A Short History of the World

  • by Christopher Lascelles
  • Narrated by Guy Bethell
  • 7 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

There is an increasing realization that our knowledge of world history - and how it all fits together - is far from perfect. Here, Christopher Lascelles aims to fill the big gaps in our historical knowledge with a book that is easy to follow and assumes little prior knowledge of past events. He doesn't aim to come up with groundbreaking new theories on why things occurred but rather gives a broad overview of the generally accepted version of events so that nonhistorians will feel less ignorant when discussing the past.
While this book explores world history from the big bang to the present day, it principally covers key people, events, and empires since the dawn of the first civilizations in and around 3500 BC. Epic in scope but refreshingly concise, A Short History of the World is an excellent place to start to bring your historical knowledge up to scratch.

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What the Critics Say

"A clearly written, remarkably comprehensive guide to the greatest story on Earth - man's journey from the earliest times to the modern day. Highly recommended." (Dan Jones, author of The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England)
"All of history in a little over seven hours? Christopher Lascelles's gem of compression, elegantly read by Guy Bethell in what sounds like the voice of Father Time himself, is like a fresh coat of paint in a badly lit room." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Apt introduction to World's History

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes.For someone like myself who can be deemed as a nascent reader/listener of world's history, it gives a good understanding of the all the important historical milestones. Knowing when and how things played out in this world and learning about your own heritage certainly makes you feel good.


What other book might you compare A Short History of the World to and why?

Not sure


Any additional comments?

I should say this book details at large about the social, religious, imperial, political events of history. This book does not go into details of scientific inventions/discoveries that changed the understanding of the world. It is very brief on scientific and philosophical and literary milestones of the history.

I enjoyed the prehistoric period a lot and honestly was left wishing for more information about this period. I was hooked on to it but all good things come to an end. I felt that the book delves into a lot of unwanted details of the post renaissance period and it got quite dry and boring for a while there.

Christopher Lascelles, the author writes the western/European events in a extraneous details compared to the eastern and south east Asian historical events. I got lost in keeping track of the 20 different Charleses and Jameses of Europe and the different popes. While there was very less information about eastern empires and emperors of subcontinent of India and other southeast Asian countries. I have reduced one star only because of this.

Don’t get me wrong though, he does a good job in tying together the western and eastern historical events together under one timeline, even the ones that occurred independently. At times I did feel the author jumping forward and back on the timeline making it a tad difficult to keep up with the progress, but it is not a big deal a second listen/read of those chapters will make that problem go away I feel.

Guy Bethell, the narrator does a great job. Keeps you interested in the subject all along and his mildly coarse but definitive voice keeps you involved. He narrates at a very good and comfortable pace. Even though English is my second language I did not have to rewind and replay as much as I do on certain books narrated by others.

I must say I enjoyed listening to the book. It gives great understanding of how things played out in the past and made sense of our current state of living. This sort of knowledge itself is kind of uplifting.

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- rpluss

The world's war history gets highlighted

When wars are highlighted, the book becomes depressing. Some will say that this is reality, but there was also an under emphasizing of thought movements that shaped the issues. What of cultural forces, revolutionizing technologies and the advancements in trade. This is a good book for a historical overview, but its subjects are unbalanced.
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- Will

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-27-2016
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio