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

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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. 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.


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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. 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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    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 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 these two civilizations. Certainly, I am much more interested in learning about China these days now that Jefferson is learning the language. This was a fabulous primer on early Chinese history, though there were a few places where the plots were involved enough with so many names that I got a little lost. This may be a function of my primarily reading this book while "supervising" the kids playing outside. The history of Rome was easier, as it is more familiar, and strengthening the connections in my brain between late Roman history and early Christian history is always satisfying. Just because it's something I feel I ought to know, I suppose. One of my favorite things about these volumes is the frequent use of asides for the author to confess his biases, his degree of confidence in his sources, etc. Add in his obvious love of his subject, and the entertainment value of the comics format, and it's obvious why I'm a Gonick fan.

  2. 5 out of 5

    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. 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Young Kim

    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. 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    There's really no excuse for there not being a lot more books in this genre. Get to it, publishing community! There's really no excuse for there not being a lot more books in this genre. Get to it, publishing community!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    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) 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) and funny drawings (Nero with the rouged cheeks) as the fabric of history unfolds across the volume is engaging and enjoyable. Although a large portion of this volume can be summarized as: a man seizes power, rules for a while, is killed or overthrown - lather, rinse, repeat, he still has that touch of showing you the bigger picture and the life of the serfs, etc. He also continues to do a great job drawing humorous animals, especially the well-fed lion who is so happy about Christian persecution. I do wish that Caesar's murder had been given a little more page time, and I was disappointed that Attila the Hun only had a cameo appearance (although, again, the cartoon of him saying "boogedy boogedy" to Europe immediately before falling off his horse and dying was pretty hilarious), but both of those episodes are heavily covered by so many other sources that it winds up being of little importance here. He does a good job with Constantine. And he shines in drawing the spread of germs and the impact of the spread of disease across continents. I would have thought that would be harder to draw, but he does it very effectively with the microbe coughs and the bodies in the streets. I am really excited to keep going with this series, which is high praise for such a long multi-volume history.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kogiopsis

    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... 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... interesting questions. But a high school-age student would benefit; this sort of overview is exactly the kind of thing likely to pique interest in areas of study like the history of India or China, which are rarely covered in standard 'world history' classes. As for me, well, I got that in detail in my Asian Humanities course, so it wasn't news, but it was still cool. Gonick's illustrations are simple but interesting, and for the most part his 'characters' are visually differentiated enough that it's easy to keep track of them. All in all, a decent graphic novel/historical summation; nothing extraordinary, but a good way to pass time while waiting for slow webpages to load.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Isaac

    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 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 enough to anger some people. If not, there are plenty of jokes about early Christians' slightly masochistic tendencies in the face of persecution from Romans, who were basically wannabe Greeks with more authoritarian tendencies and happened to build some very solid aqueducts. If you want more, there are a good 20 books to read on each culture provided in the bibliography. This is a wonderful series for anyone curious enough to pick it up.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Feld

    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 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 in a sea of names and battles with very little sense of how it all connected. The sad thing is, Gonick makes it clear that he is really enthusiastic about Chinese history and WANTS to share it to make it a more prominent part of our culture. I'm not sure how, working with that level of enthusiasm for 100 pages, Gonick couldn't make the story more clear. Overall, though, a good addition to Gonick's impressive series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jaco

    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 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 a very unique interpretation, rather than a regurgitation of someone else's information. But if there's one thing this book does well, is show us just how absurd history can be. Again, my only complaint is that the art towards the end suffers a little. It starts looking rushed towards the end of the Roman Empire and kills the overall consistency of the book's style even just a little bit.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    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 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 the murdering that went on in the upper classes (enormous numbers of people wiped out during every regime change!), I believe I'd vote to be a plebe/peasant. So, overall, very good stuff.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Preethi

    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!!! 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!!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    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. 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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sorcha

    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. 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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shalla Gray

    Having had volume 1 since I was little, and it teaching me all I needed to know about prehistory, I was over the moon to discover there was a volume 2 and got it for my Christmas. Although the book itself is as clever and well-researched as the first, I did not enjoy reading it. This is not the fault of Larry Gonick at all but of the human race in general, who, as you read this book, never cease to amaze with the depths of depravity and horribleness which makes up our every day existence. We hav Having had volume 1 since I was little, and it teaching me all I needed to know about prehistory, I was over the moon to discover there was a volume 2 and got it for my Christmas. Although the book itself is as clever and well-researched as the first, I did not enjoy reading it. This is not the fault of Larry Gonick at all but of the human race in general, who, as you read this book, never cease to amaze with the depths of depravity and horribleness which makes up our every day existence. We have not learnt anything in our short time on this Earth except to invent better ways of killing each other and everything else. The sooner we become extinct the better. Merry Christmas.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dannan Tavona

    Starting to show its age in places Historical reference The very talented Larry Gonick attempts cover amount of time, including a lot of prehistory. Some of the changes are almost yearly. Denisovans are just of big events that have overtaken this erudite series. Sadly, there many more. Still, it's insightful and witty book, with plenty of wry observations on the human condition contained therein. As long as you know that some the records will require amending, it's a useful reference. Starting to show its age in places Historical reference The very talented Larry Gonick attempts cover amount of time, including a lot of prehistory. Some of the changes are almost yearly. Denisovans are just of big events that have overtaken this erudite series. Sadly, there many more. Still, it's insightful and witty book, with plenty of wry observations on the human condition contained therein. As long as you know that some the records will require amending, it's a useful reference.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joy Gatewood

    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. 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rog Harrison

    I have the 1994 edition so probably bought this sometime that year and I would have read it then too. I recently re-read Vol 1 -7 which I really enjoyed but I found this disappointing in comparison. I am not sure why I do not like this as much but it probably goes some way to explain why it took me so long to read it again.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brown Robin

    Though not as enjoyable as the first volume of this history, this is still a book people should read, or at least give a chance. I feel the art doesn't have the same pizzazz as volume 1(but what do I know), but the jokes are still strewn throughout and the overall presentation is still accessible, insouciant and delectable. Still a great gift for a tween. Though not as enjoyable as the first volume of this history, this is still a book people should read, or at least give a chance. I feel the art doesn't have the same pizzazz as volume 1(but what do I know), but the jokes are still strewn throughout and the overall presentation is still accessible, insouciant and delectable. Still a great gift for a tween.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mycala

    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.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    Continuing from Volumes 1- 7,, 8 to 13 continued my easy journey into the History of the Universe.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andika Lesmana

    India. China. Rome. Funny. Advancely informative. Hail Gonick.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Uchi Susilawati

    Hail Larry Gonick

  23. 5 out of 5

    Harold Ogle

    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 " 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 "graphic novel" format. This is because each issue presents one culture's development over a certain period. It's very well done and funny, as usual, but I found myself really wanting to be able to more easily compare what was happening at the same time in other parts of the world. While I was reading this, I was bothered by this again and again - there's no easy way to cross-reference what was happening simultaneously in the other realms the book follows. In particular, I wanted to compare what was happening in Greece with what was happening in China with what was happening in India. Now that I write that, however, I realize that the narratives that Gonick created would have been completely destroyed by a simultaneous or side-by-side telling of each society. If anything, the collected volume makes it easier to jump back and forth between cultures (not easy, just easier) to figure out what was happening in parallel. Given my reading of Cartoon History of the United States, I know to take Gonick's interpretation of facts with a grain of salt, but in most cases, the facts can speak for themselves, and I really enjoyed this volume. Any reading of history should be done through a filter of skepticism, but as an overview of both Western and Eastern history, this is pretty delightful.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bharat Ghinaiya

    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 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 imagine the amount of reading one has to do to collect all the data first and then coming up with witty ways to represent it in not only written language but also in black and white cartoons. This idea in itself is a stroke of genius. I wish that schools would add such series as complementary reading while teaching history. I now plan to read every book in this cartoon series ( there are books on maths, physics, chemistry, etc.) and would recommend this cartoon series to anyone interested in enhancing their knowledge about world.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gphatty

    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 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 highly recommended to folks who have no idea where to begin exploring the history of the Eastern Civilizations.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aneesh

    (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 (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 *very* uncomfortable reading this book if it covered their religion, as would nationalists who see a halo around their country's history or eminent figures.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Fizzgig76

    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 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 one timeline doesn't quite work.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    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 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 of comic relief and draws out the legends and traditions that characterize each period.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Timothy

    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 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 enjoyable and educational.

  30. 4 out of 5

    nanina ninana

    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! :)

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