Customer Reviews


112 Reviews
5 star:
 (70)
4 star:
 (25)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Accessible and engaging style and lots of information I hadn't been aware of before even though I have read around the subject a lot.
Published 13 months ago by bettelank

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very much a journalist's history
This is very much a journalist's history of the world. It is written in very readable prose, with a heavy concentration on particular leading figures. In places it refers to historical events without explaining what they are, so in order to understand things fully you need to have some previous knowledge about those events. The book is also at times structurally...
Published 11 months ago by M. F. Cayley


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 24 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Accessible and engaging style and lots of information I hadn't been aware of before even though I have read around the subject a lot.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Change-makers" of history, 6 July 2013
By 
Isis (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A History of the World (Hardcover)
As Marr himself admits, no book, no matter whether it's titled A History of the World or not, can ever succeed in comprehensively covering the entirety of history. So, as he explains in his introduction, he has chosen to focus on "big man" history: well-known individuals who are often, though not always, rulers. This seems on the face of it a rather traditionalist approach to history, a throwback to decades past where historians only seemed to talk about kings and queens. That kind of history has fallen out of favour in the past 30 years, replaced by an interest in social history, gender history, world theory, and phenomenology; the heretofore "untold" stories. So why is Marr writing about powerful individuals? Marr explains that, like it or not, a small number of people throughout history had greater agency than others, the ability to act to change the circumstances around them. He sees these individuals as important because they drove the great changes of history, and although much of the human past is marked by consistency and continuation, it is the changes that have made the biggest difference in our social evolution.

Marr divides human history into defined eras and then selectively talks about a handful of key "change-makers" in each era. Naturally this type of history leaves out a lot, but the examples Marr chooses are, he feels, demonstrative of the most important changes of their era. By picking out key figures and identifying patterns that emerge in history, Marr is able to bring together the whole and explain the significance of the patterns he draws out. It's left to the reader to decide whether the conclusions Marr draws are insightful or nonsensical.

In my opinion, some of what Marr presents to us in this book is a little dubious. For example, Marr suggests that humans had not even left Africa by the time of the Sumatra eruption c. 75,000 BCE, but Stephen Oppenheimer (ancient population geneticist), who Marr actually refers to, presents evidence that implies that was not the case. Marr also presents the view that homo sapiens was probably responsible for wiping out the Neanderthals and megafauna such as woolly mammoths etc. In fact this is still hotly debated, and many theories are put forwards as explanations for these extinctions, including climate change at the end of the Ice Age, which have interesting points of their own. Not to rubbish A History of the World, but it's worth keeping in mind that many of these questions are still up for debate. Marr uses Orlando Figes as a source about modern history in Russia at one point - awkward, given Figes' current state of disgrace after the debacle in which he was involved.

The above caveat aside, the whole work is smoothly written and very readable, I found it an enjoyable read, but it definitely comes under the category of popular history than serious academic work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woaa, 27 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A History of the World (Paperback)
A vast subject set but the reader is quickly drawn into the unstoppable movement that, like history, unfolds as one turns the pages. Concludes with a salutary reflection on current years.
More wordy, more globally viewed and therefore more suitable to the web generation than the delightful Gombrich, a short history of the world which follows classical European historical development but which is good to dip into as light relief and necessary chronological background reminders as one surfs through this large wave of information by A Marr.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant on Kindle and Audible, 13 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this as my Audible download of the month, and then purchased it for Kindle. This has to be one of the most engaging and comprehensive history books I have ever read. It's no mean feat to make our collective world history fascinating, but Marr manages to do just that. I also found his broad sweep, so dipping into history as it happened in the Middle East, China, Europe, South America, Africa fresh. I think too many history books are very narrow in their scope, but Marr avoids this. America does not appear suddenly in 1492, and neither does Australia with Captain Cook. Marr delves into their histories long before European conquests, and this is what makes this book so special. As a history buff I thought I knew a lot already, but this made me realize how little I do know about some nations, and the Chinese history sections were particularly illuminating. He also doesn't focus on one area for a long time, but moves around the world based on time, which keeps it exciting. Great value and great read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview, 11 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Andrew Marr has a good writing style and I found this book to be an easy read with some nice cross references throughout. I am probably 30% through the book and can comment that it is a good overview with a few educated assumptions ; some accurate - some not so . On reading ; I have found that I am cross referencing on line more and more facts which is helping to teach me - so a very good book when used in conjunction with other data
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An ambitious project, 16 Jan 2014
By 
Middle aged spread "when I was a boy" (ipswich, suffolk United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I enjoyed this very much, despite in some cases Marr having a distinct agenda, he does resort to some commonly held beliefs as fact such as eastern spice trade being based on the flavouring of rank meat, regardless of the logical flaw; spices are expensive, afforded in the main by the rich who would a) could afford fresh meat b) would be under no illusion that spices hide the flavour and smell of rotten meat, a bit of a small cliché perhaps, but he makes a point of it that does not hold water.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the effort, 3 Nov 2013
By 
Ian Gibson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A History of the World (Paperback)
The book has depth and over the early period of mankind can be slow paced. But read it in full and the context it sets in the early chapters forms a real understanding on how far we have progressed as a species and also damningly how little we have progressed in other areas.

The book frames key areas of progression for mankind around key historical figures and the fact that war has so often created new situations and evolvement. The summary that in terms on power and politics so little has changed over thousands of years in terms of how we as humans use these for our ends is sobbering but all too true when one considers the world around us in the 21st century
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Andrew Marr, 9 May 2013
By 
Dr. James F. Mckellican (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A History of the World (Hardcover)
This book requires concentration to get into the massive project Andrew has set himself. Once into it however the comparative assessment of differing populations' developments is fascinating and informative. Perhaps not the book to give Aunt Susie for Christmas but certainly one for eager beavers of a younger age to get a grasp of how people evolved and why we are where we are today.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great compliment to the TV series, 6 Jan 2013
This review is from: A History of the World (Hardcover)
Got this for my dad for Christmas and he has enjoyed it, great way to enhance the knowledge for the TV series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Andrew Marr's - History of the World, 13 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A History of the World (Hardcover)
Have very much enjoyed reading this intelligent book. A very useful supplement to the recent Sunday night BBC programme. It takes some doing to write a history of the world in approx 600ish pages so congratulations to Andrew Marr and all those who assisted him on this project. I am sure there are history buffs out there who might criticise the finished work but for me it has provided a valuable insight on how we, the human race, have reached the stage we are at now. A great fireside read for this winter if you like your history stuff.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A History of the World
A History of the World by Andrew Marr (Paperback - 6 Jun 2013)
3.85
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews