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Cartoon History of the Universe Volumes 1-7 Paperback – September 10, 1997


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Frequently Bought Together

Cartoon History of the Universe Volumes 1-7 + The Cartoon History of the Universe II, Volumes 8-13: From the Springtime of China to the Fall of Rome (Pt.2) + 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: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (September 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385265204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385265201
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

One of the beautiful things about comics is that it is possibly the best medium for combining education and entertainment. No one knows this better than Larry Gonick, whose Cartoon History series spans many subjects. Whether you are a fan of history, comics, or Gonick's books, The Cartoon History of the Universe I is a great place to start. Part I contains volumes 1 to 7, from the Big Bang to Alexander the Great.

From Publishers Weekly

Gonick's hilariously informative history of the planet is a great addition to the growing field of comics trade books. Starting with the Big Bang theory and moving on to the "evolution of everything," he manages to cover three billion years--from the origins of cellular life to the fossil and dinosaur periods that followed, right up to the first appearance of hominids--all with casual erudition, silly humor and delightfully cartoony black-and-white drawings. But Gonick doesn't stop there. He reinstates the record of women (their theoretical role in the development of agriculture and the matrilineal clans of the neolithic era) as well as accurately restoring black racial characteristics to the Egyptian dynasties. He also surveys other highly evolved ancient civilizations: the Sumerians, the Hittites, the Assyrians and the Israelites. Gonick cheerfully conjures rulers, warriors and slaves alike, many stumbling around in the desert, as they form the foundations for Western civilization. This is Gonick's first book.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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

4.6 out of 5 stars
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It's well written, it's occasionally funny and very readable.
E. E. Valeriano
If your kid likes history, science, or comic books, but thinks reading is boring, this will change his mind.
P. Benedict
Easy to read and great for college kids who like to be entertained while reading history books.
Estee Arend

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Carol Watkins on January 9, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had originally bought this book for use in my waiting room. However, some of the sexual humor and the irreverant approach to religious figures meant that it was a "stay at home" book. (Don't tell the IRS)

Now that the book is in its proper place, I should add that I enjoyed it immensely and went on to buy Volumes 2 and 3. (not on my office account though)The book starts with evolution of the earth and its creatures. The pictures were well done and the humor makes the factual material easier to remember.

The bulk of the book deals with the history of the human race. The author does not confine himself to European civilization. Two of my children read all three volumes, and I did not have to hassle them to do it. How often does this happen with other history texts? I am hoping to use their interest in some of the historical topics to encourage them to read other books. Each section of the Cartoon History contains a reference section for those who desire further reading.

Ideally this book should be a companion to serious textbooks on history. However, there are a lot of people who are unwilling and unable to absorb material from textbooks or lectures. People who are visual learners may be able to remember the pictures and the humor when they have trouble remembering college lecutres or long passages of text. I have recommended this and some other of the author's books to individuals who were having trouble with basic college classes.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By RigelK on February 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
Cartoon History presents a large amount of information at a rapid clip and keeps you laughing the whole time. Topics that may have seemed boring in history class (or weren't addressed at all) will suddenly spark the imagination and leave you wanting to read more. Thick history presented in the exact opposite of dry textbook style, all high school and college students should own a copy of this book! (Gonick doesn't pull punches about the graphic violence and bizarre sexuality of our history, so parents should exercise discretion about handing this book to younger students.) Gonick also shows intriguing perspectives that you won't get in the average, mainstream textbook market; and he especially gives women a voice they normally do not have. Hopping all over the globe for more than white man's western civ, this book and its sequel open up history in a startling and energized way. I highly recommend keeping a copy on your reference shelf.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael Durfee on September 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Larry Gonick's book on statistics inspired me. I still don't understand probability but I was amused. His history text shows again that he is smarter then I am but I understoond the text and learned about the time it took to get here from the beginning of time and the maze of attorcities that leads from one powerful kingdom to another. Cartoons help make powerful messages more tolerable. I may buy all of his work.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By goodoldmac on April 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Billions of years of history are combined in the first of these excellent books. Author Gonick takes us from the "Big Bang" to Alexander the Great with his cartoons and even manages to get a bit of detail in parts of it...(obviously this book is not comprehensive, nor is it intended to be)Gonick does not shy away from unpopular or unpleasant aspects either. His portrait of Moses is not particulary flattering and he is not afraid to poke fun at scientists and their various "theories" of how/why this or that happened. This book is written from a scientific viewpoint, so Creationism gets short shift here...(not mentioned at all in fact). An excellent bibilography is furnished at the end of the book for readers who want to delve farther into the historical periods covered here...very highly recommended
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dai-keag-ity on August 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
The first and best volume in Mr. Gonick's history series (just when IS the fourth book coming out???) truly does present more practical information about the history of our planet and the rise of the human species, than any history class I was ever in. And whatsmore, the author has made it fun to learn all this. I understand this book was edited by the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and what a gem she found to give us! Not only would I enthusiastically recommend this and all works in Larry Gonick's series to historian or casual reader alike, I would go so far as to say these are all masterpieces of erudition and intelligent presentation.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Thornett on August 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Teachers of ancient history will find that this book breathes life and personality into a time period that is often treated very dryly by textbooks. Whereas history textbooks are often "lists in paragraph form," this is no such thing; it tells stories that show what the events and changes in the ancient world meant to real people. Moreover, whereas textbooks often cover centuries and even millenia in a sentence, the Cartoon History focuses in on pivotal individuals and dynamics that are often left by the wayside in the attempt to cover "everything," which, of course, is impossible. I used excerpts from this book in 9th grade Western Civilization I at St. Anselm's Abbey School in DC; I believe it was students' favorite part of the course--it's too bad there aren't volumes for later periods of history.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Some of the big, thick and juicy history books can make the average reader's eyes bulge with terror. "The History of the Whole World!" or "World History Second by Second!" will probably disencourage the general interested reader by the threat of massive papercuts alone.
There's something about the word "cartoon" that adds appeal to any subject. "The History of the Universe!" by itself may make knees tremble, but "The CARTOON History of the Universe!" now my hands are a-grabbin' at the bookshelf. And grab we should; we should grope, fondle, and possess this great volume that will likely turn any historaphobe into a walking timeline.
History? Entertaining? NEVER! Yes, awake from your dogmatic slumbers, the dream can be realized. This book is funny, genuinely funny. And it's not a parody along the lines of "1066 and All That" - it's real history presented in an amazingly underrated educational genre.
The first book is chopped up into seven volumes which can be read more or less like serial comic books. Dramatic teasers provide segueways between the volumes, and keep the story flowing. Like it's subtitle says: "From the Big Bang to Alexander the Great", and since subtitles never lie, that's what you get.
THE BIG BANG starts off this book, and the book follows an evolutionary line - at one point outright stating "Darwin was right" (pg. 52). So, be warned all of you whose cars are adorned with fishes labeled "Truth" eating smaller fishes labeled "Darwin" - this tome may not be for you.
There is a long discussion about the evolution of sex, some "naughty" cartoons - which are usually hilarious - which leads into the evolution of species from the cambrian to the quaternary period.
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