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A Short History of the World

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,106 ratings  ·  120 reviews
This is the paperback edition of the ebook (ISBN 9780957111615)
The paperback will be available in all good bookshops in the UK from 01 October 2012.

See ebook link for full description.

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Paperback, 3rd Edition, 165 pages
Published February 29th 2012 by Crux Publishing (first published December 20th 2011)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,106 ratings  ·  120 reviews

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Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook, history, maps
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
Chris Steeden
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘…It aims to give a short and succinct yet broad overview of the key developments and events in the history of mankind in a way that is, I hope, enlightening and interesting’.

Lascelles starts off with prehistory from the Big Bang to the rise of the Homo Sapiens. Then into civilization with Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt and Greece. The book then flits between the Romans, Europe, Middle East and China with the birth of Christianity and Islam. Onwards, chronologically we go.

The difficulty, I presume,
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Kat Fieler
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Melisende d'Outremer
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks, history, reviewed
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.
Oct 26, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Shannon Paul
The generous third star is awarded to the excellent narrator of the audio book version.

I realize that Mr. Lascelles had to pick and choose his events to create a “short history” but he left out an entire continent and gave short shrift to others. This book would have been better titled “A short history of the world as told by a white man”.

Benjamin Wilson
Dec 27, 2015 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.
Julissa Dantes-castillo
Very well structured
It covered most of human history in a short and concise way, very interesting to see where did humans turn their fate throughout the history.
Susan Ashcraft
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Anna Berendzen
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Mike Sternad
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, brief history of the WHOLE world

While dubious at first of the author's ability to describe even the highlights of the entire planet, I ended up being very impressed of how he identified the critical path events and do it in a concise manner. While there is much that got left behind, this discourse provides an excellent overview from which the reader can decide where to delve into grater depths. I would recommend to all to help develop a better understanding of what was going on in dif
Katherine Hunter
May 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, reviewed
A short history of the world must pick and choose what is important. The author does try and move outside the European-centric history which is all the history education I ever received in school. I appreciate trying to get a more balanced view of the world but to me there seemed to be a marked Anglophile bias in the presentation. Major events are missing, inaccuracies show up. I thought it was a good overview, the writing was straightforward. I thought it was an okay book.
Aug 24, 2012 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Wanda
Wanda says: "There are maps - 32 of them! I am swooning. Click on Read Book and read it on your computer, iPhone or tablet. Fun! "

Who can resist that?
Edwin Lowe
A Great, Well Written, Short History Book!!!

Review Written 01/29/2019

It is likely that since the dawn of the 20th Century world history class was, for many young students, their least favorite class. Generally history is taught in an episodic, fragmentary fashion, leaving students with a lifelong lack of understanding as to how each part relates to the whole. Add to this bad teaching, the proliferation of dates few can hope to remember, and places with foreign names that few can visualize there
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Review of the Audiobook

Published by Tantor Audio in 2016.
Read by Guy Bethell.
Duration: 7 hours, 20 minutes.

The entire history of the world is less than 7 and 1/2 hours? Yep, that's what Christopher Lascelles purports to offer in his A Short History of the World . He acknowledges that this is not a complete history - he never intended it to be. Instead, his aim is to connect some of the dots that the average reader may have picked up in history class, movies and History Channel docu
Scott Jones
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad overview for the general reader, but he does skip around quite a bit. It makes it harder to follow the progression. He writes well, but usually history is easier to read if things are a bit more linear. (-1 star)

Also, he takes every opportunity to push some kind of agenda for environmentalism (bad fossil fuels, global warming, etc.). That would be fine in other contexts but I don't prefer that in what is a very brief 'history' book. (-1 star)

Also, while there are some errors and errone
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An ambitious, but useful and brisk read, taking us from pre-history to the 2010s.

The story is inevitably told in broad strokes; of constant wars of conquest between monarchistic empires and regional power-blocs. As the tale moves towards the present day, one is reminded, however, that any historian is dealing with interpretation and opinion as much as with objective fact.

Still, one comes away with the reassuring idea that repressive regimes inevitably doom themselves (even if it takes a century
Matt Cromartie
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up because I've been listening to a lot of history podcasts lately (Hardcore History FTW!) which tend to focus on one period/era or one event and I want to know how they fit into the context of world history. How long before WWI were the Napoleonic wars? When was the Roman Empire spreading across Europe? Where does the Biblical narrative fit in with history of ancient Babylon and the Achaemenid Persian Empire? This book doesn't go very deep into any one time period, but it giv ...more
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This little book delivered exactly what I wanted - a synopsis of the history of man. Good read and easy to follow. I disagree with other reviewers that the author needed to add more depth. Given the book touches on every part of human existence, trying to add detail would have made the book long, tedious and boring.

I knocked a star off as the author decided at the end to swerve from history to contemporary political rhetoric. I care about the author's view of history but I don't care about his c
Chuck Miller
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found Lascelles' abbreviated world history an enjoyable read and a good refresher on all the history classes I sat through as a child and young adult. I didn't agree with everything in the book, especially as it relates to some of his opinions and the final "What's Next" segment on how the climate may affect future history. Overall, however, it's a great "shortened account" of man's past up through current events. It's definitely a recommended read for anyone seeking to know more about the eve ...more
V. William Turkus
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You get what you pay for

Was indeed as advertised. A short history of the world. Unfortunately the world history is but one stupid event after another. Lust for power and domination of each other and it will never be any different. Mankind will always be inhuman to mankind for personal gain.
Gerard E. Trigo
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fairly good if necessarily overly simplified history of the world. The major complaint is his acceptance as factual some events that most modern Archaeologists feel are mythical, such as the Exodus tale in the Bible.
Ken Gabler
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid summary of the major episodes of world history

Concise description of world events; interesting and engaging synopsis. Lascelles does interject some personal feelings though to characterize various events.

May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent one volume history

This is a decent book. Not quite informative to be a text book, but for those with a casual interest in history, no it's a good starting point. It will show a casual reader where they can go to learn more about the topics within.
Harry Van Winkle
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very Enjoyable

I really enjoyed this book, informative but not preachy, an Everyman’s read, I learned stuff I should have known all along.
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Christopher Lascelles studied modern languages and history at St Andrews University in Scotland. His first book, A Short History of the World, became a New York Times and Amazon bestseller and was translated into seven languages. He is currently writing A Short History of the Future. He lives in London with his wife and daughter. Visit
“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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