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A Short History of the World (ebook)

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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  455 ratings  ·  73 reviews
A Short History of the World relates the history of our world from the Big Bang to the present day. The book’s aim is not to come up with ground-breaking new theories on why things occurred but rather to give a broad overview of the generally accepted version of events so that non-historians will feel less embarrassed about their lack of historical knowledge when discussin ...more
ebook, Revised edition, 173 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Crux Publishing (first published December 20th 2011)
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Ron
An interesting concept--condensing human history into 150 pages of readable prose--but unevenly executed. First, the positives. Lascelles correctly focused more space on recent history as that tends to be neglected in public schools and imperfectly understood by the populous. Also, his writing is readable, if opinionated, even sarcastic. Words like "unfortunately", "inevitable" and "needlessly" betray his approach.

On the negative, Lascelles wasted space on pre-history, confused facts, and accent
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Melisende d'Outremer
Wonderfully concise and yet still informative narrative of the key points in history. An excellent first read for all budding historians without all the lengthy hyperbole of some stodgy tomes. Highly recommended.
Hal
This book on a short history of the world overall was well constructed and read easily. Though I am not a history buff per se I am always interested in how history impacts our lives today and maybe get some insight as to what is in store. Christopher Lascelles related this past in an interesting way and for me shed light on what seems to be constants in our past that will probably dictate our future. The themes seem to be power, war, religion, and economics.

As the book moves right along being a
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Emily
Full disclosure: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads program.

As someone with an interest in history and maybe a slightly better than average knowledge basis, I was excited and nervous to read this book. I was excited to fill in gaps in my knowledge but nervous that the book would gloss over or super-simplify things or not keep my interest. But the book really was everything it promised to be: "succinct yet broad." The book provided a good jumping off point for topics that
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Karen
This book doesn't quite deserve 4 stars but I think it's better than its current average goodreads rating of 3.52. It's a condensed history of world that attempts to hit all the major events and people and put them in context with each other.

It's certainly not perfect: other reviews note some important missed topics and even with my only cursory knowledge of history I noticed a few inaccuracies (e.g., saying that Henry the VIII's roving eye fell on Anne Boleyn "soon" after his marriage to Cathe
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Katheryn
Not bad. The book was quick and informative, with attempts to be truly global in its reach (although it did not reach my academic specialization, 20th-century Brazil). On the other hand, the book's historiography was far too Whig for my liking: the Protestant Reformation was portrayed as a Good Thing, for example. A good enough book for beginners if they realize that history can be interpreted a myriad of ways: Lascelles' version is far from being the only correct way to see world history.
JulieLaLa
This is THE history book everyone should read! It does exactly as its title implies, it's a brilliant, short history of the world and it is full of information. It touches on nearly all subjects, continents, peoples, leaders, events, etc... that everyone should know about, but it does so in an easy, likeable way, not like some stodgy, professor who has been teaching/droning history for years. This book is a great introduction to the world: it educates and entertains!
Kat Fieler
a world history lesson, but it's a short book: and in an amazingly small text Lascelles grabs historically significant people and places and tells you how they tie together. Very well written - surprisingly interesting - easy to read. My only complaint is that the maps were hard to see on my Kindle and couldn't be enlarged. But that's a function of my Kindle and not the author's fault.
Stephen Parrish
I'm a history buff. I was skeptical when I bought this book, and I did so mostly out of curiosity. How do you condense millennia of complicated human history into so short a space? The author did it by leaving out inessential details, by focusing on the critical events, their causal agents and consequences. You wouldn't read this book to prepare for an exam on, say, the fall of the Roman Empire or the discovery of the New World, but you would read it to learn, or refresh, the gist of such topics ...more
Steve
I have long been fascinated by history. In elementary school it was pretty much just memorizing certain dates and names in order to pass the weekly quiz and exams, but in high school the actual events and their causes began to hold my interest. I actually have a double under-grad degree in History & Social Science, so I spent a lot of hours reading and hearing lectures on the events that took place in Europe, Asia and the Americas for thousands of years. Sadly, there really wasn't much taugh ...more
Jan Rychter
The book is OK if you set your expectations right. It's a *SHORT* history of the world, so it necessarily has to skip over lots of material. I applaud the author for the effort: few books manage to condense so much into so little.

Things I didn't like:

* grammatical mistakes and typos: way too many, even on maps,

* the "What's Next" chapter doesn't belong in a history book and should be removed from future editions.

I still think it is a good value if you just want to quickly extend your knowledge.
dsneaks

I received A Short History of the World by Christopher Lascelles for free from the author. Lascelles’ book is an interesting one that puts the history of the world in perspective. Often when a person is learning history they learn it in pieces and the pieces that you learn don't fall into place in a neat little package of how history made the world into what it is today. This book does that; it takes the important events of history and puts them together to show how they are interconnected and a
...more
Stephanie
It is a short history, the book is small and short. One thing he did very well was bringing history together in one place coinciding one area of the world with what was happening in another area of the world. He mentions in his introduction that he learned all this history, but couldn't always connect the dots...ahh, so this was happening here and at the same time, this was happening over there. I like making those connections myself.
However, I do feel the book is lacking. Clearly he is an Engl
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Ali
Compressing world history so nicely into so few pages is a real achievement. I learned a lot. The style was comfortable and the maps were lovely. I'm much more aware and more interested than I was when I started reading.

I've dropped a star because (1) this work would benefit from being proofread, (2) while there are plenty of footnotes, there aren't a whole lot of distinct cited sources, and (3) I feel just a few things were whitewashed. (For instance: There were plenty of death counts for other
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Susan Ashcraft
A Short History of the World is a very well written account of world history from the start of the planet (the Big Band theory) to the events of the 20th century and ending with what we can expect from the near future in terms of our natural resources and the world's population.

The book flows easily and clearly through all phases of world history. It gives short, concise details and moves on to the next chapter. This is a history book that anyone, whether you're a history buff or someone just wa
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Anna Berendzen
This is an amazing history book. It is very concise but keeps you well informed about what was going on from the start of the world to today, including minor sections for explaining the religions going on through the times. I was amazed about how it connected past events to what was going in the next section and showed the relationships of the different countries in each era making a good flowing read.

I've read history textbooks for school before and often they give a lot of "fluff" details and
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Martin Tengelin
Great and interesting read! Good to get some perspective on the times we live in now and the challenges we face. As the author ends with: "Many previous societies have collapsed from over- exploiting their own resources. This is exactly what we are doing now, but on a much larger, global scale. We know the problems that we are storing up for ourselves, but our constant short- term approach and lack of political will to make unpopular decisions mean that we do nothing about it. We live in a state ...more
Walter Herrick
A very nice, concise story of the world. Easily flows down through history and is interesting the whole time. Unfortunately it is marred by the author's bias towards environmentalism and how the earth needs to be saved yadda yadda yadda.. give me a break
Layne
This book accomplishes exactly what the author explains is his goal in the preface: to provide a broad overview of the key developments and events in the history of mankind. I enjoyed reading it, especially learning all of the different stories I did not know before. Reading quickly through all the historical time periods helped me to see better how all the parts of history fit together. I'm sure I will use it as a reference in the future.

This book sticks to the mainstream, generally accepted hi
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Tony Raissian
Super condensed history of the world. I found it very insightful to see the change in quick, broad strokes. Not only did fill in knowledge gaps of important people and places, it showcased patterns of humanity that repeat themselves over and over again.
Richard
I enjoyed reading this book very much. It does cover the whole of world history and gave me a appreciation of what different groups of people have contributed to the world over time. Not just what has happened in the past 200 to 300 years.

The things I liked about this book:
** The author has an easy to read writing style
** Superb maps throughout the text. Not just one or two, either, but lots! They are very good at supporting the text.
** The sheer vastness of ground the author covers

The author
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Cynthia Baue
Excellent

An excellent review of history. Learned some new things and remembered what I have learned in the past. This book is a keeper to go back to time and again and refresh.
Daniel Stewart
A Good Short History

I enjoyed this concise History of the world. It made me realize how much I don't know about History and nicely demonstrates how things in history tie together.
Greg
Perhaps the worst history I've ever read. This book felt like a series of poorly written school essays rather than and sort of comprehensive summary of history. The author, to his credit, acknowledges that this is not a work of original scholarship; but that doesn't absolve him of his sins.

What we have is largely a return the the "great man" model of history. Names and dates fly about with a breezy brevity. Inane footnotes (some of which duplicate text found in the body) demonstrate a lack of ef
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Krista Ravenscraft
A good pithy summary that managed to avoid taking sides on most of
the controversial events - especially helpful if your world history is a little lacking or your class didn't get very far during the semester.
Becky
Very good, SHORT history of the world. But, for being so short (only 114 pages!) it really did an excellent job covering WORLD history. I particularly enjoyed how it moved from one topic/region to another- very nice tie ins to the different histories.
Overall, it seemed to skip over the Americas and the modern history was certainly not so strong, but I follow the rule that history is not really history until 2-3 generations have passed so I wasn't expecting the modern parts to be as objective as
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Michael
Summary of the history of the world, just as the title says. Good if you want a refresher and don't want, or need, to get into too many details.
Jackson Winn
Great

Great read. I learned so much about the history off the world in this book, and it's entertaining with no boredom. If you want to get a grasp on solid and to the point history,I recommend this book.
Dee Renee  Chesnut
This book was free when I downloaded it to my Nook. The purpose of writing this book was "...to condense the generally accepted mainstream view into a simplified linear whole." At only 173 pages, the reader should not expect more than summaries of epochs and eras.
This book goes beyond the history covered in my mostly-forgotten, last history of western Civilization class with chapters about eastern Asia, the middle East, and parts of African history.
I recommend it to casual readers of history.
...more
Lisa Valentine
I received this book from Goodreads and it has got to be the best history book I have ever read. Mr. Lascelles takes us through time from the Big Band all the way to the Communist scare. He does this by touching upon most of the most important eras and events.

Each era is broken down into the most important events that took place. I now feel I know the history of the human race much more indepth. And the sections are short and interesting. The maps are made so you actually see where the events h
...more
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Born in 1971, Christopher Lascelles studied modern languages and history at St Andrews University in Scotland. After graduating, he spent four years living in Russia, working for a publishing house in a period of unrest during which he saw Moscow surrounded by army tanks. Leaving Russia just before the new millennium, he studied business at INSEAD Business School in France before returning to Engl ...more
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