A Short History of the World (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 25 May 2000
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About the Author
Often called the father of science fiction, British author Herbert George (H. G.) Wells literary works are notable for being some of the first titles of the science fiction genre, and include such famed titles as The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and The Invisible Man. Despite being fixedly associated with science fiction, Wells wrote extensively in other genres and on many subjects, including history, society and politics, and was heavily influenced by Darwinism. His first book, Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought, offered predictions about what technology and society would look like in the year 2000, many of which have proven accurate. Wells went on to pen over fifty novels, numerous non-fiction books, and dozens of short stories. His legacy has had an overwhelming influence on science fiction, popular culture, and even on technological and scientific innovation. Wells died in 1946 at the age of 79. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
read about Alexander the Great and Attila the Hun. It's a springboard to further reading, but enough information to give you perspective. One of the most treasured books on my shelf.
Of course, there are sweeping generalisations, periods of history passed over in a blink of the eye and parts of the globe barely mentioned. And yes, sometimes the author's own views intrude, particularly when he is dealing with more recent periods. Moreover, and perhaps inevitably this is a largely Eurocentric version of history. In fairness, however, Wells makes a point of showing how different races and parts of the world have excelled across the epochs; and in particular he attacks the then (the book was first published in 1922) prevalent assumption that Europeans were somehow inherently superior to everyone else.
As importantly, the need for brevity forces a focus on the impact on human history of ideas, cultures and technology (and indeed, on how those three interact one with the other) and shows how they (and not the transitory excitements of politics) are drivers of change.
This broad view makes the book interesting and thought provoking; it is also remarkably prescient. For example, Wells highlights the need for European countries to combine if Europe is not to tear itself apart, and hints at the potential of a modernised China. Unfortunately there are one or two factual errors; and I cannot forbear from mentioning one of those: Adam Smith is described as an English economist - he was, of course, Scottish.
Nonetheless, although written almost 90 years ago, there is plenty in this book that is relevant today, and it is well worth a read.
When it came to my O'levels (GCSE's), I was given the choice of History or Geography; looking back I think it was unfortunate that I chose Geography.
I stumbled across an earlier version of this book about 30 years ago and have never looked back. For me it made the subject so interesting and accessible. The read is absolutely captivating and you really won't want to put it down once you've started.
Obviously because of the author, the book only goes up to around the time of WWII. If you enjoy this book as much I have then you may wish to expand your knowledge with dynamite read by "J.M. Roberts" called "The New Penguin History of the World".
Both of these books are classics, or certainly will be and really ought to be in pride of place in all school book library history sections if not on each student's desk during history lessons!! Essential reading and fantastic reference for any history buff.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was originally written in 1922 from an evolutionist perspective, at a time when the fraud of Piltdown Man was considered scientific fact that 'proved' that man descended... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting: the history written in 1922, soon after the delusion of WWI, but with the hope of russian socialism. Read morePublished on 13 Feb. 2014 by GraD
I actually found this a difficult read, and I struggled to finish it.
Other people have rated it highly so perhaps it's just wasn't for me
Found a first edition of this which I lost some years ago in a second hand shop in Hexham, sadly now closed. Read morePublished on 30 May 2013 by JJH
If you are interested in History, let's face it you probably read it already. For everyone else, this is a must! Read morePublished on 30 Jan. 2011 by Cyrill