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A People's History of the World: From the Stone Age to the New Millennium Paperback – 1 May 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 760 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844672387
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844672387
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 4.6 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The left... has few accounts which convey as well as this book does the broad sweep of human history." Robin Blackburn"

About the Author

CHRIS HARMAN is the editor of International Socialism. He is the author of numerous books including Class Struggles in Eastern Europe, 1945-1983, The Fire Last Time: 1968 and After and The Lost Revolution: Germany 1918-1923.


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4.1 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Conventional history tells us the 20th Century's most significant events were World War I, World War II and perhaps the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Francis Fukuyama famously suggested liberal democracy within global capitalism eventually triumphed. A people's history takes a refreshingly different and more intelligent approach. Popular movements and the ideas behind them (which are usually overlooked) like the Second Spanish Republic in the 1930s, Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968 are given the attention they deserve. This book covers not just the 20th Century but the whole of human history (with a brief chronology at the start of every part) and is one of the best history books I have ever read. It should be compulsory reading for history students, but also an inspiration for everyone to take decisions for themselves instead of leaving power in the hands of the few.
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One somewhat negative review of this fantastic history states that it is 'biased'. Typical of someone who cannot see the bias in the history book he/she has in their mind. History is not science. The work Chris Harman has done to produce this truly epic piece of history is admirable on its' own, it is thorough (though it was inevitable that he missed some things I would like to have heard about and some things were glossed over, but that is true of any book of this type) and well researched.

Most importantly, however, the overriding analysis of history is refreshingly cogent and consistent. Whereas some history textbooks tend to state what they hope in vain to describe merely as how things happened and then analyze each episode individually, Harman has a clear analysis of history that he constantly reaffirms throughout the text where appropriate. He gets it right as well; he doesn't cherry pick, he doesn't propagate any conspiracy theories, he states history in a way that is not very controversial and applies enough analysis to make it interesting. The rest, which is drawing our own conclusions about exploitation, etc. is left to us. And I must say, he did a very good job indeed.
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Format: Paperback
Chris Harman's "Peoples History" is a pleasure to read. A necessary alternative to most traditional history books, which often seemingly are written by the view of "the victors". The views of kings, masters and generals is not the language of Chris Harman. For which this commentator is most grateful, as it gives a much needed view "from below", from the "people", thus, also the title. Harman's background and orientation as squarely belonging to the left, socialist, marxist ,( whichever chosen ettiquette ) will put some readers off. Pity! Rather to the contrary, - one needs people like Chris Harman, he should be read with an open mind, - maybe a few barriers will be broken. Like Howard Zinn has done for Peoples history of the United States,
and the critics Eurocentrism , like A.G. Frank, K.Pomeranz and J.M.Blaut have done , they attempt to break down the traditional view of history too often dominant in the West. Hommage to the alternative mind ! So, Harman should be considered a "must" .
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Format: Paperback
I found that this book was a lucid and objective account of history, which puts the pieces of the jigsaw together and in the right context. Parents should ensure that their children read this book after reading it themselves.
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Chris Harman offers a very readable, general history of human societies from a Marxist perspective.

Obviously, such an account has far greater breadth than depth. However, it excels at introducing the reader to any particular region or historical period, and provides a coherent argument for explaining the development of world history.
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What an amazing book! I am not a historian or an academic, just interested in history. This book is so readable and easy to understand, but at the same time it has complex ideas which it explains clearly without being simplistic. I recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
The other reviews hone in on the leftist interpretation which the author most definetly takes.
(Some feel this is the major strength and of course others the major weakness)
For me the book's strength lay in how the author succinctly explains almost all the key events in 'recent history',
and also how some major events are given much more attention than they do in other similar works eg the Spanish Civil war, French revolution.
However if it is an indepth understanding of major historical events you want then this book is not ideal and
this is why I describe it as a very good reference book.
Also if your looking for alot of info. on ancient history it would be best to seek out something else.
This book concentrates much more on the medieval and modern periods so the title is a little misleading.

Overall - it is a v good reference book and beats the hell out of wikepedia as a reference point
(the latter seems to be where more and more people are getting their (inaccurate) knowledge these days)
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Best history book workers history ,not the so called good and great ,read learn enjoy
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