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Cartoon History of the Universe II, Vol. 8-13: From the Springtime of China to the Fall of Rome

(Cartoon History of the Universe #book II; vol. 8-13)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,736 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Here's a new installment of the phenomenal bestseller that Publishers Weekly selected as one of the twelve graphic books of all time. Spanning ages and continents from Ancient India to Rome and China in A.D. 600, Volume II is hip, funny, and full of info.

B & W illustrations.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 18th 1994 by Three Rivers Press (CA)
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Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've read this book before, a long, long time ago, but my brother-in-law, Josh, didn't know that when he bought it for me for my birthday. What he did know is that I own (and love) The Cartoon History of the Universe I (especially for its cartoon depiction of the process of evolution), so this was a good bet, and even though I'd read it before, I devoured it fairly quickly after receiving it.

The subtitle of this book is From the Springtime of China to the Fall of Rome, and it is primarily about
Adih Respati
The comic almost-version of Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. MIT's Mathematican Gonick tells all: From Big Bang, evolution, religion, modern civilization. For newbies, this is introduction. Those familiar with the subjects will find Gonick's sense of humor is deeply symbollic and accurate.

If you notice, no english edition of this book available at any local bookstore. That said something about Gramedia's distribution policy.
Young Kim
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is a brilliant comic book series, and it's really comical all throughout the series.

The author makes history fun!

It is interesting that the author's a mathematician, and this wise man tells us that history is like mathematics with cause and effect, input and outcome, in his witty images and languages.

I guarantee the readers won't be disappointed.
There's really no excuse for there not being a lot more books in this genre. Get to it, publishing community!
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Oh, the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire done entirely in cartoons! There is a lot of action packed into this volume, featuring major developments in both Eastern and Western history.

Gonick really has a gift for drawing the history of religions in a factual and dispassionate way, which is no small feat during these years of religiously based turmoil. His touch for including fascinating details (like the word decimate actually coming from the Roman slaughter of every tenth person in Greece)
Hmm. Cool idea, actually - a history of everything in graphic novel form - though this volume at least doesn't deserve to be called a history of the universe since it's focused on human civilization on one puny planet. Still, it was interesting. Lots of detail for a fairly quick read, not much of which I retained.
At first I expected it to be the sort of thing that one could give to a kid to introduce them to history, but later on it became clear that no, one could not. The kid would have some...
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
You could definitely find less engaging ways to learn about ancient India (whose story and culture is related mainly though mythic and religious texts), ancient China (whose story benefits from having lots and lots of official historians) and Rome up to the time of Christ (whose story is related through an even mixture of both). Gonick does a good job of portraying Christ as an even balance between angry political dissident, radical lifestyle advocate and cryptic spiritual guide. I'm sure that's ...more
Lisa Feld
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: boston
I really enjoyed this whirlwind tour of world history, particularly the "World" part: serious, in-depth attention paid to India's and China's political history and religious traditions. The opening chapter on India was particularly good: a clear grounding in the ancient civilizations, the rise of the caste system, and the development of Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The sections on Rome and the rise of Christianity were solid as well. But I was frustrated by the chapters on China--I felt lost i ...more
Dec 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Very, very good book. However, if one is an ardent Christian, the section on Jesus may possibly offend. But then again, if one is willing to poke fun at oneself's own beliefs, it's quite funny. Again, as I said of the previous volume, I got this back in Middle School. It's a very good read and much of it is very well researched. One thing I like about Larry Gonick is that he tends to cite from primary sources, rather than someone else's research. This means that reading this, the reader will get ...more
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Gonick's illustrated overviews of history are just exceptional. I have never laughed so much while learning so much. I go back and read these every so often both as a refresher on history and because they are so entertaining. Vol II deals with the rise and fall of several empires in China, as well as the rise and fall of the Roman empire. It ends just as the Roman empire collapses. The comparison of the two empires at opposite ends of the known world is very interesting. After reading about all ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The second installment of Larry Gonick's Cartoon History captures much of the same successes as the first collection. These volumes once again cover a large amount of material (China, India, and European human history) in a short and digestible format. It should act as an entertaining primer for the casual reader who has minimal historical knowledge - even those more familiar should still find the summaries to be both comical and informative.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gonick is the man. I could never get into the China parts though and feel guilty about it. I'm not sure if it's the subject matter or the fact that he had to go so quickly. Good overall though.
Joy Gatewood
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A pleasant and amusing way to learn about very important stuff. This book is a great way to sneak history into your child's diet. Read them yourself and learn all those things that you missed or were never taught at all in school. Highly recommended. Nice to know that Jacqueline Onassis was the editor and that Gilbert Shelton, creator of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers was a big fan and gave these books their names.
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
I enjoyed this, but it was so busy. Everything moved so fast and they were trying to be so comprehensive I feel like I was still missing a lot and trying to cram too much in.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Continuing from Volumes 1- 7,, 8 to 13 continued my easy journey into the History of the Universe.
Andika Lesmana
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
India. China. Rome. Funny. Advancely informative. Hail Gonick.
Harold Ogle
May 17, 2014 rated it liked it
I've always enjoyed this series, but I'd only ever read volume 1, which I bought probably twenty years ago. So I was delighted to see this in the library and checked it out on impulse.

My reaction with this volume - as we get into more of the history of nations than the first volume - is that it would have greatly benefited from a different format. It is limited by the fact that it was published first as separate issues in a series; possibly more than any other conversion of a comic series to a "
Bharat Ghinaiya
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this cartoon series, while randomly browsing in library. I read the few pages of this book and brought it home for further reading in leisure time. After reading in a little further at home, I realized that this book is super informative and there are total 3 volumes in this series. I immediately reserved other two parts in library for future reading.

Larry Gonick came up with this book series in 1994, that both children and adults can enjoy and gain knowledge with such ease. I can imagin
Sep 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
My favorite entry in this series, in part because most of the material covered -- ancient Chinese history; early Indian "history" -- was completely new to me. The stories he includes are fascinating, particularly the rise of China. I also loved the perennial theme of Indian history as one where so many people were seeking explanations to the universe, our place in it, the cosmic questions. And how history believes these many explorations into the spiritual realm may have come about. This book is ...more
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
(This is in addition to what I said in my review of the first volume; everything I said there also applies to this one.)

I found reading the section on India somewhat more difficult than the others, because Gonick hasn't spared ancient Indian history his trademark humour or wit. I'm not used to seeing figures and ideas considered sacred in the Indian subcontinent treated without a certain amount of care or sacredness, and that was utterly novel.

I can understand why the devoutly religious would be
The second volume of the Cartoon History of the Universe is much harder to follow than the first Cartoon History of the Universe. Gonick is having to cover too much ground, and it doesn't flow as easily as the earlier history. I looked forward to the China section since I knew nothing of Chinese history, but for those reasons, I had trouble following it. When the Cartoon History returned to the Romans it was better and easier to follow, but Gonick's attempt to compress all of the history into on ...more
Jan 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
It appears I can't learn history even in charming cartoon form... I had a good time reading this (and Book 1, which I technically finished before 1/1 so I'm not adding it), but I had frankly no idea what was going on most of the time. Book 1's depictions of the beginning of life, the dinosaurs, and the rise of mammals were much easier to follow... once human affairs come in in a big way, it becomes difficult to distill things into simple comic form. Not to mention the difficulty of reconciling h ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic
The Cartoon History of the Universe, II: Vol.8-13, From the Springtime of China to the Fall of Rome by Larry Gonick actually begins in India, where we left Alexander the Great in retreat at the end of volume I. From the archaeology of the Dravidian cities and records of the Aryan invaders to the Hindu classics and the life of the Buddha, we move to the Far East. The rise of the Chinese empire is followed by western history from Babylon to Rome. Gonick gives the battle after battle routines lots ...more
Another great book like it's predecessor in my opinion. The first 7 volumes were mild in my opinion in terms of potentially objectionable material. I have to admit that the next set does tend to be more graphic and (especially for the more religious reader) definitely more edgy. I am not bothered by the author's portrayal of the life and ministry of Jesus, but some might. Be warned. There is also an increase in sexual references and violence overall. Still, I find these books to be thoroughly en ...more
nanina ninana
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Baru baca sampai no.2.. Love it! Awalnya saya nggak suka sejarah. Too many places, names, and dates of years to remember. Tapi kan saya tetap ingin tahu segala hal yang pernah terjadi di dunia ini. Hal-hal hebat, kejadian-kejadian yang menentukan masa depan (*di masa kini), dan yang paling menarik, somehow history is like a fairy tale in a reality world. SO, i read it and i found that i love to read history in a comical scenes... :p

Recommended to give it to your nieces/nephews! :)
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This really is a spectacular series. In all honesty, I got a bit bogged down in the China sections of this volume. It's a very comprehensive book, but it certainly helps to have some basic knowledge of events to start with - I got a lot more out of the parts on Ancient Greece, Rome and the rise of Christianity. Nevertheless, highly recommended to anyone who wants to know about everything that ever happened on our little planet. On to volume 3!
Anita Williamson
Feb 12, 2015 rated it liked it
I really could care less to go into such depth into chinese history but the chinese probably feel the same way about western history. The author had a tremendous disdain for religion, particularly Christianity. He should have treated the religious figures with more respect, considering it is a cartoon history some silliness is allowed but I felt like he crossed the line with his depiction of Christ.
This Volume 8-13 got me all riled up!! Its not the supposed-to-be-funny digs at Hinduism, ancient India, Buddhism, Ashoka and Buddha so far, because an trying to be all objective and rational about this. Its the factual inaccuracies that's getting to me!! What terrible editing!! Look at the last panel towards right - prime Minister in South India??? Really? For a book published in 1990, this is terrible!!!
Jun 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
This actually is a world history book and definitely worth reading. Lots of stuff about China, lots about the middle east, not just the usual Roman empire stuff, even though there is a fair chunk of that as well.

If you want to get a sense of world history (and the history of world religions), this is probably a good place to start.
Jul 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
fascinating to read, and full of groaners and some sacrilegious humor. At least he pokes fun at everybody and doesn't leave anyone unscathed. You wouldn't want to use this as your only source for history, but it might make you aware of some things for further research. It's very complete for a cartoon synopsis of history. I'd say it's meaty; there's a lot in it.
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Larry Gonick (born 1946) is a cartoonist best known for The Cartoon History of the Universe, a history of the world in comic book form, which he has been publishing in installments since 1977. He has also written The Cartoon History of the United States, and he has adapted the format for a series of co-written guidebooks on other subjects, beginning with The Cartoon Guide to Genetics in 1983. The ...more

Other books in the series

Cartoon History of the Universe (3 books)
  • Cartoon History of the Universe I, Vol. 1-7: From the Big Bang to Alexander the Great
  • The Cartoon History of the Universe III: From the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance

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