Zack's Reviews > A Little History of the World

A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich
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Aug 02, 2010

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bookshelves: read-in-2010
Read from August 02 to 17, 2010

"A Little History of the World" delivers...that is, if by "Little" you mean simplified for young-ish readers, and by "The World" you mean Europe. Yes, it's accessible and memorable and is a good way to introduce kids to the Great-Canonical-Western-History-whatever, and yes, since our culture today is, in large part, a point on the line of Western/Modern Culture that extends back to the Greeks, etc., it's helpful to have a primer in all these stories and people and developments to be a culturally literate person, but...

...But Gombrich also almost completely ignores all people of colour, at best placing them in the stereotypical "wise old Eastern sage" role in the case of the Chinese and Indians. The author is generally quick to point out instances in which white folks have used their technology and marketing power to greedily and unfairly expand their territorial domains where they didn't belong, but really...okay, literary merit aside, maybe I've knocked off a star because of the title. If it were "A Little History of Europe," I'd be much more forgiving. But writing ANY history is such a biased and politically charged act, and the tendency for white people to claim that European history is the same as World History kind of sticks in my craw.

So yes, maybe good for children to read...but only along with a few other texts or museum visits to, hopefully, get across that this is ONE person's view on only SOME of the important events of world history...and a quaint, creaky view, too.

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