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A Little History of the World
Cover of A Little History of the World
A Little History of the World
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In 1935, with a doctorate in art history and no prospect of a job, twenty-six-year-old Ernst Gombrich was invited 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. It is now an international bestseller and available in almost thirty languages across the world.

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.

In 1935, with a doctorate in art history and no prospect of a job, twenty-six-year-old Ernst Gombrich was invited 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. It is now an international bestseller and available in almost thirty languages across the world.

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.

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    8 - 12

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About the Author-
  • E. H. Gombrich (1909–2001), author of the six-million-copy international bestseller The Story of Art and other classic works, was probably the best-known art historian of his time. Born in Vienna in 1909, he moved to London in 1936, working at the BBC and later becoming director of the Warburg Institute and professor of the history of the classical tradition at London University. Among his many honors were the Erasmus Prize, the Hegel Prize, the Wittgenstein Prize, and the Goethe Prize. He was knighted in 1972 and appointed a member of the Order of Merit in 1988.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine First published in 1935 and revised before its re-release and translation in 2005, this charming survey of world history was originally written with older children in mind. But curious adults looking to brush up on the subject will find much to admire in its simplified narrative of Western Civilization's main plot line, from prehistory through WWII. British narrator Ralph Cosham is a perfect choice for this material. His tone and rhythm render Gombrich's clear, humane text in a warm and compelling reading. Translated from German, A LITTLE HISTORY OF THE WORLD offers a largely Euro-centric view of history, but it's a useful and entertaining overview, and Cosham's presentation compounds the pleasure. M.G. (c) AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 29, 2005
    This is an unusual work for Yale: a children's history originally published 70 years ago. But it is a work one can quickly come to love. Gombrich, later known as an art historian, wrote this primer in 1935, when he was a young man in Vienna (it was soon banned by the Nazis as too "pacifist"). Rewritten (and updated) in English mainly by Gombrich himself (who died in 2001, age 92, while working on it), the book is still aimed at children, as the language makes clear: "Then, slowly the clouds parted to reveal the starry night of the Middle Ages." But while he addresses his readers directly at times, Gombrich never talks down to them. Using vivid imagery, storytelling and sly humor, he brings history to life in a way that adults as well as children can appreciate.The book displays a breadth of knowledge, as Gombrich begins with prehistoric man and ends with the close of WWII. In the final, newly added chapter, Gombrich's tone sadly darkens as he relates the rise of Hitler and his own escape from the Holocaust—children, he writes, "must learn from history how easy it is for human beings to be transformed into inhuman beings"—and ends on a note of cautious optimism about humanity's future.

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    Blackstone Publishing
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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A Little History of the World
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E. H. Gombrich
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