The heritage of Western civilization is a major point of departure for understanding the twenty-first century. The unprecedented globalization of daily life that is a hallmark of our era has occurred in large measure through the spread of Western technological, economic, and political influences. From the sixteenth century onwards, the West has exerted vast influences throughout the globe for both good and ill, and today's global citizens live in the wake of that impact. It is the goal of this book to introduce its readers to the Western heritage, so that they may be better informed and more culturally sensitive citizens of the emerging global age. The attacks upon the mainland of the United States on September 11, 2001 and the events that have succeeded those attacks have concentrated the attention of teachers, students, and informed citizens upon the heritage and future of Western civilization as have no other events since the end of World War II. Whereas previously commentary about global civilization involved analysis of the spread of Western economic, technological, and political influences, such commentary now requires us to explain how the West has defined itself over many centuries and to think about how the West will articulate its core values as it confronts new and daunting challenges. Twenty years ago, the West defined itself mainly in terms of the East-West tensions associated with the Cold War. The West is now in the process of defining itself in terms of global rivalries arising from conflict with political groups that are not identical with nation states and that define themselves in terms of opposition to what they understand the West to be. We have thus entered a new era in which citizens of the West need to understand how their culture, values, economy, and political outlooks have emerged. They cannot leave it to those who would attack the West to define Western civilization or to articulate its values. SinceThe Western Heritagefirst appeared, we have sought to provide our readers with a work that does justice to the richness and variety of Western civilization. We hope that such an understanding of the West will foster lively debate about its character, values, institutions, and global influence. Indeed, we believe such a critical outlook on their own culture has characterized the peoples of the West since its earliest history. Through such debates we define ourselves and the values of our culture. Consequently, we welcome the debate and hope thatThe Western Heritage,eighth edition, can help foster a genuinely informed discussion through its overview of Western civilization, the West's strengths and weaknesses, and the controversies surrounding Western history. Human beings make, experience, and record their history. In this edition as in past editions, our goal has been to present Western civilization fairly, accurately, and in a way that does justice to its great variety of human enterprise. History has many facets, no one of which alone can account for the others. Any attempt to tell the story of the West from a single overarching perspective, no matter how timely, is bound to neglect or suppress some important parts of that story. Like all authors of introductory texts, we have had to make choices, but we have attempted to provide the broadest possible introduction to Western civilization. To that end we hope that the many documents included in this book will allow the widest possible spectrum of people to give personal voice to their experiences over the centuries and will enable our readers to share that experience. We also believe that any book addressing the experience of the West must also look beyond its historical European borders. Students reading this book come from a wide variety of cultures and experiences. They live in a world of highly interconnected economies and instant communication between cultures. In this emerging multicultural society itKagan, Donald is the author of 'Western Heritage Since 1300', published 2003 under ISBN 9780131828834 and ISBN 0131828835.