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A Very Short History Of The World

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  355 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Tells the story of the world's people. It begins before human beings moved out of Africa to explore and settle the other continents. It is a story of the inhabited world being pulled apart, and of it coming together again in centuries. It recreates human experience in varied forms, describing human life at both its grandest and domestic levels. ...more
492 pages
Published (first published 2004)
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Zarish Fatima
Now this book was a pure and complete disappointment.
As far a history books are concerned this did not even came close to a good read. Of course it was informative but it was more biased then informative. For someone who has some prior knowledge would be completely enraged like i was the reason i even finished this book was to see how far would the writer take this or would he try to d some justice he did not.
The book has 3 parts. This book starts from the theory of Darwinism. Understandable b
I'm going to be meeting Geoffrey Blainey in a few weeks, supposedly to discuss this book. I don't know how well known he is outside Australia (if at all), but for better or for worse, he's pretty much the foremost historian in this country.

To the general public, he's mainly well known for writing A Short History of the World (of which this is, I think, an abridged version) and A Short History of the Twenty-First Century, both of which I have read and enjoyed.

So anyway, all this begs the questi
Sep 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This book is very nicely written. It seems an almost impossible task - to condense the entire history of the world into one small book of less than 450 pages (not including the references and index). It is a good attempt, but didn't quite work for me. It focusses very much on general concepts and trying to give a picture of how life was for people at different stages of human history. I had the feeling of a real expert, who was telling me what he thought I (as a relative history novice) need to ...more
Kristine Morris
Every high school student should have to read this. Gives a great understanding of the history of the different cultures and gives you a good foundation to explore in more detail some of the topics he covers.

Because this is an abridgement I did find some references to things that he had not explained (obviously those section were cut out), but that was rare.

Enjoyed reading the book very much!
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be engaging and readable. And it definitely helped me piece together the complex puzzle that is human history. As a Christian, I loved the chapter on Jesus. Even when a secular historian (I think?) writes about him, he is utterly compelling.
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was ok
It skips the vast majority of geological time.

But a good few chapters dedicated to the emergence of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths and how they've become what they are today.

Given up on this. Will try reading it again some time soon!
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like most history books, this book does a wonderful job of weaving a consistent and logical narrative around the past events, but that acute observation and understanding disappears in the last few chapters during the discussion of of contemporary geo-political and technological trends, where the author sounds a little out of touch (like most historians).

I really appreciated the effort to abridge the content. Due to that condensation of material, the book has ended up with extremely rich content
Jed Richardson
Glad I took my time with this book.

For those looking for an overview of history, who aren't exactly sure what era they'd like to dive deeper into, this is perfect. It was very interesting seeing the entirety of human history progressing in such a storied way.
Could have done without the chapters on imports and exports/trade being back to back. It was interesting stuff, but a lot of it became monotonous when listed back to back.

I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone though.
Apr 07, 2020 added it
Shelves: books-i-own, 2020
Gifted by granddad after I found it in his book shelf. This book has given me several new perspectives when studying for history class.
Ashutosh Mehndiratta
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best attempts at narrating world history. Blainey's writing is engaging and witty at the same time. ...more
Cathal Aherne
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Covers a vast swathe of civilisations through out time.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting but too academic for me. I was lucky to get through more than a couple of pages without falling asleep. If that was the "Very Short" version I can't imagine the "Short" yet as I read in someone else's review, there were bits glossed over, bits I'll just have to go look up more, including more recent reading. (Geoffrey gives a great reading list but it's already a decade behind times) ...more
Alec Ritchie
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a condensed version of a book called 'A Short History Of The World' by the same author; something I realised after googling Blainey half-way through reading. Blainey is a talented writer, the way he weaves history into a narrative is really something special, and although there is a lot missing (both world wars are handled in one chapter! can you imagine!?), it was a pleasure to read.

A lot has been made of the so-called 'history wars', with certain historians proclaiming the 'Black-armb
Sep 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone even slightly interested in history
Shelves: featuredbook
Condensed from his already brief Short History of the World, this is a terrific book, one of the most consistently interesting and entertaining I’ve read in years. Blainey does an amazing job of squeezing the history of human life on this planet into 450 small pages.

Faced with a task of condensation on this scale, Blainey tends to focus on trends instead of events, but he succeeded in keeping my interest where others (e.g., William McNeill) have failed. He manages to shift from the specific to t
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book does what it says it does: provides a very brief overview of the history of the human race and its most ardent endeavours. Of course, being so general, many topics are barely touched upon or not even mentioned, but that is to be expected considering the utter vastness of human history, and the limit of 500 pages.

This is an excellent and gripping text, and is a good starting point for novices to world history, and even those (like myself) who know tid bits but seek to join the dots. Alt
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
I can forgive the author his somewhat questionable prioritisation over the course of the book - squeezing the entirety of human history into less than 500 pages is a challenge. What I can't forgive are the regular factual inaccuracies. The dates of Augustus Caesar's reign, Constantine's father's name, Sputnik 3's payload - if I recognised these mistakes from my limited historical knowledge, how could I trust any other facts this book stated? ...more
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book does exactly as Blainey states it will: it gives a very broad overview of human history, told in a very engaging narrative. Of course it cannot touch on every event that has occurred, or even come close to that in 450 pages, but it is a very interesting read and provides a good stepping stone towards having a greater understanding of why the world is the way it is today, and to further reading on the topics that interest the reader the most.
Tony Hollingsworth
This book is a great introduction to the history of the world - from prehistoric times through to the 21st century, Professor Blainey explains how we have evolved and made our way in the world. It provides a great starting point for further research, as most areas of world history are only briefly touched on, but well researched.
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is not a typical book I would read but it was really cool especially for someone like me who can't remember anything she learned in history class. Totally recommend it except for those who already know all their history (I'm thinking of you, Ann). Some of the facts blew me away and some just made me remember what I learned in third grade which are cooler to know now. ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know a broad history. It moves geographically very well, taking you from one side of the world to another without huge jumps.

Minus one star because I feel like in some parts, there were things that were missing and the last chapter feels stuck on.
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great novel, I had put this off for a while but Blainey it all very interesting, a few personal

stories and with enough pace to cover most of the topics with out getting boring. Really

pieced together world history for me and now I can focus on particular instances that I

would like to learn more on.
Treena Sengupta
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A brief yet comprehensive shot to the entire mankind history. A difficult task. But author used few dimensions and lens which so aptly fits this story telling. If history interests u, this is certainly your book!
Luca Ferrarini
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I surely am not an expert historian. Maybe if I was one I would have commented negatively as others have done. Instead, I have enjoyed this book very much. It guides through century of history without becoming heavy and allowing you to follow connections.
Tony Goriainoff
Oct 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Thought provoking and yet easy to read. A lot of concepts verbalised in a very straightforward way.

A joy to read if you like books which make you think a little bit.
Mar 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tgibson02 by: Carly
I just love history, so I just loved reading this book...
Jun 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
um, yeah. anyone interested in history should pick this one up. very well written, "very" being the key word. ...more
Thu Trang
With this book, the lengthy story of the earth seems much more enjoyable :) It feels like reading bed-time stories to me ^^
Jun 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Although facts and phases are developed awfully fast, this book brings some interesting historical information. People who don't know much about history should love this. ...more
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
A little dry and very simple, but a nice overview of history and how the progress of different civilizations relate through time.
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Was not what I thought it would be. Its a bit fictionally written, but still interesting.
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Geoffrey Blainey, one of Australia's most eminent historians, was appointed the foundation Chancellor of the University of Ballarat (UB) in 1993 after an illustrious career at the University of Melbourne. He was installed as UB Chancellor in December 1994 and continued until 1998. The Blainey Auditorium at the Mt Helen Campus of UB is named in his honour. Blainey, always a keen exponent of librari ...more

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