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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best history book I ever read, 28 July 2011
This review is from: World History: A New Perspective (Paperback)
I read this book some years ago, at the end of a period of my life when all I'd read was history for three or four years. It's a stunning volume. Mr Ponting probably overdoes his stated thesis (that traditional historical scholarship was/is too Eurocentric), as he is clearly right and doesn't need to labour the point so much. But in terms of the overall sweep, this is a small matter, for this book sets out a narrative of human history that is detailed and compelling. It really is a next-generation history book, several leaps beyond the traditional kings/empires/politics scholarship it grew out of.

Where Mr Ponting is at his best is describing how technological developments drove all other political and social changes since the dawn of agriculture. This has been one of the most influential books of my entire life. Masterful. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Peter Baker
The Jolly Pilgrim
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rewriting History, 6 Nov 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: World History: A New Perspective (Paperback)
Traditional world histories to a lay audience take the following format: Primitive man, agriculture, the first civilisations i.e., Sumeria, Egypt, then China, India; then possibly something about Greece and Rome, something about religions and their origins, the dark ages in Europe, the renaissance, the age of exploration, the industrial revolution and then the British Empire, modern science and the present world order.
Clive Ponting on the other hand, starts on broadly similar lines, but rather than Rome, Greece and the thread of European history as forming a backbone to the rest of world history, prefers to dwell on India, India, India, China, China, China, China, China plus Africa, Pacific Islands, South America as well as bits from the Eurasian periphery, AKA Europe. He dismisses Europe as an unnatural continent and prefers to refer to Eurasia.
In focusing on the achievements of China and India, he places in perspective European claims to civilisation and exposes how Europe remained quite backwards well into the 18th century before catching up with the trading networks and empires in the east through the help of plunder from the Americas and slavery.
He reveals that all the great scientific and technological innovations that lead to the European naval expansion arose in the Middle East or China including paper, gunpowder, mathematics and advanced trading systems. He also makes clear that Eastern relgions were subtler and superior to the thraldom of the Judaeo-Christian hegemony, which was subsequently imposed on the world by Europeans.
He indicates how the Americas paid the price in hundreds of millions of lives lost, and the only thing that the East wanted from the West was gold and silver as the West had nothing better to offer in terms of quality goods or spices. The precious metals the Europeans eventually found in S. America which they ransacked to the hilt, representing a jackpot of plantation land and wealth of untold proportions. It is the plantation system and the wealth discovered that enabled an economic conquest of the East which eventually established Occidental domination.
The book is controversial and has strong views but is a useful redress to decades of assumption as to any inherent superiority in any one culture. It is an indictement of some of the wrongs that Europe represented. The book is very weak on historical characters and figures and is thus somewhat marxist.
However, the book is filled with details of the rise and fall of Chinese dynasties which other books would never mention as well as comprehensive enough histories of India and "The South". It excels in details on technology, religion and economics that other books would fail on. It is also strong on environmental perspectives.
I think this is an important reference book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars World History, Clive Ponting, 8 Dec 2009
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This review is from: World History: A New Perspective (Paperback)
A history book with a new perspective, a book that makes you think beyond the traditional way of seeing history. Pontings approach is much more global and the perspective makes, atleast me, see the history in an other way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The 'truest' single-volume World History in the English Language, 26 May 2014
By 
Warrior419 (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: World History: A New Perspective (Paperback)
This is one of the only books in the English language that (quite successfully) attempts to overcome the Eurocentric bias that has been dominating our storytelling for almost four centuries. Its surprising how, even today in our supposedly 'globalised world', we have not shaken off this bias, which astonishingly is still the major premise of modern history narrative - whether in school textbooks or popular 'bestsellers'. Ponting's work goes a long way in trying to neutralise this.

This should be the standard preliminary text for all young students of history.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great insight into world history, 2 Aug 2005
By 
H. Gosling (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: World History: A New Perspective (Paperback)
If you are interested in a truly 'world' approach - without the usual pre-eminence of Europe - this is the book for you. Starting with the origins of man, it covers everything in a concise and easy to read style. Thoroughly recommended.
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World History: A New Perspective
World History: A New Perspective by Clive Ponting (Paperback - 4 Oct 2001)
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