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A History of the World in 100 Objects Hardcover – 6 Oct 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 336 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 6 Oct 2011
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; 01 edition (6 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846145112
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846145117
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 4.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (336 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

A History of the World in 100 Objects ... has been a triumph: hugely popular, and rightly lauded as one of the most effective and intellectually ambitious initiatives in the making of 'public history' for many decades. (John Adamson Sunday Telegraph )

Highly intelligent, delightfully written and utterly absorbing (Timothy Clifford Spectator )

Allen Lane has done Mr MacGregor proud... The objects have been beautifully photographed, Mr MacGregor's voice comes through distinctively and his arguments about the interconnectedness of disparate societies through the ages are all the stronger for the detail afforded by extra space. A book to savour and start over (Economist )

This is a story book, vivid and witty, shining with insights, connections, shocks and delights (Gillian Reynolds Daily Telegraph )

The style is authentic, personal and humorous. MacGregor could not have skewered our pretensions better...Look on our works, ye mighty, and despair (Andrew Roberts Financial Times )

Brilliant, engagingly written, deeply researched (Mary Beard Guardian )

Book Description

The landmark BBC Radio 4 series that tells the story of humanity through 100 man-made objects from the British Museum's unique collection. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent, very informative and accessible. Found it a great companion on visits to the British Museum, bringing the chosen exhibits to life in terms of detail and context.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent research on techniques as well as historical background.

An essential book of reference.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Neil macgregor should never have been allowed to leave the museum or England.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Better than expected! Delightful!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I loved the Radio programme when it was first aired, although I didn't hear every episode. I am sure like a lot of people I would delay leaving the car, just to listen to the daily edition.
The podcasts are still available, together with images of the objects themselves on the BBC website. Hopefully they will remain accessible for a very long time.
So why do I need this book? Firstly, I certainly find it easier to take in detail by reading, rather than just hearing. The original Radio shows painted a general impression of the objects, the book gives you a chance to read about them or study them in a far more leisured way, and gives small pictures of each object by each written exploration. I often listened to the radio shows and wished I could see a picture.
This leads on to the second reason for the book, despite having easy access to the internet (even on my phone). It is not always there, maybe I'm out of coverage or on holiday. So it is not always easy to see the images from the internet. Neither do I always have access to podcasts or the radio.
Thirdly it is so much easier to share, which leads on to my last reason, serendipity. Today my teenage daughter just picked up the book, dipped in and found something of interest, she probably wouldn't have bothered to go to the website, but books are so easy just to dip into.
I would highly recommend this as a book to dip into, and find out something new. To leave lying around for others to encounter; and most crucially for us all to learn about the richness of human history from all around the world, recorded in our objects.
The only thing to do next is maybe visit the British Museum to see the objects themselves.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Neil McGregor's original radio series (from which this book derives) must have been a tough pitch: a 100-part documentary series about *objects* that the audience won't be able to see. Doesn't sound that promising! And yet it was a fantastic achievement. But it was crying out for a book. Of course, hardback was the obvious medium for such a treasure trove - but having it in paperback now makes it much more useful for any wanting to make good use of the British Museum itself (for the initial parameter of the concept was that everything had to be in the archives or on display).

Inevitably, the quality of the b/w images for each item is not going to be as high as in the hardback version - but there are still a number of colour plates which do their job well. For better quality images, it is worth checking out the BBC/BritishMuseum website for images and the original programmes (with their great music by Steven Faux).

But the greatest value in having this book is Neil McGregor's prose. It is informative, witty and full of insight. It is a perfect book to dip into in idle moments, or to work systematically through. But however it is read, it is nothing less than a pure joy and delight.
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Format: Hardcover
If I had to choose only one medium in which to explore these 100 objects then I'd choose the radio series over this book - all 100 podcasts are still available for free at the time of writing - this may not last. They are superb! Of course we are now in the fortunate position of having access to those and this beautifully produced book as well and it certainly compliments the series. Some criticisms have been raised that the book has pictures of the 100 objects, on the basis that radio listeners preferred to imagine what they look like, but as they have always been available on the BBC website if you cared to look, I think this is a positive addition and they definitely add to the overall experience of this book.

There is no doubt that this is going to be a succesful book and any popularity granted to such an erudite work is to be welcomed but I have to say that some of the writing appears a bit dry and, well the only word I can think of is, worthy. Without the narration of the various experts on the radio series I think the life goes out of some of these stories.

That is a minor quibble though and will prove a matter of taste but otherwise this is still a fine book and destined to become a "classic", especially if the BBC have their way. If you only had one history book to choose this Christmas, I'd go for Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey but why not splash out and get this one as well, especially at the bargain Amazon price.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book exactly as described. Quick delivery. No problems
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