A History of the World in 100 Objects

A History of the World in 100 Objects

eBook - 2011
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"An enthralling and profoundly humane book that every civilized person should read."
-- The Wall Street Journal

The blockbuster New York Times bestseller and the companion volume to the wildly popular radio series

When did people first start to wear jewelry or play music? When were cows domesticated, and why do we feed their milk to our children? Where were the first cities, and what made them succeed? Who developed math--or invented money?

The history of humanity is one of invention and innovation, as we have continually created new things to use, to admire, or leave our mark on the world. In this groundbreaking book, Neil MacGregor turns to objects that previous civilizations have left behind to paint a portrait of mankind's evolution, focusing on unexpected turning points.

Beginning with a chopping tool from the Olduvai Gorge in Africa and ending with a recent innovation that is transforming the way we power our world, he urges us to see history as a kaleidoscope--shifting, interconnected, constantly surprising. A landmark bestseller, A History of the World in 100 Objects is one f the most unusual and engrossing history books to be published in years.

"None could have imagined quite how the radio series would permeate the national consciousness. Well over 12.5 million podcasts have been downloaded since the first programme and more than 550 museums around Britain have launched similar series featuring local history. . . . MacGregor's voice comes through as distinctively as it did on radio and his arguments about the interconnectedness of disparate societies through the ages are all the stronger for the detail afforded by extra space. A book to savour and start over."
-- The Economist

From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2011
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9781101545300
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xxvi, 707 p.) : col. ill., maps
Additional Contributors: BBC Radio 4
British Museum


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LoganLib_Phoebe Jun 22, 2016

Don't be daunted by the size, this is a very readable and fascinating history told through objects both grand and everyday.

Jan 24, 2015

The tack it takes on its subject, combined with all the chapters being short, makes this book terrific.

Nov 19, 2014

One of my favorite books! Actually, it started as an audio program, and I recommend first listening to it. The library has it on CD. Such a great concept - audio depictions of objects. The essay on each object includes comments from a contemporary perspective. For example, Dyson comments on potential uses of one of the earliest tools. After listening to it, I had to see the objects and checked out the book, then bought it for myself, and even emailed the author (who sent me a very nice reply). This is history at its best, respectful of cultural differences, accessible, and highly entertaining.

Jan 20, 2014

Best world history book - ever.

Oct 22, 2012

-a wholly enjoyable book. MacGregor makes material culture come alive through brilliant story-telling.

Sep 13, 2012

Of course this is also a history of British colonialism, but MacGregor does a good job of adding culturally sensitive insights. It's great preparation for a visit to this one of many free museums in London.

Jul 28, 2012

Well, not quite the objects I was prepared for, nor the perspective, either! Should've done my due diligence first. Still, 'twas a good, deliberate, skim. Glad to see that they chose to acknowledge more than the western world.

hgeng63 May 08, 2012

No one does history like the British! I really like how non-Western cultures were covered.

Mar 26, 2012

This book tells the history of humanity from about 2 million years ago through to last year through a selection of 100 human-made objects, from a stone chopping tool to a solar-powered lamp. The author freely admits that the selection of objects, all from the British Museum, is subjective, but he still manages to cover a wide range of cultures, times, and places. I found that I learned things about the sophistication of African and south Asian societies that I hadn't read before. Each object gets its own chapter and at least one full-page colour photo. Some objects merit additional photos to show other angles or details. Each chapter describes the object and explains its place in history. It's a very readable and enlightening work

My only complaint is that the book is HUGE... 707 pages including index and references. It's very heavy and cumbersome to tote around if, like me, you read during your daily commute on public transit.

Oct 14, 2011

I loved this book and will buy it for myself to keep on my bookshelves. It is a volume I shall return to again and again to study the colour plates of the marvellous artefacts from the British Museum and to read of the provenance and the fascinating historical context of each item. It progresses through over 5000 years of the global history of humankind and is always absorbing and easy to read. I have already placed an order to purchase my own copy. A wonderful book.


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