The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean, by David Abulafia.
Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age, by Robert Bellah.
These are very good books for large classes of readers, just not for me. They have garnered, or will be garnering, stellar reviews. The former, for my taste, covers too many eras, has too much detail on matters I don’t care about, and ultimately chooses the wrong organizing principle for its material. The Economist, however, loved it. The latter has too much general material and doesn’t get to the cutting edge points in a sufficiently ruthless manner. For many people, though, it may be the best introduction to the general area.
By the way, I just pre-ordered Ezra F. Vogel, Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, which looks to be an important book.