Responding to the need to take a fresh look at world history, hitherto dominated by Eurocentric ideologues and historians in their attempt to justify the nature and character of modern capitalism, this book looks at the ancient world system and how it has influenced the development of the modern world. It also analyses the origin and nature of modern globalisation and the challenges it presents in achieving socialism. Amin examines the role played by Central Asia in determining the course of world history as well as the different roads taken by Europe and China. The book looks closely at a theme that has been primordial to his contribution to political and economic thought: the question of unequal development. This is a refreshing and creative work that is necessary reading for anyone wanting to understand the real process of history.