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The Cartoon History of the Modern World, Part 2: From the Bastille to Baghdad Paperback – October 6, 2009


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The Cartoon History of the Modern World, Part 2: From the Bastille to Baghdad + The Cartoon History of the Modern World Part 1: From Columbus to the U.S. Constitution (Pt. 1) + The Cartoon History of the Universe III: From the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance (Cartoon History of the Modern World)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060760087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060760083
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The final installment of Gonick's deeply funny and impeccably researched series has finally arrived, and like the rest of his Cartoon History series, the book covers a wide range of key and fascinating historical events and topics that have managed to slip through the gaps of common knowledge. The section linking the slave trade, the Haitian revolution and the Napoleonic Wars is particularly good, as are the segments on the modern history of Japan and China. Brilliantly funny, the series finds the inherent humor in history rather than pasting on irrelevant jokes. This is the most politicized book in the series, a jarring but perhaps unavoidable element, since it covers an era ending when Gonick sent the proofs to his publisher. Also, the pacing is odd and frequently rushed—it seems to need an extra hundred pages. Possibly as a result, the book has some interesting gaps. Most notably, aside from the occasional snide remark or allusion, the entire pre-Vietnam history of the United States is completely left out. While Gonick has covered these topics in depth in other books (the stand-alone Cartoon History of the United States) and perhaps tired of them, the absence is glaring. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Full of facts and wisdom, horror and humor….Gonick’s one-two punch of pictures and words isn’t just a gimmick; it makes it much easier to remember the facts of history. If we really wanted kids (or adults!) to learn history, we’d throw away our textbooks, and teach Gonick.” (Bryan Caplan, The Library of Economics and Liberty EconLog)

“With limber pen and nimble mind, Larry Gonick completes a cartoon journey that started at the dawn of time. Brisk, informative, and hilarious, The Cartoon History Of The Modern World fills us in on exactly how we got so screwed up on a global scale.” (K. Thor Jensen, author of Red Eye, Black Eye)

“Like any good historian, Larry Gonick seasons his facts with a good dose of perspective, and like any good cartoonist, he mixes his drama with a good dose of humor.” (Jeffrey Brown, author of Clumsy and Funny Misshapen Body)

“Gonick makes history fun for comic book nerds and comics readable for history nerds. If you’ve ever looked around this modern world and wondered how we got into this mess, it’s time to curl up with his latest book. You won’t even realize you’re learning—histo-tainment at its best.” (Alex Robinson, Eisner Award winner and author of Box Office Poison)

“Lively cartooning and pretension-puncturing wit.” (Booklist)

“The final installment of Gonick’s deeply funny and impeccably researched series has finally arrived... Brilliantly funny, the series finds the inherent humor in history...” (Publishers Weekly)

“Funny, informative, and comprehensive, Gonick’s history concludes with this second volume. His unique wit, sense of irony, and passion for humanity’s complex story of triumphs, compromises, and disasters are as evident here as they are in his previous books... An insightful review of history.” (School Library Journal)

More About the Author

Larry Gonick has been creating comics that explain history, science, and other big subjects for more than thirty years, ever since Blood from a Stone: A Cartoon Guide to Tax Reform appeared in 1977. He has been a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and is staff cartoonist for Muse magazine.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Excellent book, and the series is highly recommended as a text on world history.
Amazon Customer
Larry Gonick's Cartoon History series is the best overview of history I've ever read, and since I majored in history, I've read a lot.
William Spillman
Really, the only negative thing I can say about this is that I'm very sad the series had to come to an end.
Hunter H

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read Gonick's original volume of this series - The Cartoon History of the Universe Volume 1 - back in the early 90's as a teenager. Since then I have kept up with each of the new volumes, so it was with both great excitement and a little sadness that I finally cracked open this final volume.

This volume does not disappoint. Gonick keeps up the fast paced run through of history that we have come to expect in the books, covering from the 1700's all the way through 9/11 and today.

Finally getting up to a century that I know well - the one we were all born in - it was interesting reading his take on events that I actually knew in great detail. There were a few things that I was bummed were left out - though planes start appearing in panels, the beginnings of flight are not covered. While Sputnik is mentioned and ICBMs, the space race is not covered. However, knowing Gonick's work as well as I do, I know this wasn't due to any ignorance or forgetfulness on the author's part - he simply could not put everything in.

As I said before, fans can rejoice because this volume is no different than the others. It is more of the same wonderful history and cartoons fans have come to expect.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Deygan Brendan on October 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
The only thing I found disappointing about this final volume in Gonick's classic Cartoon Histories was the fact that it he hadn't made it a couple hundred pages longer by being more detailed about certain periods - but that only emphasizes how much fun these books are to read.
Another brilliantly-written and drawn chronicle that you'll want to read again and again over time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Carter Holland on October 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've probably read Gonick's "Cartoon History" series at least a dozen times now. It's a brilliant refresher on the history of our world. It's straight forward, entertaining and informative. The ONLY complaint I could levy at Mr. Gonick's work is that the last few pages seemed rushed. I feel that his modern world series would have benefited from being delivered in 3 volumes rather than 2.

Thank you Mr. Gonick for this awesome series!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Stimson on July 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Larry Gonick's "Cartoon History of the Universe" series are my favorite books, or any media, ever. They work as entertainment because Gonick has a great, irreverent sense of humor and an engaging writing style. They (generally) work as art because Gonick is a top-notch cartoonist. And most crucially, they work as history because Gonick conducts careful research and is able to synthesize the bewildering subject that is world history in a coherent, informative way. As such it's easily the best introduction to the subject and did more than anything else to start my lifelong interest in history.

It is thus with a heavy heart that I consider this last volume the weakest in the series. The bitter truth, noticeable in the third volume but readily apparent by the fourth, is that the overall quality steadily declines as the series goes on. Gonick's first book, written in installments back in the '80s, has more youthful vigor, creativity, lush illustrations, detailed explanations, and coherence. These last two volumes, the so-called "Cartoon Histories of the Modern World," are smaller in size and contain fewer pages. Book 1 had 7 volumes (50 pages each); this one has 5. Gonick's style has changed a lot over the years, and frankly, it's just not as good. The smaller pages and panels make for less detail and more cramped, confusing panels (although there are a few cases of wasted space, too).

I was nervous years before this that Gonick wouldn't be able to adequately juggle the increasing amount of information that comes with modern history. Book 4 did it decently, but here I think he falters. 5 volumes simply isn't enough to adequately cover all that happened. In general Gonick tries to focus on something in each volume.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Raymond Cooper on January 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Larry Gonick's cartoon history books. I own and have read all of them. Of course I am a trained historian, but you don't need to be to enjoy these books while learning a lot of history. In fact I would recommend these books to people who think that all history is boring. You might be surprised how entertaining our past can be! Gonick is a master at making anything funny, but the history in these books is accurate and well researched, so you are learning while having fun. That is the way all education should be. If only social studies classes in school were this good!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Spillman on July 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Larry Gonick's Cartoon History series is the best overview of history I've ever read, and since I majored in history, I've read a lot. The reason is that the combination of illustrations, humor, succinct descriptions of key events, and intelligent insights and perspectives combine to make events more memorable than any text, and most professors ever could. This volume is the last in the series, concluding with current events, and offers insights and perspectives that were new even to me.

Gonick illustrates events in a humorous fashion, making jokes, puns, and commentaries on the events his narration illuminates. Occasional footnotes provide greater depth in three or four panels than some books' entire chapters. He offers a global perspective on events, rather than focusing on American or Western events only. He also takes factors such as population, economics, and technology into account as well as politics and religion when examining the reasons behind events. Overall, casual readers will learn more, faster from his books than from any other source, and more serious history buffs will gain new insights into events no matter how much they've studied them from conventional sources.
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