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'A brilliant inquiry into culture and society over some seven centuries, Mary Evans explores the origins and trajectories of modernity from the Reformation through the Enlightenment to the contemporary period. Her intellectual control of complex ideas and diverse forms of evidence is consistently impressive. Exploring various pessimistic, dystopian strands in European perspectives on modernity by Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Weber and Theodor Adorno, she defends a balanced view of both the negative and positive consequences of modernization. This is historical sociology at its best: judicious, theoretically informed, carefully crafted, grounded in empirical research, and above all intellectually clever. "A Short History of Society" will prove to be a valuable companion to the student who needs a concise scholarly and sociological overview of modernity' - Bryan Turner, National University of Singapore."A Short History of Society" is a concise account of the emergence of modern western society. It looks at how successive generations have understood and explained the world in which they lived, and examines significant events since the Enlightenment that have led to the development of society as we know it today. The book spans the period 1500 to the present day and discusses the social world in terms of both its politics and its culture. This book is ideal for undergraduate students in the social sciences who are perplexed by the myriad of events and theories with which their courses are concerned, and who need a historical perspective on the changes that shaped the contemporary world.