This fascinating survey, subtitled ""From the Ice Age to the Fall of Rome,"" provides a basic grounding in mankind's rise to organized societies, ending at A.D. 600. It attempts to hit the highlights of virtually every major ancient civilization, beginning in prehistoric times and proceeding geographically, covering each populated land mass and dwelling on civilizations for which more information is available. Each chapter opens with a map showing various regions of influence and is then divided into subchapters by time period. Full-color illustrations, informative captions, and fact boxes make this introduction highly accessible. The lack of bibliography will not deter most readers from exploring further after this fine start.