Doane Graduate Donn Crilly Authors 'History of the World'

Doane Graduate Donn Crilly Authors 'History of the World'

Some would say Donn Crilly’s book was a long time coming. And rightfully so, for a book that covers the history of the world.

At 85 years old, the Doane graduate recently published his 1,086 page book “History of the World.” Crilly, of Superior, considers the book one of his lifetime crowning achievements, with only a handful of books that attempt to cover such an extensive history of the entire world.

The book comes from years and years of note-taking from his travels to places like the Soviet Union, Africa, Mexico, Nepal, Japan and numerous other countries. Along the way, he collected maps and recorded local and historical stories, which would later become the basis for his book. According to a representative of publisher company InfusionMedia, "A History of the World" provides the reader with an overview of history from a scientific perspective, beginning with humankind's first experiences and ending with the events of 1945, with some commentary on the state of the world since then. A special focus is made on belief systems, mythology and human psychology, as well as the relationships between languages and their classification.

Crilly graduated from Doane in 1950. He took history courses, and the late Doane Professor Kenneth Rossman tried to convince him to change majors. Instead, Crilly pursued science.

He went on to the University of Nebraska Medical School in Omaha.  After an internship in Kansas City and a residency in vascular surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., he moved on to the place he now calls his second home in Salzburg, Austria. He has made the trek back there over 75 times since he finished his schooling. Crilly worked as a vascular surgeon until his retirement in 1993, which allowed him time to focus on writing.

Although he didn’t change majors back in college, the History Department still impacted Crilly’s writing. He said his undergraduate studies at Doane College and his teaching assistantship with the History Department provided him with the approach to studying history that helped him write the book--he decided to focus on the history of civilizations instead of nations.

Someone who could write such a book requires a vast knowledge and understanding of the world, and Crilly’s travels helped verse him in the subject. But readers don’t have to worry about not being able to understand the book.  Crilly purposely wrote his work in a conversational tone so that readers could understand how and why events and trends happened.
“A History of the World” covers history until the end of World War II. Crilly stopped there because he said the history after that deserves a different book in itself.


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