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A Little History of the World Paperback – 19 Aug 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (19 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030014332X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300143324
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sir Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich, OM, CBE (30 March 1909 - 3 November 2001) was an Austrian-born art historian who spent most of his working life in the United Kingdom. He is the author of many works of art criticism and art history. (Photograph: Pino Guidolotti)

Product Description

Review

"... [a] wondrous, passionate history book... full of ... common sense and wonder ... an inspiration for children and a refreshment for adults." -- Irish Times, January 2009

"... a short but measured jog through ... world history ... told in warm, unhurried tones ... a ... truly beautiful, rich and satisfying history book." -- Lucy Mangan, Guardian, 14th March 2009

"... a superbly organized, energetic, humane, gripping chronicle of the human race ... No enquiring mind can afford to do without this book."
-- Chris Stephenson, Carousel, 1st March 2009

"I love the new translation of Gombrich's classic history for children. Both entertaining and informative, it makes perfect bedtime reading." -- Katy Lazenby, Western Morning News (Devon), 10th January 2009

Review

"I love the new translation of Gombrich's classic history for children. Both entertaining and informative, it makes perfect bedtime reading."

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All stories begin with 'Once upon a time'. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Dublinia on 9 Mar. 2007
Format: Hardcover
...there was one book you could turn to which would take you through the entirety of human history in an entertaining as well as educational manner. Well guess what: there is, and 'A Little History..' is it. Don't be dissuaded by the fact that this is nominally a children's book. Unless you have devoted years to the study of history, you will finish this book a more knowledgeable person than when you started.

And for those who are put off by the size of the text, the audio version is available and beautifully read by the author's grandson.
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Sydney on 17 Aug. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read this to see if it would be a suitable present for some friend's children, and wound up keeping it myself! You'd have to be one whiz at history not to learn a great deal from this book, it was great to have so many names that rang a vague bell finally put in context in such a concise and entertaining way. An excellent read, and one of the best-presented books in terms of binding and typography I've seen in a while.

The reviewer below who worried about the 'unrestrained paean to Marxism' clearly didn't read Gombrich's thoughtful and honest afterword, where he reviews his own opinions from over 50 years back and concludes that he was mistaken about the Soviet Union (to which he only devotes literally five lines which are not particularily opinionated) and too hard on industrialization. He also corrects his younger self on his orignal, parochial view of the Treaty of Versailles. I honour his candour in keeping the original lines in. In any case the idea that this book, with or without the afterword, is propaganda for ANY ideology is frankly absurd, and I would hate to see any reasonable person avoid the "Little History" from that mistaken impression.

Of course anyone will quarrel with the presentation of parts of history on which have an opinion-- personally I think he was rather too hard on Elizabeth I and rather too easy on the Chinese empire and the Aztecs! But that's the consequence of Gombrich's vivid storybook style, I think, and the fact that he has to deal with very complex situations in a couple of lines. I was especially impressed with the steady grace with which he handles potentially explosive religious issues. On the whole I don't think any but the most committed idealogue, left or right, would have a serious issue with their children reading this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Scott VINE VOICE on 17 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This isn't a book you would read from beginning to end, but as a book to dip in and out of it's highly enjoyable. The author writes with a witty style which is both engaging and easy to read. There are short chapters on all the major historical events in (mostly western) history which despite being brief do manage to capture the essence of the period. Another attractive feature of the book is the actual paper and binding used; if you're fussy about this kind of thing then you'll be pleased that it's a nice book to handle, too!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alex Ireland on 22 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
Although this book was written for precocious children, it's a fine read for any adult. It covers a huge range of History starting at the the might of the Eyptians and continuing right up until second world war. Everything is written in clear, concise and simple terms, so it never gets too heavy. And let's face it, that's the problem with most fact books - they're usually full of academic parlence and put most people to sleep rather quickly. It's always welcomed when this trend is bucked.

'A Little History of The World' contains 40 short chapters, each chapter focussed on a key time in the world's history. As with all history there are slants here and there and inevitably somethings get more of a mention than other's but on the whole it's balanced, intelligble and most important it's enjoyable.

There's a wealth of information in this book. It's written so a nine year old child could understand it but at the sametime I'd be very confident that anybody - except a history academic - would learn something they either didn't know or get a reminder of something they've forgotten.

A great book. Buy it, if you're an adult who enjoys a good read or as a fine educational gift for any child.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By elizabeth5493 on 5 Oct. 2005
Format: Hardcover
'Once upon a time ... ' A brilliant introduction to 'what is history' which draws you in irresistably - a great outline for adults as well as children. Although inevitably biased towards European history, it does cover the world and tells the 'story' in a way which will encourage you to find out more. Not only beautifully written, as you would expect from Gombrich, but also beautifully produced - in hardback on good-quality paper with stunning [lino-cut?] illustrations and at a very reasonable price. Order more than one - it makes a great present.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Culley on 27 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book was originally written in the author's native German in the 1930d, and was translated into many languages, becoming something of an international bestseller. Its English translation came much later. Its span is very large: from pre-history to the Second World War. The origins of occidental civilisation in the near-East and Egypt are well covered. We then move on to the Classical period and the Middle Ages. The fount of oriental civilisation in China is certainly not ignored, but it msut be said that European history is the focus of the book. The book is divided into small chapters, each with a different subject.

The book is clearly aimed at children and young people. The style is friendly and informative, and reading it will benefit a child's education. The author encourages the reader to think and also to find out more about the subject, which is a positive recommendation. Some children may need an adult to help them with the book. The book is also great for adults, as one can learn a great deal from it. Of course a book with such scope can only provide an outline, but what a great outline it is!

In conclusion, this is a pleasantly traditional history book, and it should prove an enjoying and satisfying read. Recommended.
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