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A Little History of the World

A Little History of the World

Hardback

By (author) Ernst H. Gombrich, Illustrated by Clifford Harper, Translated by Caroline Mustill

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  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 218mm x 30mm | 499g
  • Publication date: 13 October 2005
  • Publication City/Country: New Haven
  • ISBN 10: 0300108834
  • ISBN 13: 9780300108835
  • Edition statement: Reprint, Translation
  • Illustrations note: 60 b&w illustrations
  • Sales rank: 34,603

Product description

E. H. Gombrich's bestselling history of the world for young readers tells the story of mankind from the Stone Age to the atomic bomb, focusing not on small detail but on the sweep of human experience, the extent of human achievement, and the depth of its frailty. The product of a generous and humane sensibility, this timeless account makes intelligible the full span of human history. In forty concise chapters, Gombrich tells the story of man from the stone age to the atomic bomb. In between emerges a colorful picture of wars and conquests, grand works of art, and the spread and limitations of science. This is a text dominated not by dates and facts, but by the sweep of mankind's experience across the centuries, a guide to humanity's achievements and an acute witness to its frailties.

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Author information

Among E. H. GOMBRICH's many writings are the international bestsellers The Story of Art and Art and Illusion. He was director of the Warburg Institute of the University of London from 1959 to 1976.

Review quote

"Imagine the full story of human habitation on our planet being told in such flowing prose that you want to read it out loud. If you can't imagine that, read A Little History of the World and experience it!"-Patricia S. Schroeder, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers and Former U.S. Representative from Colorado -- Patricia S. Schroeder 7. "The true fairy tale of the evolution of mankind."-Die Zeit Die Zeit "This 'little history' has aged amazingly well." New York Times Book Review "Witty, clear-eyed and humane, tells the sweeping story of humankind in 40 short and fascinating chapters ..."- Susie Wilde, The News & Observer -- Susie Wilde The News & Observer "Gombrich accomplishes what many university-level Western Civilization classes cannot-a riveting account of events that shaped the world from the Stone Age to the 1930s, illustrating the relevance of history to current events. Teachers and schools should add this to their reading lists."-Claire Martin, The Denver Post -- Claire Martin The Denver Post "A beautifully concise volume [that] will remind readers of any age that the past 5,000 years have been one big slugfest between darkness and enlightenment, unreason and reason."-Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times -- Mary Ann Gwinn Seattle Times "Magical, transporting... A children's history that adults will want to sneak off with and read on the sly." -VeryShortList.com VeryShortList.com

Editorial reviews

A lovely, lively historical survey that takes in Neanderthals, Hohenzollerns and just about everything in between. In 1935, Viennese publisher Walter Neurath approached Gombrich, who would go on to write the canonical, bestselling Story of Art, to translate a history textbook for young readers. Gombrich volunteered that he could do better than the authors, and Neurath accepted the challenge, provided that a completed manuscript was on his desk in six weeks. This book, available in English for the first time, is the happy result. Gombrich is an engaging narrator whose explanations are charming if sometimes vague. (Take the kid-friendly definition of truffles: "Truffles," he says, "are a very rare and special sort of mushroom." End of lesson.) Among the subjects covered are Julius Caesar (who, Gombrich exults, was able to dictate two letters simultaneously without getting confused), Charlemagne, the American Civil War, Karl Marx, the Paris Commune and Kaiser Wilhelm. As he does, he offers mostly gentle but pointed moralizing about the past, observing, for instance, that the Spanish conquest of Mexico required courage and cunning but was "so appalling, and so shaming to us Europeans that I would rather not say anything more about it," and urging his young readers to consider that perhaps not all factory owners were as vile as Marx portrayed them to be, even though the good owners "against their conscience and their natural instincts, often found themselves treating their workers in the same way"-which is to say, badly. Conversational, sometimes playful-not the sort of book that would survive vetting by school-system censors these days, but a fine conception and summarizing of the world's checkered past for young and old. (Kirkus Reviews)