A Short History of the World
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There is an increasing realisation that our knowledge of world history–and how it all fits together–is far from perfect. We might all know about the odd event, but there is a good chance that if we had to talk about what was happening in the world before or after, or even at the same time, we would not be quite as knowledgeable.
A Short History of the World aims to fill the big gaps in our historical knowledge with a book that is easy to read and assumes little prior knowledge of past events. The book does not aim to come up with groundbreaking new theories on why things occurred, but rather gives a broad overview of the generally accepted version of events so that non-historians will feel less ignorant when discussing the past.
To help readers put events, places and empires into context, the book includes 32 specially-commissioned maps to accompany the text. The result is a book that is reassuringly epic in scope but refreshingly short in length. An excellent place to start to bring your historical knowledge up to scratch!
An absolute must for anyone who wants to understand how it all fits together!
At first I thought, wow - what a promise. A full history of how it all happened - from the infamous big bang to the present day worries about climate change, all in 164 pages - how is that possible?
As it turns out, the book takes the reader on a whistle-stop tour of the key events that have made the world as we know it today. It's fascinating how suddenly I was left with a sense that I 'got' how certain historical dates fit together. It really makes it easy for the reader to connect the dots - especially so with a collection of simple maps, which come in handy as the book zips through the many rises and falls of various empires.
It's by far the fastest way I've come across to brush up on some historical facts I knew - I should know; and not only that - the book also serves up a number of wondrous moments with curious facts and anecdotes e.g. no horses in America before Columbus, or the origin of the word 'arigato', which means 'thank you' in Japanese - pointing to the Portuguese explorers. Fascinating little facts that make this book such a joy to read.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the tone. It's refreshing for a history text to be so accessible and not overloaded with dry facts and not patronising in any way.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is curious about history's best kept secrets. If anything, it will arm you with a host of anecdotes, it will no doubt inspire you and make damn sure that the inquisitive kids in your life just know - that you know your stuff.
Food for the brain and a real page turner!
I decided to rewrite my original review after just finishing my second reading of this book (I wasn't happy with my original review).5.0 out of 5 stars
It really is a great book, and I've thoroughly enjoyed reading it and learnt a lot. It's definitely not one of them books you only read because you feel you SHOULD read it. It honestly is a real page turner. So I often I found myself saying, "Oh, never knew that..." Also the author, when talking about (for example) an ancient kingdom, explains where that kingdom was relation to the modern day world.
The numerous maps are also very handy. My only criticism of the book would be that I would have liked a more detailed table of contents, and list of the maps at the front of the book. But they only minor criticisms.
Overall 5 Stars.
Finally a word history for the layman!
Really enjoyed it and it certainly helped join the dots.