Writer’s Dreamtools offers a neat timeline of real-world historical events by decade, from the 1650s to the 1990s.
It’s full of snippets, not depth — perfect, in other words, for GMs looking for historical details who don’t want to wade through lots of text to get to them. Topics include bad guys, what’s “in,” entertainment, religion and more.
My only quibble is the format, which runs together on the screen; it could use a bit more differentiation. That definitely doesn’t keep it from being useful, though. (Via kottke.)
The best bit of that? New slang words of the decade. I’m a linguaphile in severe debt to you now.
I’m a huge fan of historical atlases for impressions of history– one of the few occasions when I’m more visual than textual.
There’s a book that’s also excellent– it divides the world into regions and runs through them, timeline style, with politics, technological change, etc. It starts with the greeks, or maybe earlier… when I figure out its title, I’ll come back and throw it in. It’s great for getting a view of the big picture– putting together all the little details that make it seem natural/organic for whatever happened to happen.