A History of the World in 100 Objects
This book takes a dramatically original approach to the history of humanity, using objects which previous civilisations have left behind them, often accidentally, as prisms through which we can explore past worlds and the lives of the men and women who lived in them. The book's range is enormous. It begins with one of the earliest surviving objects made by human hands, a chopping tool from the Olduvai gorge in Africa, and ends with an object from the 21st century which represents the world we live in today. Neil MacGregor's aim is not simply to describe these remarkable things, but to show us their significance - how a stone pillar tells us about a great Indian emperor preaching tolerance to his people, how Spanish pieces of eight tell us about the beginning of a global currency or how an early Victorian tea-set tells us about the impact of empire. Each chapter immerses the reader in a past civilisation accompanied by an exceptionally well-informed guide. Seen through this lens, history is a kaleidoscope - shifting, interconnected, constantly surprising, and shaping our world today in ways that most of us have never imagined. An intellectual and visual feast, it is one of the most engrossing and unusual history books published in years.
- Hardback | 736 pages
- 142 x 204 x 50mm | 1,102.22g
- 06 Oct 2011
- Penguin Books Ltd
- ALLEN LANE
- London, United Kingdom
- col. Illustrations
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 *
About Neil MacGregor
Neil MacGregor was Director of the National Gallery, London from 1987 to 2002 and of the British Museum from 2002 to 2015. His previous books include A History of the World in 100 Objects, Shakespeare's Restless World and Germany: Memories of a Nation, all available in Penguin and now between them translated into more than a dozen languages. For his work on the BBC Radio 4 series, British Museum exhibition and book Germany: Memories of a Nation, he was awarded (in Germany) the Friedrich Gundolf Prize, the Goethe Medal and the German National Prize and (in the UK) the British Academy's Nayef Al-Radhan Prize for Transcultural Understanding. In 2010, he was made a member of the Order of Merit, the UK's highest civil honour. He is now Chair of the Steering Committee of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin.