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A History of the Twentieth Century: The Concise Edition of the Acclaimed World History Reprint Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0060505943
ISBN-10: 006050594X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Martin Gilbert is Winston Churchill's biographer and the author of eight acclaimed books on the Holocaust. He lives in London.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (December 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006050594X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060505943
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Choosing a book of general world history is confusing, but this is a fine choice (it helped me pass the FSOE...twice). It runs through general themes of the last century in a clearly-worded manner without getting bogged down in names, dates, conspiracy theories, ideology, or blaming the world's problems on anyone. I took one star away merely because some of the WW2 stuff is unnecessarily detailed (I understand it interests many, and some other books were worse, but a bit too much on one war to me). If the lone poor review worries you, it's incorrect - the book does well to cover many areas (and why any review in such poor English would convince you not to read a book in English is beyond me, since the reviewer could not have understood the book). But as the foreword makes very clear, this is a selection of issues. It is possible, even likely, that your ethnic, linguistic, racial, or religious group's particular problems - or viewpoints - are not covered, but this book will put those issues in a broader perspective. And yes, it focuses on issues that will interest a Western, English-speaking reader but it does a surprisingly decent job on touching on all areas of the world to demonstrate general themes and does so without judging events. If you want a detailed history or one on a specific group or issue, read a book on that: For example, I recommend The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence for a decent, highly-detailed African history, but this book is a great overview before you head into more detailed work.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book on recommendation for the FSOT exam for US Diplomats. Its function as such is my primary interest, although I prefer well-written books over reference tombs.

I am on page 130 of this book and I am growing weary fast. It's just an endless list of facts which progress (or slouch along?) chronologically, with geographical changes of stage from time to time. While this style of writing "covers the bases" of the facts of what happened in the 20th Century occident, when I read a book, I expect to get some glue, or some authorial insight to the base materials behind the book. Because let's face it, even the most brilliant person is not going to be able to store endless facts in their head: say, the number of Croats killed in the first Balkan war. But it is reasonable to digest these facts as part of certain themes: that the ongoing ethnic strife in the Balkans fomented WWI and continued up until the most recent NATO activities in the Kosovo war. Ah, now we have a theme, a big idea that is easy to understand, which can be porous to all the little facts as you begin to assimilate them. These are the facts pertinent to an FSOT exam, any student of history. But their continuity, the connection between the facts, is EVERY bit as important as the raw numbers.

This man likes writing in numbers. Specifically of how many people died here, there, and everywhere.

In a sense, it's a good (and in this book, a constant, constant, constant, constant, constant) reminder of how much human death brought us into the 21st century. But I get it, ok, dude? I don't need to hear this crap over and over again, let's move on! The constant refrain of death figures becomes its own dulling agent.
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I hesitate to write this, but it may help someone else. Very well written but way to wordy and abstract for a 15 year old. This was the recommended text for our 15 year olds high school history curriculum. We changed to the Bob Jones World History text instead. This is really college level material, in my opinion. My daughter devours history books and did not like this at all.
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Just a stack of newspaper clippings and little analysis of note. Guess that's what happens when three volumes are downsized to a "concise" history. Just my take...he is a noted historian and authority; but, this volume is largely uselessfor my purposes.
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Format: Paperback
"Concise" may be a relative term but this does not feel concise to me.
I have picked this up to try to read it several times, and just cannot slog through it--too much what feels to be regurgitation of innumerable facts.
Could use some Isaacson or McCullough narrative.
Maybe it's just too much to ask for an entire century! Nice effort but I could not get through the book!
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Format: Paperback
I found the amount of events covered, and in as much detail as was presented, far exceeded my expectations for a concise book from this period. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to know the major events of the time.
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I didn't realize this would be such a reference-type book. I was hoping for something a little more easily read. Still, it will be useful for my high schoolers for writing papers.
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The book was used in a short semester study by adults over 60. It was perfect for the course because I could do further research on any subject covered, after getting the basics from the book and further details from the professor - a great book to have around for the grandchildren!
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