- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 26 hours and 34 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 1 Oct. 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B009T9UOY0
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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A History of the World Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Andrew Marr A History of the World
It is, as Andrew Marr is the first to insist, a ludicrous undertaking. Professional and amateur historians will carp endlessly over this detail, that generalisation, this conclusion and the whole tenor and methodology of the book. And they will be right. But Marr's achievement remains impressive. Forget the National Curriculum, were every teenager in Britain to read A History of the World, we'd all be living in a more enlightened place. There would certainly be a surge in the numbers opting to read History at university. And standards of written English would markedly improve.
How strong is your grasp of the history of the last twenty thousand years? If it is shaky, you could do much worse than spend a month, or several, reading and re-reading this brave attempt to bring some clarity and coherence to everything that's happened to the human race. Of course Marr has his ideological blinkers: he's a human being. His fiercest critic will have his own set of prejudices and blindspots. Any attempt to sketch the larger picture will sacrifice accuracy and balance for a sharp outline, a direction of travel.
Marr believes, all things considered, that liberal capitalism is a triumph over the dark forces, that the world is moving towards the light. He does not paint an uncritical picture of the process but, especially when it comes to the last century, the territory is so complex that in order to say anything, he is forced to simplify at the cost of plausibility and, frankly, intellectual honesty.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
I bought this having thoroughly enjoyed the TV series by the same author, and found that this book adds depth to the excellent series, and acts a really useful reminder about what was happening around the world at various times and ages, before concluding with a generally optimistic and upbeat assessment of the future for humanity.
History for the general reader at its best - and very enjoyable to read too
In covering such a vast subject I would hope the presenter would cover the important topics e.g. the birth of agriculture, the Industrial Revolution, the main religions, the advances in science and technology, exploration, political thought, etc. rather than the story of this or that king or queen. At the same time a geographical and civilizational balance should be struck.
Mr Marr manages to achieve some of this but he could have done a lot better. A lot of his narrative is taken up with the stories of good and bad men and (a few) women whereas I prefer a history with more technical detail.
The writing style is clear and easy to read if occasional marred by an error that a fact-checker could have eliminated (e.g. on pg.135 we're told that after Cannae Hannibal was urged to march south - that should read north. On page 199 we're told that Chaucer celebrated the astrolabe in print. It's a wonder he didn't celebrate the time machine he must have had to bring him forward to the invention of the printing press!).
As this book has received a lot of two-sentence, five-star reviews, I'll concentrate on two major negative criticisms.
In its coverage of the history of Islam I have come to expect the BBC to use kid gloves while accentuating the positive and this book and the series are no exceptions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
good product , arrived promptly, happy with purchasePublished 2 months ago by Kanishka Samarasinghe
Absolutely wonderful: everyone should be given a copy at birth. Insightful moving-though very precise factually- it also belies Marr's dry wit and observational asides.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great writing putting into context so many diverse aspects of history and facts. Enjoying reading Andrew MarrPublished 3 months ago by Alan W.