Customer Reviews for

Outline of History Volume 2: The Roman Empire to the Great War (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted May 2, 2011

    Excellent book (with blind spots); poor presentation by B&N

    The text is a landmark and this review isn't to discuss that. However, I do have to comment on B&N's reissue. It is riddled with typos. These are not in the earlier, non-B&N editions, as I own nearly every edition of this book. They were introduced by whoever created the pages for B&N. It's clear they simply relied on a spell checker and didn't actually proofread, because none of the typos is a wrong spelling: all are the wrong word, such as typing "So" when "No" was meant, or saying "Let's" instead of "Lets," the sorts of things that automated spellcheckers tend to miss. To show the utter carelessness with which these volumes were thrown together, even though the two are a set, one has horizontal writing on the spine and the other vertical. The plus of this reissue is it's the only one since the original edition that includes the original post WWI chapter at the end, instead of the additions made by a second writer in 1949 to bring the work up to date. So this is worth getting, but try to get your hands on a used copy of one of the non B&N versions as well.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2011

    4.5 out of 5.

    This is a great book by a great writer. However it is colored by the author's desire for a worldwide utopian form of government and his tendency to sometimes preach. This is not to say that I don't agree with much of what he says, I do, I just feel that sometimes the author overindulges himself and that perhaps it isn't the place to do that in a chronicle of history. Still, the book is well written and the history comes alive. One word of warning for some; the author had a liberal viewpoint and if you have conservative ideals you may not like this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2014

    The Greatest Story Ever Told! I am eternally grateful that Barn

    The Greatest Story Ever Told!

    I am eternally grateful that Barnes and Noble has republished this classic two-volume text on world history. I own both the two-volume Barnes and Nobles editions as well as the 1971 edition that extends the narrative after World War 1, including World War 2, the formation of the U.N., the Cold War, and the Space Race. The Outline of History is the best and most underrated book by H. G. Wells, the father of science fiction and universal history, much better than all his scientific romances combined since it is actually a true story. It is a supremely written universal history and it tells the epic adventure of the history of the world, life, and mankind according to the sciences of astronomy, biology, geology, anthropology, and world history. This is the modern scientific worldview expounded by Wells in the early twentieth century and the secular Bible of the modern era. As one of the greatest English writers in history, Wells shows great insight into the changes and meanings of world history, adding plenty of colorful descriptions and analogies to explain complex processes as well as many witty satirical remarks. Naturally, the book is biased in its materialism, biocentrism, and scientism, but it tries and largely succeeds in remaining objective, historical, and scientific throughout. The book spans from the origins of the solar system to the outbreak of World War 1, ending with final speculations about the possible future formation of a world state and global government. Based on the Newtonian science of the time, Wells speculates that the universe, the totality of space and time, has existed for billions of years or has existed for an infinite amount of time. After dealing with the origin and evolution of our planet, the story follows the Darwinian science of the time and covers the origin of life in the first seas and the evolution of life towards dry land, the sky, and beyond. The geological ages covered include the Ages of Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Mammals and Birds, Apes and Submen, and finally Mankind. Despite the subsequent progressive ages, the Paleolithic Age, the Neolithic Age, the Industrial Age, and the various imperial ages of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Mongols, Arabs, and later Europeans, the many wars detailed in the book and the evolutionary struggle for existence prove that history is more nature red in tooth and claw and more about the march of armies than the march of progress, knowledge, and enlightenment. The book likewise covers the history of religion, including paganism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, giving interesting biographies of the major founders of these great but outdated faiths. The book largely follows the increasing complexity of life and civilization on earth. Despite the sufferings and tragedies of world history, life moves on and slowly progresses, perpetually dying as the old generation and being reborn as the new generation, and the range of life widens until the modern era when life has left our little planet and started to explore the wider universe. Thus, humanity finds itself on the path either to self-imposed destruction by modern global warfare or to further social and biological evolution in the formation of a world state and the colonization of space. It appears despite the sheer length of this epic story, we are merely at the twilight of the dawn and future history will be far longer and greater than all the history already recorded, if we don’t blow ourselves up first of course. I’d recommend this book as the ultimate encyclopedia, but I would recommend that readers first buy and read its abridgement, A Short History of the World (Penguin Classics), as preparation for this much fuller and larger two-volume world history. This story is clearly the greatest story ever told!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2009

    for the hardcore history buff

    THis is a book for those who would like to learn about history from a person, who can write with an eloquent prose. H G Wells's erudite voice comes to life, and educates the reader about the history of the human race.

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