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Jacob Bronowski, despite not being a historian as such, gives one of the most beautiful overviews of human development I've ever come across in The Ascent of Man. It's more like anthropology, really, or a kind of history of science -- but the scope goes a lot wider than that, drawing on culture, biology, geography, and politics.
I'd recommend watching the television series and using the book as a companion. Finding this series in my early twenties genuinely made me a more a more compassionate person. If I could redesign a history curriculum from scratch, I'd probably draw heavily on this work.