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Comment: Softcover that has some cover and edge wear. Inspection of the interior pages did not reveal any underlining, highlighting or notes. This book has been shrink wrapped to better protect it in the warehouse.
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The Cartoon History of the Universe III: From the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance (Cartoon History of the Modern World) Paperback – October 17, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The second volume of Gonick's deeply researched, lucid and hilarious overview of history was published eight years ago. Good things take time, evidently. This third installment begins in the year 395, with the closing of Europe's pagan temples, and ends in 1492, with Columbus and crew setting sail. Readers get an overview of nearly everything that occurred between those two events, from the origins of Islam to the great Chinese dynasties and the Crusades, with "flashbacks" to the rise of African culture, the Turco-Mongol tribes and more. Gonick's take on history is whip-smart, skeptical about familiar but questionable stories and absolutely in command of dozens of simultaneous historical threads. He's also very funny, even at his most respectful. (In the chapter on the life of Muhammad, for instance, he makes a running joke of keeping the prophet permanently off-panel.) Gonick is fond of wacky little digressions, and the book includes plenty of learned slapstick (one ongoing gag concerns the "amazing amount of eye-gouging" in Byzantine history). The architecture and clothes in Gonick's work are drawn with convincing realism, but the people are broad, goofy caricatures, which somehow makes the entire presentation even friendlier: in fact, the author employs a handful of walk-ons disheveled, mustachioed academic types to explain the more complicated points.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-This clever, wickedly funny book begins with the birth of Islam, steps back for an overview of the history of Africa, jumps to Turkey and China, peeks at the Dark Ages in Europe, heads back to the Middle East for the Crusades, and wraps up with Christopher Columbus heading west. Gonick has a knack for finding intriguing bits of history that tend to be overlooked in conventional texts and reporting them with irreverent humor, as with the story of the group of Meccans who visited a cathedral in Ethiopia and left an unusual calling card. ("&*%$# pagans pooped in my church!" the king complains to the Islamic missionaries.) The book is a mixture of careful research and quips, often dwelling on the irony of people's actions versus their stated beliefs. The black-and-white art is energetic, sometimes spare, but generally evocative of time and place. Highly entertaining.
Susan Salpini, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cartoon History of the Modern World (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (October 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393324036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393324037
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.9 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael K. Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
Gonick is a highly trained mathematician who more or less left academe to become a cartoonist, and has won several awards in that endeavor. He's also a very fair general historian, especially in the way of multi-everything synthesis. This volume comprises volumes 14-19 in the series (as they were originally published), covering the back-story to and rise of Islam, the post-Roman history of Africa, the further development of China and India, and all the complexity of events taking place in Central Asia. Oh, yeah -- Europe, too! Actually, most of us with professional historian's training are still apt to think in European and North American terms, for which Gonick's work is a great antidote. He also puts paid to any notion of Islam being a "peaceful" religion -- no more than Christianity, certainly -- and readers with a knowledge of Jewish history also will be nodding at his witty but pointed renderings. And how many comic books have you read that include an index and an annotated bibliography?
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By A Customer on December 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this third volume of the greatest history books ever! It's simply a masterpiece. Larry Gonick has a superbly keen sense of understanding political, cultural, and even economical atmospheres in the context of the era he covers in this book (appox. 500-1500 CE). All the significant events and trends are tied together in an incredibly witty way, and always in a global context. He cleverly shows how interrelated and interdependent the world was back then. Jewish kingdom in Central Asia, Normans at the Balkans, and the Christian mother of Kublai Khan are all the surprizing new gems of knowledge I gained from this delightful book. Drawing-wise, I am glad Gonick took extra effort (better than Volume II) to create a feast of imagery and emotion. His medium of cartoon really gives much more than plain texts, especially historical texts. Just look into all those sad expressions of the ill-fated ones, and don't tell me you dont get sympathetic!
Volume I was my favorite book when I was in middle school, Volume II during my senior year in high school, and now, with a degree in History, I still get inspired and taught by this new, and best yet, volume of the History of the Universe series.
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Format: Paperback
After having grown up with the "Amar Chitra Katha", a brilliant idea that put India's vast mythology, history, and even some classic stories and legends in comic book form, I can greatly appreciate Gonick's work here.

I give it five stars even after reading some of the criticisms because of my own perspective on the presentation of historical "fact". There's never a case where the author's perspective or opinion isn't reflected in the work. We don't notice it when we agree with most of it. But again, all this is opinion.

The Cartoon History of the Universe series lays out a frame or foundation for otherwise dreary historical matter. After reading this comic series, it's much easier to pick up a history book and build on that base or even make adjustments to suit what you find more accurate. People already in the field of history may see holes or flaws, but anyone who has already dodged that career path is now enlightened, and carries the seed of interest.

Part III continues feeding me the reasonably heavy but still very entertaining content that makes me not want to put the book down. Gonick breaks the book into digestible parts, occasionally switching to a different part of the world or another culture and eventually bringing them all together. And this third book continues to make me laugh or smile. Look how gory history can be. The humor just reminds me of how we'd try to "look back and laugh" at the end of a difficult session of history class.

I admit I may only pick up corrections and adjustments to my historical knowledge over time and as I encounter them. But at least I won't ignore them, thanks to this series.
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Format: Paperback
It's been eight years since the last volume of Larry Gonick's fitfully-amusing, often-infuriating and always-interesting chronicle came out. Was Volume 3 worth the wait?
Well, no, not really. I don't envy Gonick the task of squeezing three continents and 800 years into 300 pages, but he was able to do the second volume in four years, and many fans have been tapping our fingers with impatience waiting for this one to come out.
That snit-fit out of the way, the book is all you'd expect from the previous volumes, with terrific chapters on the rise of Islam and the Mongols. The narrative gallops along at a brisk pace, with unexpected surprises and much needed chronicles of dark chapters in history, like Visigothic Spain. Gonick also cuts back on some of his politically-correct tendencies and amps up the humor in this work. You're not going to agree with all of Gonick's conclusions, he gets a few things wrong (the dates of Clovis' reign in France come 40 years after the man died) and is generally too hard on Europe and too easy on the Byzantine Empire and the caliphate.
These are minor nits to pick, though. The book is as engaging as other entries in the series, and more informative than some straight histories. Here's hoping we don't have to wait another decade for Volume IV.
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