Book Review: A Little History Of The World

Books (19).pngMarking off another of the 30 books that I want to read before I turn 30 (this being number 17) I finally got around to reading my copy of A Little History Of The World by E.H Gombrich.

The book was an effort to educate children on the origins of the world from prehistory up until World War One, and offers glimpses at the key moments of key civilisations from around the world from before the rise of Babylon to the unification of Germany and beyond.

The writing comes across as an academic who is trying to explain very detailed and complicated events that span millennia and put them into bite size chunks that a child could understand, so the subjects are detailed very plainly, but without any sort of pith or entertainment value to them, that I would expect from a book that has sold and lasted so well.


Also looking at it through my eyes as 20 something who still remembers education in school, it feels that everything is skipped over in a way that should tease you into wanting to know more, but like school leaves you thinking that’ll be it, and in fact may alienate you into doing your own extra reading.

Overall for a book that has received such hype over the last century, I thought it was pretty disappointing, both in terms of entertainment, and in terms of actual content as well, although to its plus (unlike a lot of history texts) it wasn’t full of dates, studying history should not be just about memorising dates, it should be about analysing actions and behaviour, and learning from it, not just reciting who, where and when.

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