The Student’s Friend Concise World History

The Student’s Friend Concise World History, Parts 1 and 2: Prehistory to the Present by Mike Maxwell

The Student’s Friend Concise World History offers an overview of human development through time from prehistory to the present day. Here you will find events that shaped our world and people who helped to shape events.

The Student’s Friend provides these benefits:

Unlike traditional textbooks that can overwhelm the reader with countless facts to absorb, this historical narrative is meant to highlight the most important developments of world history in a clear and concise manner that is capable of being comprehended by the human mind.

Teachers have successfully used The Student’s Friend in homeschool, middle school, high school, and college in the United States and abroad.

It’s compatible with findings from cognitive science about how people learn, remember, and use knowledge.

It eliminates the gaps and discontinuities that result when teachers skip around in standard textbooks that include more information than can be covered adequately.

It helps to balance breadth and depth by leaving time in the curriculum for learning activities that delve deeper into selected aspects of world history.

Ideally, students would have two school courses to explore the long span of human history, which is why this historical narrative consists of two parts: Prehistory to 1500 and 1500 to the Present.

Some educators—feeling that part two is more relevant to the present—might choose to forego instruction in part one. However, students would miss an opportunity to learn about many foundational concepts of history and geography, and about major cultures of the Middle East, India, China, Africa, and the Mediterranean that continue to exert considerable influence in the contemporary world.

The Student’s Friend has been available online as a free download since 2001, and the latest version is now available in book form with features not included in the download version. Lesson plans, essential outline maps, and other resources that support teaching with the Student’s Friend are available on the website.

Reaction to The Student’s Friend Concise World History

The Student’s Friend Concise World History was the answer to my prayers. I found it after my first semester teaching, and have not looked back. Eight years on, the Student’s Friend has completely changed my philosophy and approach to history education.” -Joel Allen, Walhert Catholic High School, Dubuque, Iowa

“I have struggled to accept any of the history teaching texts I’ve seen as sufficient to properly teach history, as I want my children to learn from it. I love The Student’s Friend! I have used it for my son for world history and am now starting to use it for my daughter.” -Thomas Gaitens, homeschool teacher, Tampa, Florida

“Mike Maxwell has proven that a slim volume, elegantly written, is worth more than a shelf full of tomes. The Student’s Friend Concise World History is by far the best textbook I’ve ever used to teach world history; I’ve been using it for more than 10 years. I love the way this book is organized into short, easily digestible lessons that flow smoothly from one to the next. The writing is excellent, and Maxwell’s choices about what to include—and perhaps, more importantly, what to leave out—are nothing short of brilliant. I highly recommend this book for students, teachers, or anyone who wants to learn more about the world.” -Tefel Hall, San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco, California

“I have found The Student’s Friend Concise World History to be indispensable to my teaching since I discovered it in 2009. It provides an unbiased and concise—yet surprisingly thorough—journey through history that facilitates an understanding of patterns in history. It offers teachers and students more freedom of choice by providing a solid core around which the class is built, while leaving plenty of time for projects and activities that delve deeper into selected subjects of history. With the Student’s Friend, Mike Maxwell has done teachers a great service. -Glenn Yutzy, McDowell High School, Marion, North Carolina 

To learn more or to purchase the book, visit

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