The Outline of History: Volume 1, Prehistory to the Roman Republic (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

The Outline of History: Volume 1, Prehistory to the Roman Republic (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

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by H. G. Wells, J. F. Horrabin
     
 

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The first comprehensive history of the world, The Outline of History is a vibrant synthesis of real history, told in a sweeping, panoramic style, as if it were fiction. H. G. Wells removes nationalism from the equation, creating the premier worldview of history, told from a global rather than a local point of view.

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Overview


The first comprehensive history of the world, The Outline of History is a vibrant synthesis of real history, told in a sweeping, panoramic style, as if it were fiction. H. G. Wells removes nationalism from the equation, creating the premier worldview of history, told from a global rather than a local point of view.

With The Outline of History Wells started a craze that lasted throughout the 1920s for copycat "outlines" on every conceivable subject. Coming right after the carnage of World War I, the Outline was neither unduly pessimistic and cynical about the human condition nor Pollyannaish about humanity's future. Instead, it offered an account of the development of the world's civilizations up to the present, showing its readers that an enlightened future depended on a clear, unprejudiced view of the past.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781411428843
Publisher:
Barnes & Noble
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Series:
Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
119,665
File size:
8 MB

Meet the Author


Social philosopher, utopian, novelist, and "father" of science fiction and science fantasy, Herbert George Wells was born on September 21, 1866, in Bromley, Kent. His father was a poor businessman, and young Bertie's mother had to work as a lady's maid. Living "below stairs" with his mother at an estate called Uppark, Bertie would sneak into the grand library to read Plato, Swift, and Voltaire, authors who deeply influenced his later works. He shoed literary and artistic talent in his early stories and paintings, but the family had limited means, and when he was fourteen years old, Bertie was sent as an apprentice to a dealer in cloth and dry goods, work he disliked.

He held jobs in other trades before winning a scholarship to study biology at the Normal School of Science in London. The eminent biologist T. H. Huxley, a friend and proponent of Darwin, was his teacher; about him Wells later said, "I believed then he was the greatest man I was ever likely to meet." Under Huxley's influence, Wells learned the science that would inspire many of his creative works and cultivated the skepticism about the likelihood of human progress that would infuse his writing.

Teaching, textbook writing, and journalism occupied Wells until 1895, when he made his literary debut with the now-legendary novel The Time Machine, which was followed before the end of the century by The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds, books that established him as a major writer. Fiercely critical of Victorian mores, he published voluminously, in fiction and nonfiction, on the subject of politics and social philosophy. Biological evolution does not ensure moral progress, as Wells would repeat throughout his life, during which he witnessed two world wars and the debasement of science for military and political ends.

In addition to social commentary presented in the guise of science fiction, Wells authored comic novels like Love and Mrs. Lewisham, Kipps, and The History of Mister Polly that are Dickensian in their scope and feeling, and a feminist novel, Ann Veronica. He wrote specific social commentary in The New Machiavelli, an attack on the socialist Fabian Society, which he had joined and then rejected, and literary parody (of Henry James) in Boon. He wrote textbooks of biology, and his massive The Outline of History was a major international bestseller.

By the time Wells reached middle age, he was admired around the world, and he used his fame to promote his utopian vision, warning that the future promised "Knowledge or extinction." He met with such preeminent political figures as Lenin, Roosevelt, and Stalin, and continued to publish, travel, and educate during his final years. Herbert George Wells died in London on August 13, 1946.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The War of the Worlds.

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Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 21, 1866
Date of Death:
August 13, 1946
Place of Birth:
Bromley, Kent, England
Place of Death:
London, England
Education:
Normal School of Science, London, England

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The Outline of History: Volume 1, Prehistory to the Roman Republic (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
HG Wells' Outline of History is the best and most important history book I've ever read, 'BA in history and political science 25 years ago, and still an avid student of these subjects'. Offers essential insight into where the human race has come from, which is key to understanding where we are and where we are going.
UncleDavy More than 1 year ago
I've known about this book fot years but could never find it. I'm glad I finally did. I've always felt that History when it is well written is exciting to read. History when it is poorly written is a chore to read. Welles' History proves that he was a great writer. This is exciting and fun to read. Although he is very critical of Alexander, Julius Caesar, and Rome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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benoit11 More than 1 year ago
Very good overview that gets into more depth as it gets closer to more modern times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will read it again.
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