A Short History of the World

A Short History of the World

by Christopher Lascelles
3.9 163

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A Short History of the World 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 163 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
David-Russell More than 1 year ago
Easy informative read - 1st piece I've read from this author and not disappointed. Have recommended to my daughters as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
SimsR More than 1 year ago
I enjoy history, and there's a lot of it! The joy is in the details, the stories of people's lives. Sometimes, though, it's nice to have a view on the grand scale - a quick run-through. A Short History of the World is a ten thousand feet view of the entirety of history. As the book promises, it is short (195 pages). As the book's title implies, it is the history of the world. It's a great overview, giving you the rundown on cultures all over the world. It avoids too much spin on topics such as religion and politics, though there is a little. It gave me the chance to see some interesting historical topics I might want to pick up in the future. For a high school student, I think it would be beneficial to read this book before beginning history classes. It would give the big picture, allowing the student to recognize the subject when it comes up. To me, having an inkling of knowledge about a topic before it comes up in class helps. Whether a student or a spectator of history, this short book is a great overview of human history.
pocmnt More than 1 year ago
This book condenses the history of the world so nicely. A great memory jogger for those who may have forgotten the basic history lessons. This book was not overwhelmingly detailed, but provided enough information to give a nice timeline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First, all the people whining about an educational book need to chill. No one is MAKING you get it. It is nice to see at least a few decent academic titles after weeks of lesser books. Even if it is not a rigorous text, it is intersting and an easy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author has a sense of humor and links historical information together well. This book might not appeal to everyone.
RetiredSenior More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. All the names, dates and events that were thrown at us in school all make sense and come together in these few pages. Wish it had been around years ago! Highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book and an easy read. The author did a very good job of uniting world events in a cohesive manner and explaining how one act overlapped another and would often cause a string of events. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised with the concept of being able to visualize where things happened in the past via the maps. This was a good read -- to bad something like this is not used as a basic text book in our schooles
PattyWPW More than 1 year ago
Yes, its short. But it helped me really understand why some thing are like they are and how things happened. I now really know what the Holy Roman Empire is (and it wasn't what I thought it was.) I truely enjoyed this book and I really do highly recommend it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I may have disagreed with the epilogue describing the author's thoughts on the biggest threats to the world's future, I nonetheless found the rest of the book to be fascinating. If you're one who likes to point out special events thst the author may miss along the way, this book may not be for you; however, I felt that the crux of our world's meta-narrative was succinctly and impressively conveyed through the book's easy read and connecting macro-trends that bridged geographical regions.
wvhawk More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed the book. Will use it occasionaly to check dates, who, etc. ex. The history behind the Old Testament, Not of academic quality
jod4810 More than 1 year ago
This book is a great flyover of our history and reads like a novel, loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highlights some interesting events with a humorous and lively tone, not very in depth, but can definitely whet your appetite for further research.
JLLCO More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For me, history books are usually boring to read. However, I enjoyed reading this one which enabled me to learn more about world history. I liked how easy it was to read. I would have given it a higher rating but it was very apparent to me when reading this book that the author had a general dislike for the (Catholic) Church. He could have easily, and should have, kept his dislike of the Church from this otherwise well written book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After a good start, I quickly became suspicious of the qualifications of the author to write about history. Many references were made to biblical incidents. While some parts of the bible may be accurate, I liken it to using "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer" in a history class. No evidence has been found to show the Egyptians used slaves to build the pyramids. The workers were mummified and had their own tombs, not something dome for a slave. I read past a few biblical references, but once I got here I had to stop. I didn't want to waste my time with false history.
trebor_5_of_6 More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed with the generalities the authro made. I think he misrepresented Christianity. I might use the book for minor reference but I would rather find a more reliable source.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this because it reminded me of what and why things have happened over the years. While I read and listen to current events I have not read anything about history since school and I've watched a some shows off and on about specific events, but this was a nice obviously briefened version to remind me of the historic past.
jonnymac More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not as advertised. Rather than the world, it's a history of Europe with a smattering about China, South America, and Africa. Rather than "A Short..." it should be "A Limited...."