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Publisher's Summary

E. H. Gombrich's world history, an international best seller now available in English for the first time, is a text dominated not by dates and facts but by the sweep of experience across the centuries, a guide to humanity's achievements, and an acute witness to its frailties.In 40 concise chapters, Gombrich tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the atomic bomb. In between emerges a colorful picture of wars and conquests, grand works of art, and the spread and limitations of science. The product of a generous and humane sensibility, this timeless account makes intelligible the full span of human history for the curious of all ages, but especially children.
Translated by Caroline Mustill.
©1985 DuMont Literatur und Kunst Verlag GmbH und Co. KG, Cologne, Germany. English translation ©2005 Leonie Gombrich; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"A lovely, lively historical survey....A fine conception and summarizing of the world's checkered past for young and old." (Kirkus Reviews)
"A remarkable book, written in an amiable, conversational style....This resurrected history deserves reading for all its delights." (The New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By A.B.Oxford on 06-03-06

an enlightening book; very well read

This is currently my favorite audiobook (and I have dozens!). It is an excellent wee book from the author of the more famous and much longer "The Story of Art" - now in its 16th edition! If The Story of Art was written for college students, this one was originally written for school children - although it is more insightful than many adult history books I have read. It is enchanting, educational and extremely entertaining! (can you tell I like adjectives beginning with "e"?!)
It is also read superbly (by Ralph Cosham) at a pace that people of all ages can easily follow.
I therefore thoroughly recommended this book for adults and children alike.
If you want more detail, go for JM Roberts' masterpiece (History of The World) a much longer (54 hour) audiobook that is also an absolute classic - but this "Little History" is the best place to start.

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32 of 32 people found this review helpful


By Tad Davis on 04-17-08

Graceful story, perfect narrator

It's true, as others have said here, that this is mainly a history of the WESTERN world. There's a bit about India and China, mostly in the context of religious history (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism); but it's mostly about the Mediterranean and western and northern Europe. But if you go into it knowing what it is, it's a gem of a book, presenting the history of those areas of the world in a lucid, engaging, and graceful manner. It's particularly useful in emphasizing aspects of European history that many other short histories of the world gloss over or rush through.

Ralph Cosham is the perfect narrator for this, so much so that I kept confusing him in my mind with the author.

A note about that religious history: in the context of an already short book, Gombrich's discussion of non-Western religious traditions is by no means skimpy: it's an outline, but a relaxed and anecdotal outline, and it shows a decidedly sympathetic and open mind.

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22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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