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A History of the Twentieth Century: The Concise Edition of the Acclaimed World History Paperback – Dec 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company; Reprint edition (Dec. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006050594X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060505943
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 644,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

A History of the Twentieth Century Martin Gilbert, author of the multivolume biography of Winston Churchill and other brilliant works of history, chronicles world events year by year, from the dawn of aviation to the flourishing technology age, taking us through World War I to the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt as president of the United States and Hider as chancellor of Germany. He continues on to document wars in South Africa... Full description

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"AS THE TWENTIETH CENTURY OPENED, wars were being fought on two continents: in Africa and in Asia." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim PKP on 27 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback
This concise history of the 20th century is an excellent introduction for the general reader looking for a good starting point. Although it often avoids examining the reason for the outbreak of war and it glosses over a number of important topics - the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot being an obvious example - it offers an extremely readable guide.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. J. Hewitt on 20 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a superb examination and review of the 20th Century. Martin Gilbert has accomplished a very difficult task: to examine and retell 100 years of human history in reasonable depth in just one book. This book is easily absorbed, and can be read cover-to-cover or used as a reference to the events that shaped the World. I approached this book as my first study as I was looking to become more informed, and Gilbert provides a great tutorial. The only limitation of this book is that it does not always explore the question why, which is pivotal to understanding History. But in abandoning this aspect Gilbert manages to remain completely non-judgemental and unbiased, resulting in a comprehensive and broad account of the 20th Century. Recommended for anyone who wants to know about 20th Century History.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. J. Hewitt on 23 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a superb examination and review of the 20th Century. Martin Gilbert has accomplished a very difficult task: to examine and retell 100 years of human history in reasonable depth in just one book. This book is easily absorbed, and can be read cover-to-cover or used as a reference to the events that shaped the World. I approached this book as my first study as I was looking to become more informed, and Gilbert provides a great tutorial. The only limitation of this book is that it does not always answer the question why, which is pivotal to understanding History. But in abandoning this aspect Gilbert manages to remain completely non-judgemental and unbiased, resulting in a comprehensive and broad account of the 20th Century. Recommended for anyone who wants to know about 20th Century History.
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By Peter on 23 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very readable, yet comprehensive. I love this book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Like the title says: concise 30 Aug. 2010
By Andrew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Choosing a book of general world history is confusing, but this is a fine choice (it helped me pass the FSOE...twice). It runs through general themes of the last century in a clearly-worded manner without getting bogged down in names, dates, conspiracy theories, ideology, or blaming the world's problems on anyone. I took one star away merely because some of the WW2 stuff is unnecessarily detailed (I understand it interests many, and some other books were worse, but a bit too much on one war to me). If the lone poor review worries you, it's incorrect - the book does well to cover many areas (and why any review in such poor English would convince you not to read a book in English is beyond me, since the reviewer could not have understood the book). But as the foreword makes very clear, this is a selection of issues. It is possible, even likely, that your ethnic, linguistic, racial, or religious group's particular problems - or viewpoints - are not covered, but this book will put those issues in a broader perspective. And yes, it focuses on issues that will interest a Western, English-speaking reader but it does a surprisingly decent job on touching on all areas of the world to demonstrate general themes and does so without judging events. If you want a detailed history or one on a specific group or issue, read a book on that: For example, I recommend The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence for a decent, highly-detailed African history, but this book is a great overview before you head into more detailed work.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
very handy quick reference 12 Jan. 2007
By E. C. Thunman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was used in a short semester study by adults over 60. It was perfect for the course because I could do further research on any subject covered, after getting the basics from the book and further details from the professor - a great book to have around for the grandchildren!
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Long string of facts 19 Dec. 2012
By Dude - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book on recommendation for the FSOT exam for US Diplomats. Its function as such is my primary interest, although I prefer well-written books over reference tombs.

I am on page 130 of this book and I am growing weary fast. It's just an endless list of facts which progress (or slouch along?) chronologically, with geographical changes of stage from time to time. While this style of writing "covers the bases" of the facts of what happened in the 20th Century occident, when I read a book, I expect to get some glue, or some authorial insight to the base materials behind the book. Because let's face it, even the most brilliant person is not going to be able to store endless facts in their head: say, the number of Croats killed in the first Balkan war. But it is reasonable to digest these facts as part of certain themes: that the ongoing ethnic strife in the Balkans fomented WWI and continued up until the most recent NATO activities in the Kosovo war. Ah, now we have a theme, a big idea that is easy to understand, which can be porous to all the little facts as you begin to assimilate them. These are the facts pertinent to an FSOT exam, any student of history. But their continuity, the connection between the facts, is EVERY bit as important as the raw numbers.

This man likes writing in numbers. Specifically of how many people died here, there, and everywhere.

In a sense, it's a good (and in this book, a constant, constant, constant, constant, constant) reminder of how much human death brought us into the 21st century. But I get it, ok, dude? I don't need to hear this crap over and over again, let's move on! The constant refrain of death figures becomes its own dulling agent. I'm craving some history of ideas, right now, not this dutiful ledger of facts. If you've read the Iliad, this book thoroughly recalls the constant refrain, "And a black cloud of death enveloped him" or some variation on the theme. It's like the rote cadences of oral traditions describing war have fully penetrated the modern age.

One reason this style of factual accounting is so irritating is that fails at its primary mission: attempting to be truly objective and universal or complete. The strongest argument for the restraint of commentary and analysis (in other words, WHY things happen, not just WHAT happens), is that is leaves you at the mercy of the authors 'opinions', which might be very subjective. Fair enough. The trade off should leave you with a book that puts analysis at arms length while giving this ostensibly "equal" coverage to the entire world in the 20th Century in some empirical sense. But it doesn't. Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East are off the map, with a couple token mentions.

The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (American) achieves the functions of this book in much better form. It's literally a dictionary of terms and their brief backgrounds, organized by era, and alphabetically.

I realize there are books that cover this stuff, too, but if you're looking for an OVERVIEW book, look elsewhere, you can do much better than this.

Perhaps a book like this is my penance for not getting a proper liberal arts education.
Fantastic! 26 April 2014
By Katie Bomer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found the amount of events covered, and in as much detail as was presented, far exceeded my expectations for a concise book from this period. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to know the major events of the time.
Good reference book. 21 Mar. 2015
By M. Swerens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't realize this would be such a reference-type book. I was hoping for something a little more easily read. Still, it will be useful for my high schoolers for writing papers.
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