend the diverse views and values which have shaped our planet. Through their words we may find a more profound understanding of our past and possibly our future.