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A Little History of the World: Illustrated Edition Hardcover – November 1, 2011
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Over the weekend, I picked up a book that I've long wanted to read, shown to me by a friend several years ago when it was first translated into English: A Little History of the World. First written and published in 1936 (written in six weeks - SIX), this book covers a staggering amount of history, starting from the very beginnings of human history and culture, from the prehistoric eras, and running up through to the dropping of the atomic bombs in 1945. Needless to say, in 284 pages, this is not a book rife with specific details, names and dates. Rather, this is an extremely broad look at how human history progressed.
While there are plenty of details lacking, this book is not intended as a grand work of history. It's written simply, for a younger audience, to tell the tale of our existence - it helps to provide a broad context for our history to anyone who is mildly interested in the subject, and at this, the book succeeds wonderfully. As a student of history, I can appreciate the task at hand, and having read through the book in a day, I was astounded at just how much information is here. Almost every major era of human history is covered, and linked to the next - reading over the pages, we move from the Egyptian dynasties to ancient Babylon, to Greece, to Rome, to the Middle Ages and so on, up through to the present day.Read more ›
In contrast to a typical "dry" history book with facts and dates, this book's style was extremely engaging. Gombrich did not shy away from using the first person and second person, and that made the style feel very interactive. For example, the section on Alexander the Great included, "His commands could now be said to reach all the way from the Nile to Samarkand. This would probably have been enough for you or me, but Alexander was far from satisfied." More importantly, Gombrich liberally inserts his own unique interpretations of the key takeaways, which add to the charm and coherence of the book. I loved that the book interprets rather than just relates. For example, he concluded his Bronze Age section with, "They were people just like us. Often unkind to one another. Often cruel and deceitful. Sadly, so are we. But even then a mother might sacrifice her life for her child and friends might die for each other. No more and no less than often than people do today." This also illustrates the author's ability to relate ancient events and people to modern people and current practices.
In fact, what amazed me about the style is that it managed to be conversational and dynamic but the author was still able to seamlessly integrate profound observations and sweeping statements. One of my favorite sentences was the description of the Spartans and the Athenians: "Knowing how to die like that isn't easy. But knowing how to live is, perhaps, even harder." Nonetheless, the grand generalizations were balanced by carefully selected details which made the history come to life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extremely well-written, thoughtful history. It touches on most of what an educated person should know in history. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Reviewer
Reading this book is not like getting a PhD in world history, but it sure catches you up on some major things you may have missed. Read morePublished 24 days ago by dsm
Outlines the history of the world in a concise and easy to understand format. You are never too old to enjoy this book.Published 1 month ago by Susanh
The writing is very good. The poorer rating is based upon the concept of "world" in the title really means "Europe" with a passing nod to the rest of the world. Read morePublished 1 month ago by William W. Adams
! Other reviewers have more patience (and intelligence :) ) to go into further details about this book…I don't. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ehor Peet
It gave me a really nice and simple view of the history of humanity. I found it really interesting to read.Published 1 month ago by carlos gustavo gutierrez
Easy to read survey of (mostly European) history_i would recommend to anyone of all ages. I feel like I understand so much more about every period in history.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer