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A Little History of the World by [Gombrich, E. H.]
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A Little History of the World Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 182 customer reviews

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Length: 303 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

Had I a dozen grandchildren... I'd order two dozen copies, one for the children, the other for their parents. --The Evening Standard

Gombrich opens with the most magical definition of history I have ever read. --The Guardian

I doubt if it could be bettered. --The Literary Review

Review

"I love the new translation of Gombrich's classic history for children. Both entertaining and informative, it makes perfect bedtime reading."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2923 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Rep Tra edition (7 Oct. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004YKSXYW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 182 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #45,519 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
...there was one book you could turn to which would take you through the entirety of human history in an entertaining as well as educational manner. Well guess what: there is, and 'A Little History..' is it. Don't be dissuaded by the fact that this is nominally a children's book. Unless you have devoted years to the study of history, you will finish this book a more knowledgeable person than when you started.

And for those who are put off by the size of the text, the audio version is available and beautifully read by the author's grandson.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this to see if it would be a suitable present for some friend's children, and wound up keeping it myself! You'd have to be one whiz at history not to learn a great deal from this book, it was great to have so many names that rang a vague bell finally put in context in such a concise and entertaining way. An excellent read, and one of the best-presented books in terms of binding and typography I've seen in a while.

The reviewer below who worried about the 'unrestrained paean to Marxism' clearly didn't read Gombrich's thoughtful and honest afterword, where he reviews his own opinions from over 50 years back and concludes that he was mistaken about the Soviet Union (to which he only devotes literally five lines which are not particularily opinionated) and too hard on industrialization. He also corrects his younger self on his orignal, parochial view of the Treaty of Versailles. I honour his candour in keeping the original lines in. In any case the idea that this book, with or without the afterword, is propaganda for ANY ideology is frankly absurd, and I would hate to see any reasonable person avoid the "Little History" from that mistaken impression.

Of course anyone will quarrel with the presentation of parts of history on which have an opinion-- personally I think he was rather too hard on Elizabeth I and rather too easy on the Chinese empire and the Aztecs! But that's the consequence of Gombrich's vivid storybook style, I think, and the fact that he has to deal with very complex situations in a couple of lines. I was especially impressed with the steady grace with which he handles potentially explosive religious issues. On the whole I don't think any but the most committed idealogue, left or right, would have a serious issue with their children reading this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Yale UP deserve congratulations from young and old readers alike for this beautifully produced and translated book. Written in the 1930s but only now translated into English it is vintage Gomnbrich - clear and concise and fascinating and thought aimed at younger readers will be enjoyed by adults too. And the compact size and gorgeous newly commissioned woodcuts all add to the joy that this book brings. Can't recommend it highly enough to anyone interested in Gombrich's writings or just looking for a wonderful short historical read.
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Format: Hardcover
'Once upon a time ... ' A brilliant introduction to 'what is history' which draws you in irresistably - a great outline for adults as well as children. Although inevitably biased towards European history, it does cover the world and tells the 'story' in a way which will encourage you to find out more. Not only beautifully written, as you would expect from Gombrich, but also beautifully produced - in hardback on good-quality paper with stunning [lino-cut?] illustrations and at a very reasonable price. Order more than one - it makes a great present.
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By A Customer on 7 Oct. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Worth it just for the quality of paper, binding, cover and engravings alone. (First time in months I have seen a brand new hardback printed in the UK.) The quality of production and writing are superb. This is an interesting historical artifact by itself, having been written for children in 1935. That fact needs to be borne in mind during those moments when the book inevitably 'skims' over large subjects. I would recommend this just as a good read and a nicely finished book rather than look to it as an academic work.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
E.H. Gombrich is probably best known as the author of a wonderful book on the History of Art, which I guess must have made its way, at some time, to every Art lovers bookshelf.

I recently discovered that he had, as a young man, written a wonderful history book for children, which was published in Austria in 1935, much later, translated into twenty five languages, , but only towards the end of Gombrich’s life (he died in 2001) did he produce an English version. This has also updated the History, taking it to the collapse of the Soviet bloc. Gombrich, born in Vienna in 1909, was an Austrian Jew, and made his home in England in 1936.

He originally wrote A Little History of The World, a history book for children, when he had been commissioned to translate an English history book into German. Gombrich was not very complimentary about the history book, instead, suggested to be publisher that he could do rather better, by writing a book about history himself, for children, The publisher took him up on this, and, quite astonishingly, he wrote his wonderful ‘little history’ in 6 weeks .
The sweep of this effortlessly readable book starts in prehistory, and in 40 chapters arrives at the tail end of the twentieth century.

Whilst there is a major focus on European history, what Gombrich is really looking at is a kind of exploration of empires – whether these are empires of the mind, of ideology, ideas, religions, politics and of course the regrettable history of empires won and lost through club, sword, firearm, bomb and all the rest of mankind’s panoply of destructive devices.
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