Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best history I have ever read!, 9 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Penguin History of the World (Paperback)
This is a comprehensive history of the world, from the origins of humanity to the present day. It's packed with information, very deeply researched, without being dry. As readable as any novel - you just can't put it down - and accessible to anyone. Part of its strength is that many of the analyses drop 'hints' and lead you to develop your own ideas.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly absorbing, informative and easy to understand., 15 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Penguin History of the World (Paperback)
J.M.Roberts has laid out the world's history in a true chronological way, describing events as they occur in different parts of the world to allow the reader a way to envisage the world as it unfolds.
Objective as much as possible - he has however emphasised, overall, the importance of Europe in shaping today's world. At the same time he has accounted for the way the world's different peoples' have developed in culture and thinking.
Recommended at least to increase your understanding and enrich the picture of not only world events but of it's people too.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars just abit of light reading, 9 Oct 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Penguin History of the World (Paperback)
I congratulate anyone who gets through this - at 1114 pages its no walk in the park, but well worth the effort.
Roberts has an uncanny ability to take any topic, say, The French Revolution, the Civil War, the fall of Rome, and penetrate right to the heart of the matter, capturing its very essence and significance. Equally though, he is able to bind all the individual events together, to explain the broader developments of history across all cultures and continents.
The book benefits from beginning at prehistory, which makes the story that follows all the more fascinating, and at times ridiculous, when you think that not too long ago we were still just apes.
My main criticisms would be that he does tend to emphasise, ad nauseum, the hegemony that Europe established over the rest of the world. It does become a little Eurocentric and repititive in places. Roberts also has an annoying habit of quoting someone but then not telling you who said it (" as a philosopher once said...").
Even taking these things into account, as a history graduate I would say I have rarely, if ever, encountered a historian with such a brilliant grasp of the issues of history or who can express things with such clarity.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In every time and place..., 10 Jan 2006
By 
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
J.M. Roberts is a good popular historian. Of the several works of his for the popular audience that I have read, all have come across as interesting and well organised, accessible and fairly objective. Roberts also writes for scholarly audiences; while his popular works are not a rigourous, his other works prove that there is serious scholarship underpinning these works.
Roberts' large, one-volume 'History of the World' joins many such volumes in having strengths and weaknesses, the primary weakness affecting them all being the inherent problem of selectivity. The history of the world, even if one simply means by this the history of human civilisation, has so much data in so many directions that ultimately no single volume (or, indeed, whole series of volumes) will satisfy all on every count.
Roberts begins with the pre-historical beginnings of human beings in various parts of the world, based on archaeological evidence. He then explores of civilisation in various parts of the world (Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India - all the places civilisation arose largely independently of each other). From there, Roberts traces the advances of civilisation through the Classical Mediterranean period, the post-Roman imperial time, the period of European expansion around the world, the period of world wars, and the modern post-war period. Within these broad divisions, Roberts introduces the history of other parts of the world -- the Islamic civilisation, more advanced the post-Roman lands, is not seen as a mere afterthought or addendum to the 'real' action in Europe; Roberts also traces historical development in China, India, and Japan as major centres of civilisation.
The majority of the text does centre upon the European stage and their expansion around the world, as this historical strand (for better or worse) is still the dominant influence around the world today. More than half the text deals with the past 300-400 years, in which European hegemony politically, militarily, and culturally took hold. Roberts keeps speculation and judgement to a minimum for the most part, reporting the facts of European growth and the response in the various lands around the world.
In my opinion, the primary piece lacking here are New World (western hemisphere) civilisations prior to the colonial conquests. While it is true that the influence of Native American cultures does not have tremendous impact upon the world stage today, it is also true that the civilisations of the Incans, Aztecs, Mayans and others were at least as interesting and advanced as various Sumerian and Egyptian ancient civilisations, even if they lack the historical continuity to today's world.
Roberts does add the occasional 'colour commentary' to his analysis. For example, in discussing the Lutheran Reformation, he mentions that Luther replaced the idea of eucharistic transubstantiation (the idea that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ) 'with a view which is even more difficult to grasp'. Roberts' biases are definitely Eurocentric and toward a progressive, humanist view of history's path. However, there can be no total objectivity in any historical presentation, and Roberts keeps his biases in check for the most part.
There are nearly 100 maps, and hundreds of images and graphics, including many full-colour plates. These are photographs of places, artifacts, paintings, and other images of importance serving to highlight the text. There is a worthwhile index. The text lacks recommendations for further readings, which is a drawback, given the survey nature of the text. However, it is one of the better single-volume histories of the world available today, particularly for those who are looking for broad historical trends leading to the present day.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book but too advanced for beginners., 5 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Penguin History of the World (Paperback)
I got this book in order to have a general knowledge of history, but I had to quit near the midst (I changed to "History of World Civilizations" -Prentice Hall- and did well ). The author tries to be very objective and is bold in its approach, demystifying some current historical conclusions when necessary. The book lacks photographs and is in black and white (like a novel), it features some maps. A good book to improve your knowledge of world history but not to start with (a high-school level , which I didn't have, is enough though). It exists in Audiobook unabridged too (an older edition, Blackstone Audio Books, Inc.). This review is about the third edition.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding !, 14 Dec 1999
By 
This review is from: The Penguin History of the World (Paperback)
The most extraordinary trip I have ever taken - a totally breaktaking account of World history awaits the new reader. Thank you Mr. Roberts for this wonderful experience !
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Penguin History of the World
The Penguin History of the World by J. M. Roberts (Paperback - 5 Jan 1995)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews