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A History of the World in 100 Objects (BBC Audio) [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Neil MacGregor
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (227 customer reviews)
RRP: 34.99
Price: 28.05 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Jun 2011 BBC Audio
In 2010, the BBC and the British Museum embarked on an ambitious project: to tell the story of two million years of human history using one hundred objects selected from the Museum's vast and renowned collection. Presented by the British Museum's Director Neil MacGregor, each episode focuses on a single object - from a Stone Age tool to a solar-powered lamp - and explains its significance in human history. Music, interviews with specialists and quotations from written texts enrich the listener's experience. On each CD, objects from a similar period of history are grouped together to explore a common theme and make connections across the world. Seen in this way, history is a kaleidoscope: shifting, interlinked, constantly surprising and shaping our world in ways that most of us have never imagined. This box set also includes an illustrated booklet with additional background information and photographs, and each CD includes PDF images of the featured objects. The landmark series on BBC Radio 4 that tells the story of humanity through 100 man-made objects from the British Museum's unique collection.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (2 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140846988X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408469880
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 14 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (227 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

A History of the World in 100 Objects ... has been a triumph: hugely popular, and rightly lauded as one of the most effective and intellectually ambitious initiatives in the making of 'public history' for many decades. (John Adamson Sunday Telegraph )

Highly intelligent, delightfully written and utterly absorbing (Timothy Clifford Spectator )

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 (Economist )

This is a story book, vivid and witty, shining with insights, connections, shocks and delights (Gillian Reynolds Daily Telegraph )

The style is authentic, personal and humorous. MacGregor could not have skewered our pretensions better...Look on our works, ye mighty, and despair (Andrew Roberts Financial Times )

Brilliant, engagingly written, deeply researched (Mary Beard Guardian ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Neil MacGregor has been Director of the British Museum since August 2002. He was previously Director of the National Gallery in London, from 1987 to 2002.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
188 of 199 people found the following review helpful
By Big Jim TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
If I had to choose only one medium in which to explore these 100 objects then I'd choose the radio series over this book - all 100 podcasts are still available for free at the time of writing - this may not last. They are superb! Of course we are now in the fortunate position of having access to those and this beautifully produced book as well and it certainly compliments the series. Some criticisms have been raised that the book has pictures of the 100 objects, on the basis that radio listeners preferred to imagine what they look like, but as they have always been available on the BBC website if you cared to look, I think this is a positive addition and they definitely add to the overall experience of this book.

There is no doubt that this is going to be a succesful book and any popularity granted to such an erudite work is to be welcomed but I have to say that some of the writing appears a bit dry and, well the only word I can think of is, worthy. Without the narration of the various experts on the radio series I think the life goes out of some of these stories.

That is a minor quibble though and will prove a matter of taste but otherwise this is still a fine book and destined to become a "classic", especially if the BBC have their way. If you only had one history book to choose this Christmas, I'd go for Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey but why not splash out and get this one as well, especially at the bargain Amazon price.
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190 of 208 people found the following review helpful
By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Let me shout it as loudly as I can "I LOVE RADIO 4". Apologies for this show of blatant and raw emotion but it is the one Radio channel which makes life more bearable, it challenges, it provokes and gets as near to that much sought after but rarely achieved quality "the heart of the matter" as is humanly possible (the probing questions of presenters on the Today programme makes me think that democracy still has a fighting chance). The channel also carries brilliant series of which "A History of the World in 100 Objects" by Neil MacGregor is a prime example, even the trailers leading up to its broadcast in January this year were great. What a pleasure therefore to have copy in the written word of this weighty book (738 pages) to accompany the series and to revisit the passion and authority of Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum and cultivator of fabulous facts.

The whole premise underpinning this epic journey was predicated on a wicked idea conceived by Mark Damazer, then head of Radio 4 to challenge our hugely knowledgeable bods at the British Museum to undertake a somewhat mischievous and loaded exercise. Indeed on the surface any attempt to tell a rather large tale like the history of the world over a modest 2 million years in this manner seems like a piece of First Class honours inspired lunacy. "Baby and bathwater" is the phrase that comes to mind and even if the radio series and the following book were outright bilge you would at least have to give Neil MacGregor three stars for accepting the challenge and embracing with gusto the humongous concept.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for Dipping into 27 Sep 2012
By JoMaynard VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I loved the Radio programme when it was first aired, although I didn't hear every episode. I am sure like a lot of people I would delay leaving the car, just to listen to the daily edition.
The podcasts are still available, together with images of the objects themselves on the BBC website. Hopefully they will remain accessible for a very long time.
So why do I need this book? Firstly, I certainly find it easier to take in detail by reading, rather than just hearing. The original Radio shows painted a general impression of the objects, the book gives you a chance to read about them or study them in a far more leisured way, and gives small pictures of each object by each written exploration. I often listened to the radio shows and wished I could see a picture.
This leads on to the second reason for the book, despite having easy access to the internet (even on my phone). It is not always there, maybe I'm out of coverage or on holiday. So it is not always easy to see the images from the internet. Neither do I always have access to podcasts or the radio.
Thirdly it is so much easier to share, which leads on to my last reason, serendipity. Today my teenage daughter just picked up the book, dipped in and found something of interest, she probably wouldn't have bothered to go to the website, but books are so easy just to dip into.
I would highly recommend this as a book to dip into, and find out something new. To leave lying around for others to encounter; and most crucially for us all to learn about the richness of human history from all around the world, recorded in our objects.
The only thing to do next is maybe visit the British Museum to see the objects themselves.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Mark Meynell TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Neil McGregor's original radio series (from which this book derives) must have been a tough pitch: a 100-part documentary series about *objects* that the audience won't be able to see. Doesn't sound that promising! And yet it was a fantastic achievement. But it was crying out for a book. Of course, hardback was the obvious medium for such a treasure trove - but having it in paperback now makes it much more useful for any wanting to make good use of the British Museum itself (for the initial parameter of the concept was that everything had to be in the archives or on display).

Inevitably, the quality of the b/w images for each item is not going to be as high as in the hardback version - but there are still a number of colour plates which do their job well. For better quality images, it is worth checking out the BBC/BritishMuseum website for images and the original programmes (with their great music by Steven Faux).

But the greatest value in having this book is Neil McGregor's prose. It is informative, witty and full of insight. It is a perfect book to dip into in idle moments, or to work systematically through. But however it is read, it is nothing less than a pure joy and delight.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating books
I absolutely love this book and recommended it to many friends. I has opened up a new way of looking at history and is really wonderful
Published 1 month ago by S.H. Troutman
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Most people here seem to be disappointed with the picture quality and attack the books depth. I have found the pictures to be be more than adequate. Read more
Published 1 month ago by NKW
3.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition
An intelligent, interesting book. The kindle edition includes great colour photos (better than the paperback version),

Unfortunately, although links from the Table of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable but a publishing curiosity
This is an exquisite attempt at penning down a world history. Tying the key historical epochs to objects bookmarks the chronology in a reader's mind with more impression than the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sunny
5.0 out of 5 stars Object achieved
I bought this after hearing the series on BBC Radio 4. Great to see the real objects, not just the pictures conjured up (quite effectively) by the radio.
Published 2 months ago by Martyn Neale
5.0 out of 5 stars Good christmas present
I have been listening to the podcast. Gave this to my uncle who was very happy. No complaints and i would recommend this to anyone who likes history
Published 3 months ago by Harvey Washbrook
4.0 out of 5 stars Christmas present.
I bought this for my husband, who is currently reading it. He says it is very interesting and will pass it on to me.
Published 3 months ago by irene
5.0 out of 5 stars History brought to life
I recently visited the British Museum after having read this book. Finding the items covered and seeing them for the first time for real, was like meeting old friends. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Peter De Ridder
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I was hoping (as I hadn't seen the book before ordering) that there would be illustrations of the objects. There are. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Pat Coverdale
5.0 out of 5 stars never a dull moment
it's a fascinating read & an entertaining guide to use while going through the British Museum itself. The pictures are beautiful & the book makes history fun.
Published 4 months ago by Sarah-Jane
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