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A Short History of the World (ebook)

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3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  728 Ratings  ·  92 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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(showing 1-30 of 2,192)
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Ron
Sep 13, 2015 Ron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, maps, ebook
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
...more
Karen
Nov 03, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Katheryn
Aug 26, 2012 Katheryn rated it liked it
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.
Melisende d'Outremer
Mar 21, 2012 Melisende d'Outremer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ebooks
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
Oct 28, 2012 Hal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Emily
Mar 30, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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JulieLaLa
May 25, 2012 JulieLaLa rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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
Mar 13, 2014 Kat Fieler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Benjamin Wilson
Jan 16, 2016 Benjamin Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible book - very captivating, and the only history book I've read written in a sequential format making it easy to see where major events in history tie into one another.
Lbousson
Dec 02, 2015 Lbousson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
A Short History of the World - Christopher Lascelles

Started Nov. 25 ended Dec. 1.

Don’t be deceived by the page count of this book (150+ pages.) I thought this would be a good, quick book to get through. It is not! Not say that it isn't a fairly good read. It is, (except for a few quibbles, which I will address later.) However, this book is dense with the information presented. It is not meant to be set down and read in one or two evening. (Unless of course you are a student in college, or some s
...more
Ahmet Yavuz
It is worth reading. This book gives "Great History". It is significant to see the large picture...
Victoria Leo
Ok on relatively modern history

..... but the first chapters are just plain awful. My anthropology and bio 101 students could tell him the a species name isn't capitalized, we stopped call humans Man quite some time ago, human ancestors are hominins not hominids and he actually cited creationism like its not a stupid joke. The geology mistakes, the astronomy mistakes. And dont get me started on Homo erectus which was NOT the first hominin to walk fully erect. Just the species name, from b back wh
...more
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 Chaput
Jun 18, 2014 Steve Chaput rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Matthew Chan
Jul 26, 2016 Matthew Chan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel author did a pretty commendable job at giving us a very brief overview of human history. The problem with the book is that it is so condensed, it is at times challenging to follow the flow of events and track significant figures in history. Also, the book is much heavily focused on recent history which is understandable given we have much more info and insight on current history. I think this is a good primer/intro on general world history or for anyone interested in learning more about h ...more
Nikolaos
Jun 07, 2016 Nikolaos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent summary of the documented human history, this concise guide left me wanting more. Although brief and, occasionally, politically charged, this is an excellent read for those who have not been in touch with history for a long time or ever.

I also highly recommend it as a cautionary tale for the events to unravel in the coming years. Shifts in the global power balance instigate unavoidable clashes and a world ruled by the Darwinian Law chooses extremism over modesty more frequently tha
...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
Aug 01, 2012 dsneaks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
...more
Ali
Jun 22, 2015 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Susan Ashcraft
Apr 07, 2012 Susan Ashcraft rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
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
...more
Anna Berendzen
Jul 23, 2012 Anna Berendzen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
...more
Nicholas
Jul 07, 2015 Nicholas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good and concise tour through the major events which have shaped the world we live.

My only grumble is 50% of the book until the 18th century seems a bit unbalanced, I understand the lack of thorough and concrete evidence for before the 13th century period but would have liked to see more theoretic conclusions or more of the available information for the medieval age.
Richard D. Miller
Apr 13, 2016 Richard D. Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Readers Digest" Version of a book comes to mind.

This is the Wickapida of the history of the world. Which is not a bad thing. I think the author almost always concentrated on wars, and not going into all the good things that have happened in the worlds millenia?
Martin Tengelin
May 01, 2015 Martin Tengelin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 13, 2014 Walter Herrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 21, 2013 Layne rated it really liked it
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
...more
Tony Raissian
Feb 27, 2015 Tony Raissian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 06, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
John Pitcock
Just what I wanted

The title says what to expect and it delivered. It shows us that nothing has really changed, even though everything has changed. The adage of repeating history continues on....
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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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“As William Bernstein describes in ‘A Splendid Exchange’, ‘The Arabs, invigorated by their conquests, experienced a cultural renaissance that extended to many fields; the era’s greatest literature, art, mathematics, and astronomy was not found in Rome, Constantinople, or Paris, but in Damascus, Baghdad and Cordova.” 1 likes
“Spain was also determined to stamp out any free thought or intellectual activity that might challenge Catholicism. With this aim, books were banned,76 students were forbidden to study abroad, and any foreign thought was, by its very nature, unwelcome.” 0 likes
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