Customer Reviews for

A Short History of the World

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

75 out of 86 people found this review helpful.

As someone who is more than a few years out of university and in

As someone who is more than a few years out of university and increasingly dependent on Google, my recollection of major historical events is a bit dusty and fragmented, if not altogether forgotten, so “A Short History of the World” was the ideal refresher.
...
As someone who is more than a few years out of university and increasingly dependent on Google, my recollection of major historical events is a bit dusty and fragmented, if not altogether forgotten, so “A Short History of the World” was the ideal refresher.

Lascelles may not unearth any new theories on world history, but he succeeds in providing a big picture view on the world and making connections which are really useful and interesting, as are the maps that are embedded throughout the text.

It's a breezy and worthwhile read that sparked my curiosity to delve deeper into several of the topics covered in the book. I really enjoyed it.

posted by Anonymous on June 12, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

69 out of 87 people found this review helpful.

Interesting but uneven

The positives. Lascelles correctly focused more space on recent history as that tends to be neglected in public schools and imperfectly understood by the populous. Also, his writing is readable, if opinionated, even sarcastic. Words like "unfortunately", "inevitable" an...
The positives. Lascelles correctly focused more space on recent history as that tends to be neglected in public schools and imperfectly understood by the populous. Also, his writing is readable, if opinionated, even sarcastic. Words like "unfortunately", "inevitable" and "needlessly" betray his approach.
On the negative, Lascelles wasted space on pre-history, confused facts, and accentuated minor facts while ignoring major ones. Inserted quotes, like one by Voltaire, often did little to illuminate the topic. He uses undefined colloquialisms--"pole position" and "laissez-faire". He declares that tea and coffee consumption explained the seventeenth century world's increasing demand for sugar. He credits Pasteur for the invention of vaccines, even though they'd been used for a hundred years before. He decries the exploitation of women in "Africa, India and the Middle East" seeming to give the rest of Asia a bye. He discussed Marx and his theories but, even though he referred often to capitalism, he never defines it nor refers to Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. Similarly, he focuses on Gorbachev's role in the collapse of the USSR, but credits neither the USA nor Reagan. He implies Kennedy softness solved the Cuban Missile crisis. He praised the "inspired leadership" of Nelson Mandela but reduced Gandhi to a "figurehead". His Anglophile bias showed.
His closing "What's Next" is a subjective environmental screed.
While I agreed with many his opinions, I simply found the book too opinionated to take as serious history. Looking as the footnotes for his quotes, his use heavy reliance on one source stands out. I realize that the norm for revisionist historians is to rewrite the record according to personal preference, but that doesn't mean the rest of us should condone it. (Yes, I majored in history.)
Neat cover.

posted by 10014165 on September 14, 2012

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2012

    A Good Overview

    Anyone expecting a thorough review of world history will be bitterly disappointed. This book is just what it says: a short history. Major historical events and movements are presented clearly, and in an entertaining fashion. The suggestions for further reading (online, not in the book) are especially good for learning more about something that has piqued your interest.
    My complaints about the book are minor. First, the editing was a little uneven (for example, the Chinese General's last name was not "Kai Shek," it was "Chiang"). Second, I did notice a few factual errors that, while small in the context, stood out in my mind (heroin was not synthesized until after the Opium Wars). Aside from those two points, I enjoyed the book immensely and think it was well worth my time spent reading it.

    23 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2012

    Full of facts, but boring!

    This book is certainly full of many historical facts, however, it is a boring read. It just runs on and on. Very little is expounded upon; it just seems like a running dialog without any real meat to it. It is a chronological history but never gives enough detail to engage the reader or to help the reader actually remember anything they have read. I was disappointed.

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    Not Bad.

    Highlights some interesting events with a humorous and lively tone, not very in depth, but can definitely whet your appetite for further research.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    Revise on Perspective~

    Seeing how I can not delete/edit my prior post, I'd like to say my first 'impression' of the book was correct - however, I do see later that Christianity is addressed. I took it as a personal opinion from the author - stating that's the way it is. I see now, both are presented to a certain degree. I appreciate that.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2012

    Review

    Although the author freely admits there is nothing new, it is a quick reference of historical events done as a timeline. It would be a helpful guide for high school (and college) students to keep handy.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2012

    Anonymous

    It's good to read something educational for a change. I get so stuck in reading books about love, sex, betrayal, deception, etc; etc; This book is free, the truth is I would not go out and buy it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    Good read. But...

    Superficial coverage with many factual errors.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2013

    Well worth it.

    By necessity and as advertised, it is brief and therefore not complete. The maps were a problem because they could not be expanded (I have the NOOK glowlight.) The book would have benefited from graphs and charts, such as timelines.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2014

    So so book

    This novel was kinda of a weird one to read. But I did enjoy reading this anyways. ShelleyMA

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  • Posted November 18, 2013

    interesting short summary

    No history of the world is possible, but every trial is interesting and has something new

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    Brief

    A very brief review of world history. Not the most interesting read, but gives a great start. A solid place to find ideas for what you might want to know more about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2012

    Good read

    Although a bit judgemental at the end, and very hurried at the beginning, a good overview book nonetheless.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    too preachy in 20th century

    Too preachy in 20th century. Much better prior though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Great overview

    The book lives up to its title! It is a good text to refresh knowledge and get a basic outline of World History.
    It's an easy read and covers a wide range of topics, though I, personally, prefer more depth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Too soon

    I purchased this book, but although Ihaven't had time to read it thru, I did glance thru it and it looks VERY interesting!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2012

    Very good and accurate for the price.

    Got this as a free friday book -but would pay for it also. Was pretty good, interesting for a history buff and accurate.

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  • Posted November 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Decent

    Not finished but not really bad. Just not a history buff.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2012

    It Is What It Says

    Moves at a dizzying speed- for obvious reasons. Not a bad little book. It was a good refresher, and I learned a few new things.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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