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VINE VOICEon 24 December 2016
I waited a year to read this book fearing that it would be a dense 700 page academic tome. I was wrong! Martin Gilbert is an amazingly good writer and the book grips from the start (it's not often you can say that about a history book). The book zings along at a fair old pace, giving enough insight into each major event, without getting bogged down.

It is very well written, though there are a few minor drawbacks. Firstly, we jump from one hotspot to another at a rapid pace and, sometimes, I began to lose track of where I was reading about. Secondly, the pace also means we never really get into the character of any of the major players (though I thought the insight into the rise of Stalin was rather good). Finally, hardly Mr Gilbert's fault, the bulk of the book is about conflict, war and suffering, so it is not a greatly uplifting read.

If you want readable, pacy, coverage of the last century then this is a good place to start.
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on 27 August 2005
This concise history of the 20th century is an excellent introduction for the general reader looking for a good starting point. Although it often avoids examining the reason for the outbreak of war and it glosses over a number of important topics - the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot being an obvious example - it offers an extremely readable guide.
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on 30 May 2015
As with all these concise histories there's always things that I feel I would have liked more/less detail on but this is pretty much the best that I've come across.
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on 23 November 2003
This book is a superb examination and review of the 20th Century. Martin Gilbert has accomplished a very difficult task: to examine and retell 100 years of human history in reasonable depth in just one book. This book is easily absorbed, and can be read cover-to-cover or used as a reference to the events that shaped the World. I approached this book as my first study as I was looking to become more informed, and Gilbert provides a great tutorial. The only limitation of this book is that it does not always answer the question why, which is pivotal to understanding History. But in abandoning this aspect Gilbert manages to remain completely non-judgemental and unbiased, resulting in a comprehensive and broad account of the 20th Century. Recommended for anyone who wants to know about 20th Century History.
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on 23 January 2015
Very readable, yet comprehensive. I love this book!
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on 20 November 2003
This book is a superb examination and review of the 20th Century. Martin Gilbert has accomplished a very difficult task: to examine and retell 100 years of human history in reasonable depth in just one book. This book is easily absorbed, and can be read cover-to-cover or used as a reference to the events that shaped the World. I approached this book as my first study as I was looking to become more informed, and Gilbert provides a great tutorial. The only limitation of this book is that it does not always explore the question why, which is pivotal to understanding History. But in abandoning this aspect Gilbert manages to remain completely non-judgemental and unbiased, resulting in a comprehensive and broad account of the 20th Century. Recommended for anyone who wants to know about 20th Century History.
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