A History of the World in 100 Objects

A History of the World in 100 Objects

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by Neil MacGregor
     
 

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The blockbuster New York Times bestseller and the companion volume to the wildly popular radio series

Neil MacGregor has blazed an unusual path to international renown. As director of the British Museum, he organized an exhibit that aimed to tell the history of humanity through the stories of one hundred objects made, used, venerated, or discarded

Overview

The blockbuster New York Times bestseller and the companion volume to the wildly popular radio series

Neil MacGregor has blazed an unusual path to international renown. As director of the British Museum, he organized an exhibit that aimed to tell the history of humanity through the stories of one hundred objects made, used, venerated, or discarded by man. The exhibit and its accompanying BBC radio series broke broadcasting records and MacGregor’s book became a bestselling sensation on both sides of the Atlantic and a huge Christmas hit, with more than 100,000 copies in print in the United States alone.

Examining items from a chopping tool from Africa’s Olduvai Gorge to the credit card, A History of the World in 100 Objects is an engrossing and profoundly original work of history that will captivate readers for many years to come.

Editorial Reviews

It began as a celebrated British Museum exhibition; then became an equally celebrated book curated by the renowned director of that institution. Now a trade paperback and NOOK Book, A History of the World in 100 Objects continues to bedazzle and fascinate us with its walking tour through two million years of human history. But this is no ordinary kings and conquests narrative: No, Neil MacGregor here presents our evolving lives through the objects that have changed them and, in most cases, made them better. The objects are various; from primitive counting devices and shards of Tanzanian pottery to Nineveh friezes, a ceremonial helmet from Sutton Hoo, and the Rosetta Stone. A book that tells us what history is really about.

EBOOK COMMENTARY
Allen Lane has done Mr MacGregor proud... The objects have been beautifully photographed, Mr MacGregor's voice comes through distinctively and his arguments about the interconnectedness of disparate societies through the ages are all the stronger for the detail afforded by extra space. A book to savour and start over
From the Publisher
Praise for A History of the World in 100 Objects:

“A beautiful and absorbing book, a visual history of humanity . . . filled with equally fascinating objects, some famous, some not, nearly all of them intimate, telling and strange.”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Spotlighting artworks, artifacts and documents from the British Museum’s vast collections, Neil MacGregor—the museum’s director—brilliantly elucidates and connects items ranging from Zhou Dynasty bronze vessels to Victorian tea sets, from the Rosetta Stone to etchings by David Hockney, from pieces of eight to the modern credit card. Traversing continents, cultures and epochs with perfect aplomb, it is ultimately a defense of why the universal museum remains a vital institution in today's world. This is an enthralling and profoundly humane book that every civilized person should read.”
—Jonathan Lopez, Wall Street Journal

“A brave and original undertaking . . . Each of the sections has something interesting to say, and prior knowledge of a given topic does not prevent us from gathering new insights from the text and the illustrations, and new angles of vision. Some of the images scattered through the book are so astonishing and so far from our usual perceptions that I don’t think I will ever forget them. . . . MacGregor writes with energy and flair, and this is an entertaining and informative book.”
—Jonathan Spence, The New York Review of Books

“Arresting . . . This beautifully illustrated book demonstrates how much we can learn about past societies from the things they have left behind. British Museum director MacGregor provides insightful commentaries on each of the objects in an appealing, conversational style. . . . A book to savor, full of information and surprises.”

Kirkus Reviews
 

“MacGregor has done more to capture the magic and importance of history than any number of academic monographs. We are swept from Africa 2 million years ago to the dawn of the 21st century on a whistle-stop tour that avoids most of the obvious destinations but still feels enormously satisfying.”

Sunday Times, History book of the Year

“Bound to be a popular present this Christmas . . . Everyone knows about the sculptures from the Parthenon. . . . but I was amazed by the boggle-eyed monster carved into the base of a wooden stool that once belonged to a chieftain of the largely forgotten Taino people of the Caribbean, who gave us words such as hurricane, barbecue, hammock and tobacco . . . Erudite and entertaining, monumental yet relaxed.”

The Telegraph, Best book of the Year

“The most enlightening book of recent times.”
—The Independent

“Wonderful . . . The swirl and sweep of his story transports us to every corner of the globe, and illustrates how different cultures have always communicated, traded, and fought with one another.”
—Tom Holland, The Observer

“Marvelous . . . brilliant, engagingly written, deeply researched.”
—Mary Beard, The Guardian

“The style is authentic, personal and humorous. MacGregor demonstrates the power of objects to recover the place in history of lost civilisations.”
—Andrew Roberts, Financial Times

“None could have imagined quite how the radio series would permeate the national consciousness. Well over 12.5 million podcasts have been downloaded since the first programme and more than 550 museums around Britain have launched similar series featuring local history. . . . MacGregor’s voice comes through as distinctively as it did on radio and his arguments about the interconnectedness of disparate societies through the ages are all the stronger for the detail afforded by extra space. A book to savour and start over.”
The Economist

Library Journal
We are what we make, and MacGregor proves it. Director of the British Museum, he uses 100 objects, ranging from a two million-year-old hand ax to a solar-powered lamp and charger, circa 2010, to survey human history. Sounds absolutely fascinating, and it comes highly recommended; the book was chosen by 11 publications as Book of the Year in the UK, and the joint BBC Radio program has been downloaded 12.5 million times. Get this one.
Kirkus Reviews

An arresting world history told through the stories of 100 objects that can be found in the British Museum.

Based on a popular BBC Radio series broadcast last year, this beautifully illustrated book demonstrates how much we can learn about past societies from the things they have left behind. British Museum director MacGregor provides insightful commentaries on each of the objects, which range from the beginning of human history (about 2 million years ago) to the present, and represent most parts of the world. Selected by the museum's curators, the objects are not associated with important historical events; rather, they are artworks and everyday things that exemplify themes and establish connections across time and space. Each part consists of objects made in different parts of the world in the same time period. Thus a section on "The First Global Economy, AD 1450-1650," when traders first brought different cultures into contact with each other, features a mechanical galleon from Germany, a brass plaque from Nigeria, a mosaic-decorated figurine from Mexico, porcelain elephants from Japan and pieces-of-eight coins minted in Bolivia. New scientific techniques help tease out stories from the objects: Researchers can now see inside the linen wrappings of Egyptian mummies and can test materials to reveal trading networks. The colors and patterns of broken pots and plates found on a beach in Tanzania around 900 show the extent of links with China and the Middle East. Many items, such as a bronze Chinese bell and silver Turkish coins, convey the power of owners and rulers. In an appealing, conversational style, MacGregor considers chess pieces, wine jugs, tablets and other objects to explain how people lived through the ages. The text also includes contributions from Seamus Heaney, David Attenborough, Martin Amis and others.

A book to savor, full of information and surprises.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101545300
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/27/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
736
Sales rank:
211,349
File size:
42 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for A History of the World in 100 Objects:

“A beautiful and absorbing book, a visual history of humanity . . . filled with equally fascinating objects, some famous, some not, nearly all of them intimate, telling and strange.”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Spotlighting artworks, artifacts and documents from the British Museum’s vast collections, Neil MacGregor—the museum’s director—brilliantly elucidates and connects items ranging from Zhou Dynasty bronze vessels to Victorian tea sets, from the Rosetta Stone to etchings by David Hockney, from pieces of eight to the modern credit card. Traversing continents, cultures and epochs with perfect aplomb, it is ultimately a defense of why the universal museum remains a vital institution in today's world. This is an enthralling and profoundly humane book that every civilized person should read.”
—Jonathan Lopez, Wall Street Journal

“A brave and original undertaking . . . Each of the sections has something interesting to say, and prior knowledge of a given topic does not prevent us from gathering new insights from the text and the illustrations, and new angles of vision. Some of the images scattered through the book are so astonishing and so far from our usual perceptions that I don’t think I will ever forget them. . . . MacGregor writes with energy and flair, and this is an entertaining and informative book.”
—Jonathan Spence, The New York Review of Books

“Arresting . . . This beautifully illustrated book demonstrates how much we can learn about past societies from the things they have left behind. British Museum director MacGregor provides insightful commentaries on each of the objects in an appealing, conversational style. . . . A book to savor, full of information and surprises.”
Kirkus Reviews

“MacGregor has done more to capture the magic and importance of history than any number of academic monographs. We are swept from Africa 2 million years ago to the dawn of the 21st century on a whistle-stop tour that avoids most of the obvious destinations but still feels enormously satisfying.”
Sunday Times, History book of the Year

“Bound to be a popular present this Christmas . . . Everyone knows about the sculptures from the Parthenon. . . . but I was amazed by the boggle-eyed monster carved into the base of a wooden stool that once belonged to a chieftain of the largely forgotten Taino people of the Caribbean, who gave us words such as hurricane, barbecue, hammock and tobacco . . . Erudite and entertaining, monumental yet relaxed.”
The Telegraph, Best book of the Year

“The most enlightening book of recent times.”
—The Independent

“Wonderful . . . The swirl and sweep of his story transports us to every corner of the globe, and illustrates how different cultures have always communicated, traded, and fought with one another.”
—Tom Holland, The Observer

“Marvelous . . . brilliant, engagingly written, deeply researched.”
—Mary Beard, The Guardian

“The style is authentic, personal and humorous. MacGregor demonstrates the power of objects to recover the place in history of lost civilisations.”
—Andrew Roberts, Financial Times

“None could have imagined quite how the radio series would permeate the national consciousness. Well over 12.5 million podcasts have been downloaded since the first programme and more than 550 museums around Britain have launched similar series featuring local history. . . . MacGregor’s voice comes through as distinctively as it did on radio and his arguments about the interconnectedness of disparate societies through the ages are all the stronger for the detail afforded by extra space. A book to savour and start over.”
The Economist

Meet the Author

Neil MacGregor is a worldrenowned museum director who has transformed the British Museum since he took charge in 2002. Before that, he was the director of the National Gallery in London. A tremendously popular presenter on BBC television and radio, he was appointed as a member of the Order of Merit, the highest civil honor in the U.K., in 2010.

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A History of the World in 100 Objects 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book for my father and brother and law and they both loved it. It makes a great gift for history lover for the holidays.
Just_Me70 More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It looks at the development of humankind through the lens of representative artifacts. For the most part these artifacts are not the highly publicized treasures of popular imagination. Though some of them are spectacular, many are humble. Each artifact is well photographed and carefully described in a short chapter that includes comments from individuals noted in the field the artifact pertains to. I found myself appreciating objects that I ordinarily would have passed over as uninteresting. It is a perfect "read on the fly" book as well. Each short chapter is complete in itself and can be read in short sittings.
LjtinMissouri More than 1 year ago
After years of hating to read history books, I've found one that I can actually read and enjoy. I purchased it to find out which 100 objects were chosen and I'm reading it to learn more about world history. I appreciate the Table of Contents as it is easy to reference other objects. I would like colored object pictures, but prefer reading it on my eReader. The one thing I like most is that Neil MacGregor talks to you as a person and not as historian. TRY IT . . . YOU MAY LIKE IT . . .and actually like learning more about our history no matter how old you are.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is tremendous! Written in cooperation by the curator of one of the worlds oldest and most illustrious history charting institutions: The British Museum, and The BBC which also produced a companion website with download-able radio broadcasts, the content of this book really comes to life! Listen to the stories of each broadcast of each object, then read the content with rich photos of each object, and really start to understand a good bit of how humanity began and progressed to contemporary times. A true masterpeice! I'd expected to pay a bit more for this in ebook format, but was happy with the list price. Knowledge is power and this is truly a powerful read. The layout is good, not hard to read and was not simply OCR'ed and sold. This is quality!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the sample, and carefully searched the table of content. No mention of Japanese, where there are different verbs for words such as give, depending on the relationship between the giver, the receiver and who's hearing about it. Didn'tt see anything on ordering of sentences, also a bog factor in understanding of language. Significant omissions, given the title of the book! Could only imagine other ways of being sketchy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey this post is so stupid
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is packed with information, yes. How ever the writing style is awful and I found that it went in allot of circles. Its a huge book and will take up allot 9fyour time. Its your choice, but i sugest saving your time.