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4.7 out of 5 stars
Andrew Marr's History of the World  [DVD]
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117 of 124 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2012
*Review based on TV screening* To present an overview of world history in an accessible, engaging yet original format is quite a tall order, though in this bold endeavour Marr has succeeded admirably where others may have shrunk from the challenge.

However, this is no mere retelling of history as a series of milestones with which we are all familiar, but a fresh, original and very eye-opening perspective on some of the major events and personalities, including those lesser known, that have shaped our world. The series also reaches quite a climax in the last episode, where, looking back on a history filled with greed and lack of foresight, Marr rightly questions the presumed wisdom of our species, while also looking to the future with some hope.

Marr's inimitable presenting style - personable and relaxed yet authoritative - is almost perfect for these programmes, and, as one would perhaps expect, there does seem to be a bias towards the political (definitely with a small 'p') in the telling of this epic story. And he is ably assisted by a plethora of very realistic and well-produced historical re-enactments, which make for a fascinating, dramatic and at times quite gripping portrayal.

For me, the only downside is that this series does not always make for comfortable viewing. Although Marr does focus on saints as well as sinners - The Buddha as well as Genghis Khan, Gandhi as well as Hitler - there is no getting away from the fact that the history of humanity is full to overflowing with egotism, arrogance, intolerance, greed, plunder, exploitation, brutality, murder, war and genocide, and in this respect it made me feel quite ashamed to be a member of the human race, especially a white European. (And this is quite apart from the deplorable atrocities that we humans have perpetrated, and continue to perpetrate, against the natural world.)

In short, this is a wonderful and very well-produced series, which I would highly recommend.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 10 February 2013
Andrew Marr has crafted a gem. Perhaps not the most photogenic presenter around, nevertheless he excels at his new craft; his previous being that of a journalist. His inflexion, intonation & studied pauses add to the story.

Comprising 8 episodes, this series covers man's history over the past 70,000 years.
1. Survival: How the earliest humans spread around the world, adapting and surviving against the odds.
2. Age of Empire: The story of the first empires which laid the foundations for the modern world.
3. The Word and the Sword: Charting the spiritual revolutions that shook the world between 300 BC and 700 AD.Episodes.
4. Into the Light: This episode covers the Middle Ages, when Vikings explored and pillaged
5. Age of Plunder: Illustrating Europe's rise from piracy to private enterprise
6. Revolution: Exploration of a time when people worldwide rose up in the name of freedom and equality.
7. Age of Industry. Andrew Marr tells how Britain's Industrial Revolution created the modern world.
8. Age of Extremes: Bringing the story right up to date with the twentieth century.
Comprising up to 10 stories per episode from around the world, Andrew weaves & builds the central thesis of each episode. The rich, lush & realistic re-enactments immerse one in the action. Central to the presentation is Marr's narration occurring at the location of the related action being discussed. For instance the story of the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima highlights this with Andrew wandering around modern day Hiroshima. All of this attention to detail & realism is what makes this presentation stand head & shoulders above the dross so often seen with their poor presentations & skimpy re-enactments that remain implausible for the Viewer.

Each Episode provides an eclectic mix of case studies which provide much food for thought about the human condition. Marr's concise, lucid & engaging analysis rounds off the presentation.

All history lovers will be enthralled as I was by this production. Undoubted an opus magnis on this topic, it will be at least a decade before anything close to & on this scale will be produced again.

Hats off to the BBC History Department!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2015
I bought this DVD because I thought it would be very useful to have a potted history of the world always available to research whenever the need arose. In this respect it has been entirely successful as the scope of the series strikes the right balance between too much and too little detail. I like Andrew Marr's presentation which is excellent and informative without being stuffy, and humorous without being frivolous; also his diction and clarity of speech means I don't miss a word (not having perfect hearing).

No expense has been spared on locations which adds greatly to the world history experience - a thoroughly recommended DVD- all school children should watch this!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2013
A great series that ties everything and everyone together really well. It will definitely provoke your curiosity in some part of history. I couldn't stay away from Wikipedia throuhout the whole thing.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2012
Andrew Marr's History of the World is a interesting and thoroughly enjoyable 8 part BBC series where the Journalist walks us through pivotal moments in World History refreshingly through the eyes of everyday people rather than Kings and Emperors.

Marr's engaging narrative is supplemented by vivid re-enactments of Battles and other Historical events which put any History Channel production to shame.

I really liked the series because of its focus on World History rather than History from a mainly European perspective.

For anyone who enjoys History this is a great purchase and will prove useful to anyone in Primary or Secondary education studying History.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2012
I enjoyed this series although think it lacks something from being presented by a journalist rather than a historian. I felt that rather than actually presenting his own vision he was reporting on the vision of his researchers. However what they produced was entertaining, although a little PC at times. Marr (rightly) went to great lengths to point how ambitious, brutal and human Europe's history is but glossed over the sins of other lands, especially the Muslim world. It left me with a sense that it was a little bit too influenced by power politics. So, very entertaining and informative but a little distorted in my 'humble' opinion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2013
This is the most wonderful series and I would recommend it to everyone, not just those with an interest in history. It is the first series which ties together events in the world that were happening at the same time but separately.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2014
Perhaps a little bit too much from (Western)-European perspective, but it is also an open-European perspective, namely how the outer civilisations had shaped Europe as it is. After all - this is a British programme, isn't it?
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on 3 August 2015
Absolutely brilliant! Having read the book first, I was interested to see how Andrew Marr could pack in all the goodies from 1000 pages into a series. The result is a clever use of re-enactments of historical moments, historical pictures/film clips and the superb "on-location" narration that Andrew Marr manages so expertly, by combining enthusiasm with measured speed and clear diction (plenty of dramatic pauses and irony!). Using the ressources and authority of the BBC, this makes an informative and thoroughly enjoyable trip through what makes man man.
I would also recommend this for non-native speakers of English - so a World History for the World.
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on 31 January 2013
This set of DVDs is unique - it gives a world view through history that connects people . It explains the culture behind events such as the French Revolution and the development of the atomic bomb that I never knew before. Beyond being wonderfully entertaining it is also simplistic enough to understand. It is a must for understanding our world today and has a great ending. Every episode continues the high standard throughout the series with suspense. I particularly like the refreshing honesty that is portrayed . This is a DVD for anyone who is interested in World history wherever they are from. An absolutely brilliant purchase!
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