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Esta Breve Historia del Mundo fue escrita para que sea leída casi la misma facilidad que una novela. Relata, de un modo muy general, el estado de nuestro conocimiento actual de la historia; libre de elaboraciones y complicaciones. Ha sido ampliamente ilustrada. Y todo fue elaborado para hacerla vívida y clara. De ella, el lector debería poder obtener aquella visión general Esta Breve Historia del Mundo fue escrita para que sea leída casi la misma facilidad que una novela. Relata, de un modo muy general, el estado de nuestro conocimiento actual de la historia; libre de elaboraciones y complicaciones. Ha sido ampliamente ilustrada. Y todo fue elaborado para hacerla vívida y clara. De ella, el lector debería poder obtener aquella visión general histórica que constituye el andamiaje tan necesario para el estudio de un período particular o la historia especial de un país. Puede ser útil. Como excursión preparatoria, antes de emprender la, lectura del Bosquejo de la Historia, del mismo autor, trabajo mucho más completo y explícito. Pero su finalidad especial es encontrar las necesidades del lector común ocupado, demasiado forzado a estudiar los mapas y la carta del tiempo de aquel Bosquejo en detalle, que desea refrescar y rehacer sus concepciones anticuadas o fragmentarías de la gran aventura de la Humanidad. No es este libro un extracto o condensación de aquella obra anterior. Dentro de su punto de vista, el Bosquejo no admite condensación ulterior. Esta es una historia mucho más generalizada, planeada y escrita de nuevo.


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Esta Breve Historia del Mundo fue escrita para que sea leída casi la misma facilidad que una novela. Relata, de un modo muy general, el estado de nuestro conocimiento actual de la historia; libre de elaboraciones y complicaciones. Ha sido ampliamente ilustrada. Y todo fue elaborado para hacerla vívida y clara. De ella, el lector debería poder obtener aquella visión general Esta Breve Historia del Mundo fue escrita para que sea leída casi la misma facilidad que una novela. Relata, de un modo muy general, el estado de nuestro conocimiento actual de la historia; libre de elaboraciones y complicaciones. Ha sido ampliamente ilustrada. Y todo fue elaborado para hacerla vívida y clara. De ella, el lector debería poder obtener aquella visión general histórica que constituye el andamiaje tan necesario para el estudio de un período particular o la historia especial de un país. Puede ser útil. Como excursión preparatoria, antes de emprender la, lectura del Bosquejo de la Historia, del mismo autor, trabajo mucho más completo y explícito. Pero su finalidad especial es encontrar las necesidades del lector común ocupado, demasiado forzado a estudiar los mapas y la carta del tiempo de aquel Bosquejo en detalle, que desea refrescar y rehacer sus concepciones anticuadas o fragmentarías de la gran aventura de la Humanidad. No es este libro un extracto o condensación de aquella obra anterior. Dentro de su punto de vista, el Bosquejo no admite condensación ulterior. Esta es una historia mucho más generalizada, planeada y escrita de nuevo.

30 review for Breve Historia del Mundo (Sepan Cuantos, #691)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. The God of Righteousness: "A Short History of the World" by H.G. Wells The Giordano Bruno case is interesting. He was a Dominican friar. A minor authority in a minor branch of the Holy Roman Empire Church (or whatever they called it then), so no significant threat to the Pope. Until he started shooting his mouth off, claiming he understood the ways of God better than the top man, whose authority rested entirely on being the closest man If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. The God of Righteousness: "A Short History of the World" by H.G. Wells The Giordano Bruno case is interesting. He was a Dominican friar. A minor authority in a minor branch of the Holy Roman Empire Church (or whatever they called it then), so no significant threat to the Pope. Until he started shooting his mouth off, claiming he understood the ways of God better than the top man, whose authority rested entirely on being the closest man to God on earth. Then he would have to be taken out, mercilessly, I would have thought.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Gibson

    For Kindle users: Almost all of the works of H. G. Wells are available for free. Having realized I haven't read some of them I went on a spree and downloaded a bunch for those in-between times when the next must-read book doesn't seem to be there. This particular Wells book I have read... a few times. And now... again. From the dawn of civilization to the modern era, Wells takes the journey of civilization (and pre-civilization -- the first few chapters of the book cover geology and evolution). T For Kindle users: Almost all of the works of H. G. Wells are available for free. Having realized I haven't read some of them I went on a spree and downloaded a bunch for those in-between times when the next must-read book doesn't seem to be there. This particular Wells book I have read... a few times. And now... again. From the dawn of civilization to the modern era, Wells takes the journey of civilization (and pre-civilization -- the first few chapters of the book cover geology and evolution). This tome, and if ever a volume merited the word this is it, carries you along the way with Alexander, Persian Kings, Khans, Crusaders, Chinese Emperors, Popes, French Citizens, Tsars, and Kaisers. The sweep of characters, times and places includes a wonderful vista of history, all together and seen in relation to its entirety. I carried this book around in my college days because I found it refreshing reading. It made me laugh—scratch my head—challenge the facts—and pick up some info along the way. This was so much more interesting than any other history textbooks I had come across along my educational way. Yes, it's dated. Yes, it's slanted. H. G. Wells is very Victorian in his ethics. His politics were Socialist so you will find a distinct undercurrent for a socialist world government driving the story along. He is as un-Eurocentric as you could expect for the time: Europe and the Middle East take up the majority of the book, China and India play the next biggest role, followed distantly by Africa, Australia and the Americas. The flaws are few given the task, the style is immensely readable, and the man who wrote The War of the Worlds, Time Machine, The Invisible Man and the Island of Doctor Moreau knows how to tell a story. Wells had the nerve to take on the World and the world gets a ripping good yarn with Mankind as the hero. You're part of the story; why not read it?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Josh Hamacher

    This book both pleased and disheartened me. On the whole it's a good high-level world history, starting from the formation of the universe and working forward. Some of the science is outdated but this doesn't really detract from the overall narrative. Wells devotes most of the book to Europe but briefly covers other major cultures worldwide. Being a short book there are many gaps and huge periods are covered with a few sentences. I found the coverage overall fair and surprisingly progressive (bein This book both pleased and disheartened me. On the whole it's a good high-level world history, starting from the formation of the universe and working forward. Some of the science is outdated but this doesn't really detract from the overall narrative. Wells devotes most of the book to Europe but briefly covers other major cultures worldwide. Being a short book there are many gaps and huge periods are covered with a few sentences. I found the coverage overall fair and surprisingly progressive (being unfamiliar with Wells' politics, perhaps this should have been expected). He does insert some commentary but keeps this to a minimum. I've seen some reviewers complain about Wells' praise of socialism, but given that many of the world's most advanced nations have embraced socialism to a certain extent I see this more as impressive prescience. So what did I find disheartening? How so many views haven't changed since Wells' time. For example, he ridicules those who believe the bible as literal truth since it so obviously isn't. He also is very offended by the belief that one race is naturally superior to any other; Europe's ascendancy is merely a temporary situation brought about by circumstances, not by inherent ability. Yet nearly a century later, both of those beliefs are still discouragingly common.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sanjay Gautam

    I loved this one! In 400 pages he has done what others can't do in 2000 pages. HG Wells wrote this book, as was his aim, for the masses, for he believed that this world will become a better place to live in - if people are better informed of its history. And, needless to say, this book has been inspirational to me. It changed my perspective with which I used to view the world. And it also has changed my view of Wells' writing. There was not any dull moment throughout the book. Wells' erudition s I loved this one! In 400 pages he has done what others can't do in 2000 pages. HG Wells wrote this book, as was his aim, for the masses, for he believed that this world will become a better place to live in - if people are better informed of its history. And, needless to say, this book has been inspirational to me. It changed my perspective with which I used to view the world. And it also has changed my view of Wells' writing. There was not any dull moment throughout the book. Wells' erudition shines through his writing, and I was further motivated, because of him, to read more of world history - I read 'Glimpses of world history' by Jawaharlal Nehru - to gain a better understanding of our world and our place in it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    uh8myzen

    This is by no means an in depth history of the world and is certainly outdated, however it is a fascinating read and there are still many interesting things to be learned from it. As a student of history myself, I enjoy reading historical texts written in other time periods for a number of reasons, but the most relevant and interesting to me is what such a text can teach you about the time in which it is written, in this case Victorian England. There is much information to be gleaned about the E This is by no means an in depth history of the world and is certainly outdated, however it is a fascinating read and there are still many interesting things to be learned from it. As a student of history myself, I enjoy reading historical texts written in other time periods for a number of reasons, but the most relevant and interesting to me is what such a text can teach you about the time in which it is written, in this case Victorian England. There is much information to be gleaned about the England that Wells inhabited even when he is discussing other historical periods. The cliche "History is told by the victors" is very true, but it is also told in voice of the teller. That is to say, history is a very "political" endeavor, always hued in whatever colours the teller favours. A United Empire Loyalist writes a very different account of the American Revolution than a revolutionary patriot. A Darwinist sees a different origin of our species than a Christian and so different events will have differing significance to each. Everything from our politics to our religion combine with our place and period to taint the histories we encounter which means the way histories are told can give us remarkable insight into the people telling it. Give this book a read if you are a fan of history, HG Wells or Victorian England. It is a very fascinating read in my opinion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aliya

    Being a history buff, I had been on a lookout for a tome on world history from pre-history to atleast the twentieth century. I read a National Geographic publication, a Simon & Schuster Micropedia of world history as well as a Reader's Digest publication. I had another two similar titles on my book shelf, when I stumbled upon this title, while reviewing the Micropedia on GR. This is perhaps the most intelligent and the least biased account of world history, that one may find coming from a western Being a history buff, I had been on a lookout for a tome on world history from pre-history to atleast the twentieth century. I read a National Geographic publication, a Simon & Schuster Micropedia of world history as well as a Reader's Digest publication. I had another two similar titles on my book shelf, when I stumbled upon this title, while reviewing the Micropedia on GR. This is perhaps the most intelligent and the least biased account of world history, that one may find coming from a western writer. H.G Wells penned this in the 1920's, a time when the sun never set on the British empire. The confidence owing to his origin from an imperial culture at it's peak, is only crowned by the impartiality of his account. Wells probably authored this as a labor of love, which is why it is missing the usual western biases, shown by authors of a century later. He lacks the intellectual dishonesty of the western academics, which discredits Islamic contribution during the period termed as the Christian middle ages. Wells, too, does not give full credit and in places, seems heavily biased, but he does give some space to the Islamic world's intellectual, social and scientific contributions to the world. I found the book interesting on many levels. Students of comparative religion, would find his account of ancient history particularly engaging and even eye opening. His stance on Christianity, has a socialist and intellectual leaning, but nonetheless he is partial towards the Christian world, if not towards Christianity. I think I will be re-reading this book to get a clear perspective of our world, as it developed. I would suggest this book to any student of history and anthropology. I have no hesitation in stating that this is perhaps one of the most profound books that I have read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    José Cruz Parker

    A short work of breathtaking scope where H. G. Wells covers everything from the origins of mankind up to the post-World War I scenario. Wells is truly a master of concision: in such a brief book he manages to give the reader a glimpse into the most important events of world history. Recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Harshita

    This book is brilliant! I used to think that H. G. Wells was good at writing science fiction (which was way ahead of his times even then) but after reading this book i realized that he knew his history very well. Let me start by explaining how I came to read this book. I had recently developed an interest in history and was discussing it with my uncle who has graduated in history. Naturally i reached a point where i got lost and confused. I asked him to explain the comparative history of differen This book is brilliant! I used to think that H. G. Wells was good at writing science fiction (which was way ahead of his times even then) but after reading this book i realized that he knew his history very well. Let me start by explaining how I came to read this book. I had recently developed an interest in history and was discussing it with my uncle who has graduated in history. Naturally i reached a point where i got lost and confused. I asked him to explain the comparative history of different regions and the overall timeline of different empires as well. He directed me to this book. This book is about the political history of man. It starts off with the big bang. Considering that it was written around 1940s when people didn't know the exact age of the universe and the earth some of the facts are a bit off from today's standards. But I am not blaming Mr Wells for that! The first few chapters are dedicated to the origin of life and the different ages. Then we come to the origin of man and that is where my interest began. Our history is written in such a simple and engaging manner that I couldn't put it down once i started it. I forgot all about meals and sleep because as soon as I would finish a chapter I wanted to know what happened next. This book is basically about Asia, Europe and North Africa. I guess at that time very little was known about the history of the rest of the world. But this history is presented in a very unprejudiced and clear manner. Mr. Wells does not shy away from calling the early Europeans 'barbarians' and crediting the Jews with the advent of civilization and written history. One of the best aspect of the book is that he tells us about what all was happening all over the world during the same time period. So when he tells us about the Greek civilisation he also writes about what was happening in Asia and the middle east. Plus there are many maps in the book which help us understand what he's talking about. Since politics and religion have always been closely related he describes the spread of religion as well. In fact it came as a surprise to me that the world's oldest mosque is in China! I wonder how many people know that. It is the Huaisheng mosque in Canton http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huaishen... I could go on praising the book but then this review would be too long :P So the book ends around the 1940s and now I am searching for a book which would help me with history since then. But for history before then I would highly recommend this book. Read it if you like history. Read it if you are a history student struggling to understand the relationship between different empires. Read it if you want to understand the how the current religious and political scene came to be. In fact read this book anyway. I read somewhere that truth is far more exciting than fiction and this book comes very close to proving it :) H. G. Wells

  9. 5 out of 5

    AnnaG

    HG Wells wrote a comprehensive history of the world and this is a condensed version published somewhat later. As such, it tends to skip over the details and give big picture sweeps of history and examples rather than exhaustive explanations. I found it interesting and informative with some wry asides and insights into the difference between the industrial revolution and the mechanical revolution that I had not fully appreciated from other world histories. The most illuminating thing about this b HG Wells wrote a comprehensive history of the world and this is a condensed version published somewhat later. As such, it tends to skip over the details and give big picture sweeps of history and examples rather than exhaustive explanations. I found it interesting and informative with some wry asides and insights into the difference between the industrial revolution and the mechanical revolution that I had not fully appreciated from other world histories. The most illuminating thing about this book however is it's ending, after providing extremely prescient views on Socialism which had been partially borne out in Russia by the time of writing, Wells looks to the future. After nearly 200 pages of blood and mayhem and the finest education Britain had to offer at the time, Wells foresees sunlit uplands of world peace and prosperity - hope triumphing over experience. Professionally, I spend my life creating forecasts and watching them be confounded, I have gained significant insight from books such as Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction which show how bad we are at discerning what will come, it's interesting to see even the great thinker of science fiction be just as poor at seeing the future as any of us.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erez Davidi

    Since this work was written in 1922, naturally, it’s outdated. However, it’s not the reason for my displeasure from this short history. Wells starts by covering the possible origins of our world to the classical world up to World War I. He does this by devoting 2-3 pages to each event, which he deems important enough. But 2-3 pages are not nearly enough to cover sufficiently, well, pretty much anything. Reading about ancient Greece, for example, you will learn that Plato founded the Academy in A Since this work was written in 1922, naturally, it’s outdated. However, it’s not the reason for my displeasure from this short history. Wells starts by covering the possible origins of our world to the classical world up to World War I. He does this by devoting 2-3 pages to each event, which he deems important enough. But 2-3 pages are not nearly enough to cover sufficiently, well, pretty much anything. Reading about ancient Greece, for example, you will learn that Plato founded the Academy in Athens and that Aristotle was his student, and on a side note that Aristotle was to become a tutor of Alexander the Great. After I finished reading this work, I felt I did learn a few new things, but only in a very shallow manner without any (even the slightest) deeper understanding. On a more positive note, it’s well written and fairly enjoyable to read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Leander

    Recommended by the great mind Albert Einstein himself, this book still is a valuable piece of information almost a century after its first release. In comparison to H. G. Well’s most successful works coming out of the non-fiction or futuristic genre, “A Short History of the World“ describes what has happened on our beloved planet since the first mammal walked on ground and even the fish before them swam in the waters - and even the composition of space before all of them. In short documentary ch Recommended by the great mind Albert Einstein himself, this book still is a valuable piece of information almost a century after its first release. In comparison to H. G. Well’s most successful works coming out of the non-fiction or futuristic genre, “A Short History of the World“ describes what has happened on our beloved planet since the first mammal walked on ground and even the fish before them swam in the waters - and even the composition of space before all of them. In short documentary chapters Wells sums up the essential occurrences of the most iconic ages of the world (e.g. the Roman and Greek Empires, the Industrial Revolution etc.) with the instinct of a well-crafted author. He keeps the reader interested throughout the whole time and does so by integrating a few rhetorical questions and adding a little wit in his sentences here and there. A lot has happened since the book’s first publication in 1922, World War II and the Cold War for example, but this piece of literature serves as an excellent source of getting a deeper understanding of politics today and in which way they show parallels to that of our ancestors. All in all ‚A Short History of the World’ is a great book to refresh our minds with a bit of basic historical knowledge that tends to be forgotten more and more in our modern busy and troubled minds.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Mattsson

    As a somewhat short read, I've never come away feeling so enlightened. For a book that was published in 1922, reading it was simply astounding. Not because of the science for it is by far, outdated. But instead by ability of Well's to present the world, from start to finish, in such a way that you actually want to read on and learn more(without feeling like you're learning). One of the main things I've come away with is that over the past ninety or so years, we still believe in the same ideals i As a somewhat short read, I've never come away feeling so enlightened. For a book that was published in 1922, reading it was simply astounding. Not because of the science for it is by far, outdated. But instead by ability of Well's to present the world, from start to finish, in such a way that you actually want to read on and learn more(without feeling like you're learning). One of the main things I've come away with is that over the past ninety or so years, we still believe in the same ideals in regards to race, religion and even social standing. All in all, if you're interested on how we came to be where we are now and the thinking that came with it, this is your book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    H.G Wells was a talented writer, making this book an easy read. His take on the history of the world, seen through the eyes of an early 20th century observer, gave me a different point of view of both classical history (Egypt's long history to the Romans)and the development of modern civilization. Most striking is his conclusions about the state of the world following WWI and the possibility of another world-involved conflagration. Since the book was published before WWII, his in sites are parti H.G Wells was a talented writer, making this book an easy read. His take on the history of the world, seen through the eyes of an early 20th century observer, gave me a different point of view of both classical history (Egypt's long history to the Romans)and the development of modern civilization. Most striking is his conclusions about the state of the world following WWI and the possibility of another world-involved conflagration. Since the book was published before WWII, his in sites are particularly interesting.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    For its time, Wells' history of the world (a somewhat ludicrous endeavor) avoids some of the prejudices that plague similar works--the book includes a significant section on prehistory, acknowledges some of the atrocities of imperial rule, and speaks highly of the accomplishments of non-European peoples. It is still highly problematic, not least for its utter non-treatment of women (who appear in three instances: as the property of neolithic men, and in brief references to Queen Elizabeth and Qu For its time, Wells' history of the world (a somewhat ludicrous endeavor) avoids some of the prejudices that plague similar works--the book includes a significant section on prehistory, acknowledges some of the atrocities of imperial rule, and speaks highly of the accomplishments of non-European peoples. It is still highly problematic, not least for its utter non-treatment of women (who appear in three instances: as the property of neolithic men, and in brief references to Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria). Wells' world history promotes the idea that the world, led predominantly by European men, is evolving toward a single, unified organization, to be ruled by some sort of scientist-emperor. In my opinion, this is a mildly interesting work for Wells scholars, but not worth reading otherwise.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Karishma

    A very short history of roughly 2 billion years, and a very recent history covering events upto a century ago, this is a sufficiently detailed attempt at capturing the salient moments in human history in 400 odd pages. The fact that it is written by the father of science fiction, HG Wells, heightens the reader's awareness of how absurd several human actions in the last few centuries have been, a realization heightened by the privilege of hindsight. It's interesting to observe that a book almost 10 A very short history of roughly 2 billion years, and a very recent history covering events upto a century ago, this is a sufficiently detailed attempt at capturing the salient moments in human history in 400 odd pages. The fact that it is written by the father of science fiction, HG Wells, heightens the reader's awareness of how absurd several human actions in the last few centuries have been, a realization heightened by the privilege of hindsight. It's interesting to observe that a book almost 100 years old, written after the most devastating war of that time, holds lessons learnt by first hand experience, on nationalism and globalism that would come in handy today to prevent history from repeating itself. 

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ashu Prakash

    It is definitely a recommendation to anyone who is interested in the world history and sociology. Today's reader might find a lot of inaccuracies in few dates and historical facts but he/she should note that it is well updated knowledge from an intellectual European of 1922. I will agree that the history is revolving more on the Europe but again that's the result of the ethnicity of the author. It is definitely a recommendation to anyone who is interested in the world history and sociology. Today's reader might find a lot of inaccuracies in few dates and historical facts but he/she should note that it is well updated knowledge from an intellectual European of 1922. I will agree that the history is revolving more on the Europe but again that's the result of the ethnicity of the author.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Utkarsh Pandey

    Very nicely written but 3 stars due to some shortcomings: 1. Too many names and years, which makes it less fluent to read specially in the medieval period chapters. 2. A bit outdated (as it was written in 1920) 3. Illustrations are misplaced and sometimes irrelevant with the topics covered.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Maisey

    One may be tempted to consider a history book first published in 1922 and republished in 1944 irrelevant in 2018, yet nothing could be further from the truth. HG Wells' charming and well paced style, honed by his lifetime of writing fantastical fiction, hits a sweet spot between that of a twinkly eyed scholar, a raging polemicist and good old fashioned Victorian adventurer. An inspiring and exciting book which provides a neat overview of ancient history (about half the book is dedicated to the ri One may be tempted to consider a history book first published in 1922 and republished in 1944 irrelevant in 2018, yet nothing could be further from the truth. HG Wells' charming and well paced style, honed by his lifetime of writing fantastical fiction, hits a sweet spot between that of a twinkly eyed scholar, a raging polemicist and good old fashioned Victorian adventurer. An inspiring and exciting book which provides a neat overview of ancient history (about half the book is dedicated to the rise of civilisations in the years BC) and sets the stage nicely for the dawning of our "modern" era (i.e. from about the 16th century onwards). The text contains just enough moral and political observations to make it an interesting body of work for those interested in political writing (HG Wells falls firmly into the liberal Fabian school of British socialism), but not so many to make it useless to someone interested in reading a serious and objective history. What work of history isn't a work of political writing anyway? I would recommend this very strongly to the casual reader, wishing to engross themselves in an epic macrohistory of world events, but finds the academic depth and endless lengths of most publications in this field daunting and off-putting.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    My world history class used this as our reference material and study guide, all thanks to our brilliant professor, of course. Unsurprisingly, it made the class much more interesting than if we had used a normal world history textbook. H.G. Well's narrative skills made history so much more interesting. His choice in materials to include, or his preference for the turning points in history is ingenious. In my opinion, to make world history a literary page turner is Well's highest achievement. Thou My world history class used this as our reference material and study guide, all thanks to our brilliant professor, of course. Unsurprisingly, it made the class much more interesting than if we had used a normal world history textbook. H.G. Well's narrative skills made history so much more interesting. His choice in materials to include, or his preference for the turning points in history is ingenious. In my opinion, to make world history a literary page turner is Well's highest achievement. Though there are some questionable/controversial chapters, Well's A Short History is a groundbreaking book that infuses history and narrative skill. A lethal combination. You'll have a fun time gaining knowledge.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marina

    First published in 1922 and later on updated by the author's son, for the last time in 1965, this book is clearly outdated. Yet it's a wonderful example of Big History, a term that's only come into being in recent years. It's a long view of history from the very creation of the universe providing continuity and as a result valuable perspectives and insights which the author is not shy to share with the reader. Beautifully written, too, the antiquated language adds to its charm. It served very we First published in 1922 and later on updated by the author's son, for the last time in 1965, this book is clearly outdated. Yet it's a wonderful example of Big History, a term that's only come into being in recent years. It's a long view of history from the very creation of the universe providing continuity and as a result valuable perspectives and insights which the author is not shy to share with the reader. Beautifully written, too, the antiquated language adds to its charm. It served very well the purpose for which I picked it up: it gave me a framework from which I can now delve into more detailed accounts of those parts of history that are of particular interest to me.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Prakash Yadav

    The promising oxymoron in the title coupled with the author's reputation compelled me to give this a long luxurious read ... and look what it did to me ... Nothing. Its a good compendium of what we've been up to last few hundred years but this book is more of a novelty than a textbook, riddled with eurocentric evangelism and whatever comes along with it. Perhaps they should consider renaming the book to indicate its finite content for it comes to an abrupt end right after the first world war, mi The promising oxymoron in the title coupled with the author's reputation compelled me to give this a long luxurious read ... and look what it did to me ... Nothing. Its a good compendium of what we've been up to last few hundred years but this book is more of a novelty than a textbook, riddled with eurocentric evangelism and whatever comes along with it. Perhaps they should consider renaming the book to indicate its finite content for it comes to an abrupt end right after the first world war, missing some of our juiciest debauchery .

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alasdair

    This was an interesting read - more like a journalistic piece than a history book. The early part of the book was the most interesting and at least slightly objective. The latter part descends into propaganda for Well's own views on the future of the post WWI world and he may be the only socialist that sees the USA as an exemplar. That at least was in interesting perspective. This was an interesting read - more like a journalistic piece than a history book. The early part of the book was the most interesting and at least slightly objective. The latter part descends into propaganda for Well's own views on the future of the post WWI world and he may be the only socialist that sees the USA as an exemplar. That at least was in interesting perspective.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    A great primer for anyone interested in world history from the dawn of life up to the early 20th century. Each period is broken down into individual chapters that are no more than 3 pages. Would recommend to young people who have neither the desire or the attention span to read tombs of history.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Yun Yi

    This book shaped the overall development of human history for me, especially the interactions between nomads and the settled civilizations. Though there are some errors (the obvious one must be the time of Akkadian Empire), I found this book fluent and coherent, much more readable than many other history books I had read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    mo

    It is indeed short, but just the right amount. Many things discussed might be incorrect due to the publication date, nevertheless it is a good read. The history of the world is told fluently and enjoyable. Wells’ opinions about the social, moral and intellectual developments throughout the history of mankind make this book even more interesting.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Travis West

    An excellent overview of this world's history. Only complaint is that it is at times rather Euro-centric. Should be required reading none-the-less. Wish I had read it at a much earlier stage in life. An excellent overview of this world's history. Only complaint is that it is at times rather Euro-centric. Should be required reading none-the-less. Wish I had read it at a much earlier stage in life.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brian Baker

    Broadbrush history of planet earth from it's inception up to the second world war. Much of the early stuff is probably out of date butmy knowledge of the subject is so poor I still came away enlightened. Broadbrush history of planet earth from it's inception up to the second world war. Much of the early stuff is probably out of date butmy knowledge of the subject is so poor I still came away enlightened.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    "Over a large part of the civilized world it was believed and taught that the world had been created suddenly in 4004 B.C. though authorities differed as to whether this had occurred in the spring or autumn of that year. This fantastically precise misconception was based upon a too literal interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, and upon rather arbitrary theological assumptions connected therewith." (p.5) "The Record of the Rocks is no more a complete record of life in the past than the books of a ba "Over a large part of the civilized world it was believed and taught that the world had been created suddenly in 4004 B.C. though authorities differed as to whether this had occurred in the spring or autumn of that year. This fantastically precise misconception was based upon a too literal interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, and upon rather arbitrary theological assumptions connected therewith." (p.5) "The Record of the Rocks is no more a complete record of life in the past than the books of a bank are a record of the existence of everybody in the neighborhood. It is only when a species begins to secrete a shell or a spicule or a carapace or a lime-supported stem, and so put by something for the future, that it goes upon the record." (p.11) "There may be many forces at work varying, destroying, and preserving species, about which science is still unaware or undecided, but the man who can deny the operation of this process of natural selection upon life since its beginning must be either ignorant of the elementary facts of life or incapable of ordinary thought." (p.13) "That early world was a world of strong tides and currents. An incessant destruction of individuals must have been going on through their being swept up the beaches and dried, or by their being swept out to sea and sinking down out of reach of air and sun. Early conditions favoured the development of every tendency to form an outer skin and casing to protect the stranded individual from immediate desiccation." (p.14) "A young reptile has no knowledge whatever of its parent; its mental life, such as it is, begins and ends with its own experiences. It may tolerate the existence of its fellows, but it has no communication with them; it never imitates, never learns from them, is incapable of concerted action with them. Its life is that of an isolated individual. But with the suckling and cherishing of young which was distinctive of the new mammalian and avian strains arose the possibility of learning by imitation, of communication by warning cries and other concerted action, of mutual control and instruction. A teachable type of life had come into the world." (p.26) "And even today those who really control and order their thoughts are but a small minority of mankind. Most of the world still lives by imagination and passion." (p.40) "The dreams, imaginations and fears of a child are far more vivid and real than those of a modern adult, and primitive man was always something of a child." (p.41) "We call the system of cause and effect in the mind of the savage, Fetich; but Fetich is simply savage science. It differs from modern science in that it is totally unsystematic and uncritical and so more frequently wrong." (p.42) "We have to remember that human races can all interbreed freely and that they separate, mingle and reunite as clouds do. Human races do not branch out like trees with branches that never come together again. It is a thing we need to bear constantly in mind, this remingling of races at any opportunity. We shall be saved from many cruel delusions and prejudices if we do so." (p.48) "For many generations the children of Abraham remained on obscure people of the hilly back country engaged in incessant bickering with the Philistines and with the kindred tribes about them, the Moabites, the Midianites, and so forth. The reader will find in the Book of Judges a record of their struggles and disasters during this period. For largely it is a record of disasters and failures frankly told." (p.77) "But one cannot reason without matter, and knowledge followed in the wake of speech." (p.92) "Plato said plainly to mankind: ‘Most of the social and political ills from which you suffer are under your control, given only the will and the courage to change them. You can live in another and a wiser fashion if you choose to think it out and work it out. You are not awake to your own power.’" (p. 93) "Free, exact, and systematic thinking has begun. The fresh and unencumbered mind of these newcomers out of the northern forests has thrust itself into the mysteries of the temple and let the daylight in." (p.94) "When the mind grapples with a great and intricate problem, it makes its advances step by step, with but little realization of the gains it has made, until suddenly, with an effect of abrupt illumination, it realizes its victory." (p.104) "The free will and the free mind were nowhere to be found. The great roads, the ruins of splendid buildings, the tradition of law and power it left for the astonishment of succeeding generations must not conceal from us that all its outer splendour was built upon thwarted wills, stifled intelligence, and crippled and perverted desires. And even the minority who lorded it over that certain realm of subjugation and of restraint and forced labour were uneasy and unhappy in their souls; art and literature, science and philosophy, which are the fruits of free and happy minds, waned in that atmosphere." (p.138) "All empires, all states, all organizations of human society are, in the ultimate, things of understanding and will." (p.160) "The new sort of religions had come into the world, and particularly Christianity, turned inward. These new faiths demanded not simply conformity but understanding belief. Naturally fierce controversy ensued upon the exact meaning of the things believed." (p.162) "Aristotle was read and discussed by these Jews and Arabs during the centuries of European darkness. They guarded the neglected seeds of science and philosophy." (p.182) "When the church interfered in matters of morality it had the common man with it, but not when it interfered in matters of doctrine...So it was that the church by excessive claims, by unrighteous privileges, and by an irrational intolerance destroyed that free faith of the common man which was the final source of all its power. The story of its decline tells of no adequate foemen from without but continually of decay from within." (p.189) "Printed paper books, a new realization of the round world as a thing altogether attainable, a new vision of strange lands, strange animals and plants, strange manners and customs, discoveries overseas and in the skies and in the ways and materials of life burst upon the European mind." (p.209) "The adaptation, mainly unconscious and almost always unwilling (for man in general hates voluntary change), has lagged more and more behind the alterations of conditions. From the sixteenth century onward the history of mankind is a story of political and social institutions becoming more and more plainly misfits, less comfortable and more vexatious, and of the slow reluctant realization of the need for a conscious and deliberate reconstruction of the whole scheme of human societies in the face of needs and possibilities new to all the former experiences of life……the main changes seem all to turn upon one cause, namely, the growth and extension of a knowledge of the nature of things" (p.221) "Like the trees of the celestial city, science bears bud and flower and fruit at the same time and continuously." (p.224) "A tittle-tattle of bribes and rivalries disgusts the intelligent student." (p.229) "The power of the Old World was human power, everything depended ultimately upon the driving power of human muscle, the muscle of ignorant and subjected men." (p.260) "The Roman civilization was built upon cheap and degraded human beings; modern civilization is being rebuilt upon cheap mechanical power. For a hundred years power has been getting cheaper and labour dearer. If for a generation or so machinery has had to wait its turn in the mine, it is simply because for a time men were cheaper than machinery." (p.261) "The ordinary Roman citizen never saw the changes through which he lived, clearly and comprehensively as we see them. But the industrial revolution, as it went on towards the end of the nineteenth century, was more and more distinctly seen as one whole process by the common people it was affecting, because presently they could read and discuss and communicate, and because they went about and saw things as no commonality had ever done before." (p.262) "Primitive property is what a beast will fight for." (p.264) "Ownership in the beast and in the primitive savage was far more intense a thing than it is in the civilized world today. It is rooted more strongly in our instincts than in our reason." (p.265) "It was only as the nineteenth century developed that men began to realize that property is not one simple thing, but a great complex of ownerships of different values and consequences, that many things (such as one’s body, the implements of an artist, clothing, tooth-brushes) are very profoundly and incurably one’s personal property, and that there is a very great range of things, railways, machinery of various sorts, homes, gardens, pleasure-boats, for example, which need each to be considered very particularly to determine how far and under what limitations it may come under private ownership, and how much falls into the public domain and may be administered and let out by the state in the collective interest." (p.267) "It is becoming plainer and plainer each year that in many respects and in an increasing range of affairs, mankind is becoming one community, and that it is more and more necessary that in such matters there should be a common world-wide control." (p.269) "No man can go beyond his own knowledge, no thought can reach beyond contemporary thought, and it is impossible for us to guess or foretell how many generations of humanity may have to live in war and waste and insecurity and misery before the dawn of the great peace to which all history seems to be pointing, peace in the heart and peace in the world, ends our night of wasteful and aimless living." (p.271) "We are beginning to realize that that conflict, terrible and enormous as it was, ended nothing, began nothing and settled nothing. It killed millions of people; it wasted and impoverished the world." (p.304) "Wars and revolutions make nothing; their utmost service to mankind is that, in a rough and painful way, they destroy superannuated and obstructive things." (p.304) "Behind the short-sighted governments that divide and mismanage human affairs, a real force for world unity and world order exists and grows." (p.308) "Man is still only adolescent. His troubles are not the troubles of senility and exhaustion but of increasing and still undisciplined strength. When we look at all history as one process, as we have been doing in this book, when we see the steadfast upward struggle of life towards vision and control, then we see in their true proportions the hopes and dangers of the present time. As yet we are hardly in the earliest dawn of human greatness." (p.309)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cari Mayhew

    Book Review by Cari Mayhew. Rating 7/10. Best known for his classic fiction, HG Wells also wrote a non-fiction book summarising the history of the world, going from the history of the solar system, right up to the date the book was published in 1922. As I hoped, the book often reads like a novel, with 67 distinct sections, each like a mini story. In order to fit the history of the whole world into one book, by nature the storytelling ranges from nice and rapid, to a little too rapid. I found it r Book Review by Cari Mayhew. Rating 7/10. Best known for his classic fiction, HG Wells also wrote a non-fiction book summarising the history of the world, going from the history of the solar system, right up to the date the book was published in 1922. As I hoped, the book often reads like a novel, with 67 distinct sections, each like a mini story. In order to fit the history of the whole world into one book, by nature the storytelling ranges from nice and rapid, to a little too rapid. I found it rather like a catalog of numerous interesting little nuggets of information. Despite covering events from all over the world, the topics often flow seamlessly from one topic to the next. Due to so many overlapping topics, this history of the world isn't told in a linear purely chronological pattern, but has to go backwards a little, now and again. At various times throughout, the stories are gripping and Wells successfully brings history to life. I particularly liked the various sections on religious leaders. Appropriately, Wells tackles religion as would any unbiased historian-become storyteller. I also enjoyed the beginning, where Wells paints a crystal clear picture of our solar system and the vast empty space that our dramas are within. His description of our galaxy sounds nothing short of beautiful. The book was meant to be predominantly factual, but Wells did include a substantial amount of speculation and opinion. This does not distract from the storyline, but adds value in generating the concepts of the time periods. It covers progress and prosperity as much as carnage and decimation, and provides good explanations of everything it covers. (Although it would benefit from more illustrations). At times it feels detail heavy but also gives the reader a feel for each age - the book is not limited to which country went to war with which country and when, but also examines changes in ways of thinking through the ages. Including the Ancient Greek philosophers, Arabian progress in maths and science, the advent of experimental science, and the development of political and social ideas in Wells’ time. I was reassured to learn that despite not studying the history of the world in its entirety in school, I was already familiar with much of the book’s content. Having said that, there were also topics where I really felt I was learning something. I read Wells’ opinion on why the Roman Empire fell, and how the industrial revolution was not merely a revolution in machinery, but rather a revolution in how people conducted their everyday lives. There were also some important figures from history described that were never mentioned in my school days, particularly Charlemagne and Roger Bacon. Towards the end of the book, Wells correctly predicts another war like that of the Great War. However his final message was one of faith and hope in humanity’s progress. With such a huge scope, Wells must have struggled with deciding what topics to include and what to exclude. I thought he ought to have included a touch more detail on Ancient Egypt, and on the causes of the Great War (World War 1). As a British person myself I would have liked to have seen more on British history. Likewise, if the book were written now rather than 1922 I began to speculate on what he would and wouldn’t have included. I imagine there would certainly be a section on World War 2, rockets into space, the internet, and 9/11. He would have provided an excellently conducted section on how humans are destroying the planet. One of the beauties of this book has to be its availability. If you type “short history of the world” into Google, the free PDF of this book takes up much of the first 2 pages of results. If you’re sketchy on world history, this book will fill in the main blanks, and is worth a read if this is your aim, especially if you wish to do so quickly. The fact that it’s split up into so many succinct sections also means that you can pick up and put down the book as often as opportunity allows. It also works well as reference book, as it does not need to be read from cover to cover in order to look up one particular event or time period. In summary, this book would be a welcome addition to bookshelf (or ebook library) of the general non-fiction fan or historian. Check out more of my reviews on www.bookblogbycari.com

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    This book's main drawback is that it misses out the last 100 years or so - and I mean that as a compliment to Wells, who couldn't really help that. It's still extremely useful in making sense of what happened in the billion or so years leading up to the First World War, with several chapters at the beginning devoted to prehistory. The chapters are short, and the writing is excellent, drawing out the key points without getting bogged down in detail. Wells's intention is not simply to provide an o This book's main drawback is that it misses out the last 100 years or so - and I mean that as a compliment to Wells, who couldn't really help that. It's still extremely useful in making sense of what happened in the billion or so years leading up to the First World War, with several chapters at the beginning devoted to prehistory. The chapters are short, and the writing is excellent, drawing out the key points without getting bogged down in detail. Wells's intention is not simply to provide an overview of history but to tell a story of the progress of civilisation from Cro-Magnon Man to the confused, uneasy world of his own time, full of possibilities both thrilling and terrifying. This makes the book far more readable than a dry recitation of names and dates would have been, and if sometimes Wells's brush seems broad, it probably needs to be to attack the vastness of the canvas. For the bits of history I didn't know about, I was happy to accept Wells's version of events - and it was useful to join up the isolated bits of knowledge I had. For those bits I did know about, I was interested to know what Wells's take on them would be. He always has a take. The picture he paints of the Romans is a case in point. Despite acknowledging their practical achievements, Wells believes that Roman culture was somehow empty. And this was because their empire, built on slavery, lacked what we might loosely call a soul. As Wells puts it: "The free will and the free mind were nowhere to be found. The great roads, the ruins of splendid buildings, the tradition of law and power it left for the astonishment of succeeding generations must not conceal from us that all its outer splendour was built upon thwarted wills, stifled intelligence, and crippled and perverted desires." Sweeping statements, perhaps, but Wells clearly believes that part of the point of studying history is to make some sort of moral judgement on it. When Wells comes to modern European imperialism it is harder for him to offer such clarity of judgement, except in isolated, egregious cases such as the exploitation of the Belgian Congo. After all, the sun had not quite set on the British Empire, and Wells had determined to steer clear of live controversies. He does, however, make very clear his intense disapproval of the stitch-up that followed the First World War: "The Treaty of Versailles was intended to be exemplary and vindictive; it provided tremendous penalties for the vanquished; it sought to provide compensations for the wounded and suffering victors by imposing enormous debts upon nations already bankrupt, and its attempts to reconstitute international relations by the establishment of a League of Nations against war, were manifestly insincere and inadequate." Wells was spot-on in his reading of the geopolitical situation, believing that another war was more or less inevitable. He was also surely correct that the most horrifying thing about the First World War (and you could say the same about the Second, perhaps) was not that there were people who were prepared to precipitate it, but that there were far more people who did nothing to stop it happening. Though the book is a product of its time, Wells shows far less of that time’s prejudices than we might expect. While it it is a bit of a stretch to claim (as Norman Stone does in the Introduction) that the book is “not Euro-centric", it treats Chinese and Japanese cultures as equals to European ones. However, sub-Saharan Africa is hardly mentioned, the indigenous populations of North America, Australia and New Zealand might as well not have existed, and the ancient cultures of South America that were wiped out by the conquistadors are virtually wiped out of Wells’s history. Serious omissions certainly, but one is inclined to cut Wells some slack because of the time he lived in and the daunting task of compression he set himself. More surprising than the omissions, is the discovery that a 100-odd-year-old history - now in itself part of history - has so much to offer today. On a simple level, it still does very well what it sets out to do, in providing a readable potted history of human civilisation. But it also has considerable value as one man’s subjective, imperfect, but intelligent and persuasive view of the human story - one with which we can feel free to disagree, but which is sure to provoke a lively intellectual response, rather as a book like Yuval Harari’s Sapiens has done in our own time.

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