A Little History of the World

By E. H. Gombrich; Clifford Harper (Illustrator)
(Yale University Press, Paperback, 9780300143324, 304pp.)

Publication Date: September 2008

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio Cassette, Audio Cassette, Compact Disc, Compact Disc, MP3 CD

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Description

In 1935, with a doctorate in art history and no prospect of a job, the 26-year-old Ernst Gombrich was invited by a publishing acquaintance to attempt a history of the world for younger readers. Amazingly, he completed the task in an intense six weeks, and Eine kurze Weltgeschichte für junge Leser was published in Vienna to immediate success, and is now available in seventeen languages across the world.

Toward the end of his long life, Gombrich embarked upon a revision and, at last, an English translation. A Little History of the World presents his lively and involving history to English-language readers for the first time. Superbly designed and freshly illustrated, this is a book to be savored and collected.

In forty concise chapters, Gombrich tells the story of man 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. This is a text dominated not by dates and facts, but by the sweep of mankind’s experience across the centuries, a guide to humanity’s achievements and an acute witness to its frailties.

The product of a generous and humane sensibility, this timeless account makes intelligible the full span of human history.




Praise For A Little History of the World

"A remarkable book, written in an amiable, conversational style, effortlessly explaining, without condescension, difficult matters like the achievements of Charlemagne, the monetary system of medieval Europe and the ideas of the Enlightenment. . . . This resurrected history deserves reading for all its delights."—Edward Rothstein, New York Times

-Edward Rothstein

"In simple, vivid prose, Gombrich surveys the human past from pre-history to his own time. . . . Lucky children will have this book read to them. Intelligent adults will read it for themselves and regain contact with the spirit of European humanism at its best."—Anthony Grafton, Wall Street Journal

-Anthony Grafton

"A masterpiece of nonfiction writing for children. It is a wry and charming book, perfectly suited to the capacities of a 10-year-old, but also remarkably free of condescension. An adult can read it with pleasure. And, indeed, with instruction."—Scott McLemee, Newsday
 


-Scott McLemee

"A brilliant piece of narrative, splendidly organised, told with an energy and confidence that are enormously attractive, and suffused with all the humanity and generosity of spirit that Gombrich''s thousands of admirers came to cherish during his long and richly productive life. It''s a wonderful surprise: irresistible, in fact."—Philip Pullman
-Philip Pullman

"[A] lively and involving history. . . . Superbly designed and freshly illustrated, this is a book to be savored and collected. . . . This is a text dominated not by dates and facts, but by the sweep of mankind’s experience across the centuries, a guide to humanity’s achievements and an acute witness to its frailties. The product of a generous and humane sensibility, this timeless account makes intelligible the full span of human history."—Artdaily




"A timeless and engaging narrative of the human race."—Choice


“The true fairy tale of the evolution of mankind.”—Die Zeit



"... the main body of the book retains an irresistible, boyish energy and enthusiasm... Here, in this little book, are answers to many of the questions you never dared to ask."—Margaret Drabble, New Statesman

-Margaret Drabble

“Though written for kids, this is a book the whole family will love.”—Christy Karras, Salt Lake Tribune (Best Books of 2005)

-Christy Karras

"... ostensibly a book for children, designed to present a chronology of world history, but it''s a delight for all ages. The pages sparkle with the learned author''s wit and wisdom - and reading them, one feels as if Gombrich, one of the greatest ever art historians, is guiding one through time with a grandfatherly gleam in his eye."---Ben Schott, The Observer

-Ben Schott

''...an enduring joy... We have no shortage of historians eager to tell us what was important in the past and why; but few of them dare speak straight to the imagination of young people, to open their minds and to enrich their vision in the manner that Gombrich achieves so effortlessly here.'' - Peter Furtado, Times Higher Education Supplement

-Peter Furtado

"A charming read that extends from prehistory to nuclear warfare and can be enjoyed also by adults in search of an instructive overview of the human drama."—First Things

"Gombrich accomplishes what many university-level Western Civilization classes cannot—a riveting account of events that shaped the world from the Stone Age to the 1930s, illustrating the relevance of history to current events. Teachers and schools should add this to their reading lists."—Claire Martin, The Denver Post
 

-Claire Martin

"It is history to read aloud, on a cold evening, preferably by a fire."—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

-Susan Salter Reynolds

"A beautifully concise volume [that] will remind readers of any age that the past 5,000 years have been one big slugfest between darkness and enlightenment, unreason and reason."—Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times
-Mary Ann Gwinn

"Magical, transporting. . . . A children''s history that adults will want to sneak off with and read on the sly."—VeryShortList.com


‘What was the bestselling title this Christmas at Foyles in London? Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall? Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? Cormac McCarthy’s The Road? Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol? No. It was EH Gombrich’s A Little History of the World.’

-Mark Sanderson

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