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A History of the Twentieth Century: The Concise Edition of the Acclaimed World History

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  171 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Martin Gilbert, author of the multivolume biography of Winston Churchill and other brilliant works of history, chronicles world events year by year, from the dawn of aviation to the flourishing technology age, taking us through World War I to the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt as president of the United States and Hider as chancellor of Germany. He continues on to docu ...more
Paperback, 832 pages
Published December 17th 2002 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published November 5th 1997)
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Should be renamed "A One-Sided, Biased and Selective History of The Twentieth Century".

First of all I listened to the audiobook version of the book, which wasn't bad.

What was bad, was how the book was written. The author seemed to me like an amateur. Its okay with me if you present your own (naturally, biased) view of the world, we are all biased in our own ways, and to different degrees. My problem, is when you become selective of what you write, and what you don't. My problem is when you only
Covering the an entire century in 800 pages necessarily forces a certain selection and brevity. However, read this and you will get a flavor of the last century. It should dispel any romantic notions that it was "the best of times".
Jun 12, 2012 Dan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
i went looking for a big, epic twentieth century survey and this delivered the goods. despite its scope and intimidating length, it's pretty engaging throughout. i listened to the audio version (30 plus hours!) which was great - kind of like tuning in to BBC radio, only hearing news about WWI or something.

this is totally one of those books that attempts to present history as something linear, conventional and "neutral." the linearity is actually its great strength (much as the embattled avant-ga
Bryana Johnson
I started off thinking I was going to love this book, but found myself growing increasingly irritated by Gilbert’s obvious bias in favor of a central world governing system and disturbed at times by his naiveté regarding late 20th century foreign policy. While I didn’t come away feeling like I had both sides of all of the stories, I did appreciate the sheer volume of numbers the man was able to cram into the text in a reverent and respectful way that I felt portrayed well the appalling suffering ...more
I will admit that I did not read all of this with the attention that it probably deserved. There were a couple of section that I completely skipped: 1933-1945, really, as I do not have to teach that period and that's really why I was reading it! But I really like the style overall - it shows that it's a condensing of three volumes, but still it manages to give an idea of what's happening around the world in each year, and I particularly appreciated that it included events in India, countries in ...more
Informative yes, comprehensive yes. A perfect reference book, but you can't afford to read a polarised book in an increasingly fragmented world. Going through the events, one realises how so much of twentieth century was bloody, including the minor events that are so forgotten now from collective consciousness, say the British acquisition of Tibet, Japanese naval victory over Russia 1904 etc.

Full marks for effort but the content is embarrassingly western centric. Do keep salt beside the table.
Jan 04, 2009 Frightful_elk rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Frightful_elk by: Kevin
Shelves: history
This book presents a broad yet concise history from 1900-1933. The first of three books which aim to give scope to the entire twentieth century. It's an ambitious project and I'm sure much can be found in the way of criticism, but it provides invaluable insight and understanding into events of recent history. I found much in here to broaden and deepen my understanding of familiar events, and even more that was completely new to me. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in history, more espec ...more
Certainly a tour de force of knowledge, but also a litany of death verging on the monotonous. The bare recital of what happened and how folly continued to march throughout the century leaves the reader missing some analysis, some interpretation of causality etc. Then again it is itself fascinating to read a concise edition that is only 900 pages
John Paul
It is like sitting in a fast moving car, staring out the window... driving past so many major events, catching brief glimpses of the glorious and mostly tragic, but never getting a closer look into the "hows" and "whys".
not the concise edition, but Vol. 2 of 1,000 pages - I picked out only the European front to get a real sense of the strategy/tactics and place the geography correctly after reading 4 of Alllan Furst's novels.
I thought this book was very interesting. It took me a while to get through it, but it was helpful to go thorugh the histry of the world in chronological order.
Jul 18, 2011 Liz marked it as to-read
Shelves: history, postponed
I had to return this to the library before I finished it (or really, before I even got started) - I will definitely be checking it out again.
Vitor Teixeira
Jan 28, 2014 Vitor Teixeira is currently reading it
It's an important and interesting book but you shouldn't take only this side of the story...
Rocky Dahiya
A plethora of information - presented chronologically and succinctly.
Bonnie Bittman
Not concise at all!
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Sir Martin John Gilbert was a British historian and Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford. He was the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill and the author of over eighty books, including works on the Holocaust and Jewish history.
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