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The New Penguin History of the World Hardcover – 27 Feb 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1248 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; 4th Revised edition edition (27 Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713996110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713996111
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 5.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,105,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

A work of outstanding breadth of scholarship and penetrating judgments. There is nothing better of its kind. (Jonathan Sumption, "Sunday Telegraph") Anyone who wants an outline grasp of history, the core of all subjects, can grasp it here. ("The Economist") --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

JM Roberts is also the author of THE PENGUIN HISTORY OF EUROPE and THE PENGUIN HISTORY OF THE 20TH CENTURY and was historical advisor to the BBC's A PEOPLE'S CENTURY. He lives in Somerset.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Anyone fascinated by world history will be delighted with the appearance of a new edition of John Robert's History of the World. His ill health mentioned in the preface made it hard work, and his recent death confirms his prophesy that this will be the final edition of this successful book. Overall Roberts provides a great summation of world history, supplying a sweeping overview with perceptive insights, and avoiding the temptation to become enmeshed in encyclopedic detail. The themes he follows, those of change and continuity, the impetus of history and the relationship between tradition and innovation in human history are well chosen and help to find a context for this daunting subject. Additionally he makes relevant the weight of the past to present events (including a very good job of bringing the book right up to date with post-9/11 events). His overall perspective on history has changed surprisingly little over the years, perhaps because one of his basic philosophies is durable; "the two phenomena of inertia and innovation continue to operate in all historical developments ... we shall always find what happens both more, and less, surprising than we expect". Sounds like a bet both ways, however thinking about recent events it is quite plausable.
The book, it is freely acknowledged by Roberts, comes from a white, middle class western perspecive, however every edition finds him attempting to balance his global coverage further, as well as expanding the text to include more on gender issues and the environment. The thinness of material on non-Western cultures, such as Africa and Latin America is more related to knowledge than bias.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book has many sides to it, ranging from the amazingly positive, to the somewhat negitive.
On the plus side this book accuratley and decidley covers a broad range of eras in a concise and clear manner. Including enough detail for the reader to follow the narrative, but so much as to loose the reader in a dense mass of detail. Roberts tackles the huge catalogue of human history, by identifying the themes of comtinuity and change through the chronological study of our past. He does this very well and the added section detailimg from 9/11 onwards rounds off a superb effort.
However, the piece does have some short comings. Most notably the 'eurocentricity' running throughout. The most obvious case of this is that Roberts spends chapter upon chapter detailing the development of Europe and the Near East up to 1500, but only 20-40 pages outlining the same time span for other great centers of culture such as Japan, China or India. This continues throughout the book, and although China goes on to feature more so, really does let it down.

On the whole though a very good piece of work by a great Historian, and a must read for anyone wanting to be able to see the 'bigger picture' of history!
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Format: Paperback
I recently went on a 6 week bike trip round France. To keep weight low I could only take one book with me and chose the New Penquin History of the World. I made the right choice. The book is the perfect travelling companion, easy to read and highly informative. It has immense scope and covers all its topics in just the right amount of detail. It is structured by themes as well as timeline and this helps give it coherence and allows you to see the linkage between apparently separate events. What is astonishing is the relevance of events far in the past on todays world. Just two examples: The link of Charlemagne having to divide his kingdom equally between his sons and the wars of the 20th century and the beauty pagent which resulted in Russia choosing Eastern Orthodoxy and had repercussions which still reverberate today.

I love this book. If I could only take one book with me to a desert island it would be this. I have ordered a second copy (since mine is now so battered) to give to my son who will start History AS next month. I can think of now better foundation for him to start this course.
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Format: Paperback
The definitive guide to world history. I haven't quite finished it yet (it's taken me a year!) but it gives you an amazing synopsis and helps to put events into perspective. World events that you previously would not have considered as important as others are given greater prominence, and vice versa. It shows that many of the current problems are certainly not new or different. A book every politician (and every other member of the planet for that matter) should read!!
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Format: Paperback
This is a classic read - the story of all human endeavour since recorded time - and well written and entertaining too. Sometimes we get too embroiled in the trivia of our daily lives and books such as Roberts' History of the World help us realise that people have always faced difficulties and always will - it's how we face them that matters. What work of fiction could compare with the grand panoply of human history? A great achievement and a fitting legacy for a great historian. Recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For anyone wishing to understand how the world has evolved from the very beginning, this is the book for you. Starting at the evolution of humans, into homosapiens, and then assessing each civilisation throughout history to the modern day, the Penguin History of the World provides the best introduction to the study of history.

I was a bit apprehensive of a book that claimed to cover every period, but the book is nicely written and so clearly expressed (and without doubt seems to cover every major event that I can think of) that this book isn't just for academics, but the general reader who wishes to get a grasp of how events have shaped the world.

Separated into seperate topics for each civilisation, the text is easy to navigate and not only looks at political, but also social and cultural events. If you wish, you can follow the footnotes or further reading to look into topics in more detail - this book can only give you the basics.

One of the best 'History of the World' books I have come across. Downloaded onto my kindle, it also came with clearly labelled maps so I was able to keep an eye on which part of the world I was reading about.

5/5
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