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The Penguin History of the World

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  175 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Since its publication twenty years ago, J. M. Roberts's monumental History of the World has remained the "unrivaled World History of our day" (A. J. P. Taylor), selling more than a quarter of a million copies worldwide. Now in an equally masterful performance, Roberts displays his consummate skills of exposition in telling the tale of the European continent, from its Neoli ...more
Kindle Edition, Sixth Edition, 1189 pages
Published March 28th 2013 by Penguin (first published January 1st 1995)
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John Tracy Cunningham
May 09, 2014 John Tracy Cunningham rated it it was amazing
If you're looking for a good, once-over-the-world history, this is it. In 1200 (Kindle) pages, Roberts stays at a high level, begins very early, ends in 2011, and covers all cultures with worldwide impact. Equivalent, I would say, to a course in world history. I've been holding off reading other history until I finished this. Now I think I can press on, having in mind, more or less, the overall context.
Apr 17, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that I read this book in increments over 13 months -- I could have read it in 12, but I took this February off because I was getting wearied by the tome. If you read 3 1/4 pp per day, you will finish this book in a year. If you don't--if you read it like a normal-sized book, I think the sheer mass of it will make you throw in the towel fairly soon. But 3 1/4 pp are manageable.

It's hard not to give a magisterial volume like this 5 stars. I like
Jason Coleman
Jun 29, 2013 Jason Coleman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although Roberts revised this work through several editions, right up to his death in 2003, it was originally written in 1976, so I'd guess some readers would find parts of it old-fashioned (I really can't say, I don't read much history), but for the most part the book should connect with the modern reader. Roberts possesses the main quality such an undertaking would require—a superbly comprehensive mind—plus an eye for those game-changing things upon which history pivots, whether it's the stirr ...more
Jun 24, 2016 Sean rated it liked it
This is a long book. I don't remember when I started reading it. I don't even remember much of anything in the book that's more than about 300 pages back. But I remember enough to say that this is a world history that's well worth reading. It's a tome that's worth diving into and putting in the time, covering every aspect of world history in a single (albeit ponderous) volume. It's also worth nothing that Asian history is not overlooked. Roberts makes the point that while our world culture is cl ...more
David Balfour
Jun 24, 2016 David Balfour rated it it was amazing
The single most informative book I've ever read. I feel like I've learned a lot more from this than my degree in International Relations. While I'm already forgetting most of the thousands upon thousands of specific facts mentioned, I feel like it's provided a good sense of scale, context and continuity for other things I learn in future.
Jan 15, 2016 Moses rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is a great book for anyone who would like to have a overview of the history of the world.
Author gave very good summary of the key events, people in different time period and different region.

When i read this, I seems to be transported to the past.
Although I don't remember the names and dates, it gave me an appreciation of history.

I learnt that civilisation that have written records tend to build upon what they have learnt and improve, and grow. After reading this book, I am not
Samuel  Rodríguez
Apr 11, 2016 Samuel Rodríguez rated it really liked it
Como es lógico, en 1200 páginas no cabe toda la historia del mundo. Sin embargo, el autor es consciente de ello y se concentra más en cómo evolucionan las sociedades, las formas de vida, las mentalidades... Es más un viaje por la evolución del ser humano que un relato sobre hechos históricos. Y teniendo esto en cuenta, hay que decir que cumple sobradamente su propósito.
Feb 12, 2015 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
How do you write a history of the whole world in a one-volume book that gives a comprehensive picture of the major people, places, and events, that have shaped the world as we know it? John Roberts has done it in The Penguin History of the World. By his constant focus on “the general, the major, and the essential” (Kindle Loc. 192) Roberts presents world history as an unfolding story showing how each part relates to and develops the others. The book is divided by major eras and then into the peo ...more
Jul 25, 2016 Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inevitably Euro-centric, but still valuable. Text length just shy of 1,200 pages. Took me a couple of months, but worth it.

The writing style is very British.
Sep 01, 2015 Dave rated it really liked it
An extraordinary tour de force but still from a western European perspective. It would be interesting to see what changes would result if the next co-author came from an Indian, Chinese or Islamic background.
Brad Rousse
Dec 28, 2014 Brad Rousse rated it it was amazing
An excellent, highly readable but in depth overview of human history from our evolutionary beginnings to approx. the year 2012 or so. The book focuses on the broader themes of culture, society, and trends that shaped the world to the present, arguing a Eurocentric perspective while saying its actions in WWII doomed the continent's dominance. Roberts' original text has been updated tastefully and thoughtfully by Westad, adding new detail and breadth to the story. While there is a noticeable shift ...more
Ilker Ozbilek
Sep 20, 2015 Ilker Ozbilek rated it really liked it
Apart from the missing bibliography, a fine piece of narrative.
Jesse Liberty
Sep 01, 2016 Jesse Liberty rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing; incredibly well written, very comprehensive and gripping (yes, like a good novel). Be sure to get the latest edition.
Amanda Thompson
Jul 13, 2016 Amanda Thompson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academic-reads
I didn't read the whole thing since it was used for a class instead of pleasure but I like the way this textbook is set up.
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John Morris Roberts, CBE, was a British historian, with significant published works. From 1979-1985 he was Vice Chancellor of the University of Southampton, and from 1985-1994, Warden of Merton College, Oxford. He was also well known as the author and presenter of the BBC TV series The Triumph of the West (1985).
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