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Your Favorite World History book for YOU?


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I would like to read an engaging history of the world, and there are quite a few choices on Amazon. I know of SWB's History, but I'm not sure I want something quite so piecemeal, though I will likely end up buying it as I do like her writing style.

 

I am thinking something classic, but not boring. Does such a thing exist?

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Do you mean an all-encompassing history of the world? I have a couple such books for my reference. They're even decently written, but I wouldn't call them engaging reads. I haven't read SWB's history books for adults. There may be something out there that is better, but if I was going to recommend an engaging history book for an adult, I would recommend something like Guns, Germs, Steel or a microhistory like Cod. I can think of other titles, I'm just throwing the idea out there.

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http://books.google.com/books?id=pDxGPgAACAAJ&dq=barzun&hl=en&ei=9w0ITd2YLIL98AbZw5myBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAA

From Dawn to Decadence by Barzun.

http://www.amazon.com/History-Civilizations-Fernand-Braudel/dp/0140124896/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1292373671&sr=8-3

Braudel.

These two are my favorite history books as they trace the history of ideas rather than solely biographical details of leaders.

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Do you mean an all-encompassing history of the world? I have a couple such books for my reference. They're even decently written, but I wouldn't call them engaging reads. I haven't read SWB's history books for adults. There may be something out there that is better, but if I was going to recommend an engaging history book for an adult, I would recommend something like Guns, Germs, Steel or a microhistory like Cod. I can think of other titles, I'm just throwing the idea out there.

 

Yes, Guns Germs and Steel is on my To Read list. Yea, I was thinking of an engaging overview of world history. Maybe that's too much to ask...:tongue_smilie:

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http://books.google.com/books?id=pDxGPgAACAAJ&dq=barzun&hl=en&ei=9w0ITd2YLIL98AbZw5myBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAA

From Dawn to Decadence by Barzun.

http://www.amazon.com/History-Civilizations-Fernand-Braudel/dp/0140124896/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1292373671&sr=8-3

Braudel.

These two are my favorite history books as they trace the history of ideas rather than solely biographical details of leaders.

 

Thank you!!! Off to look.

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I read this several years ago:

A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman

 

Amazon Review:

In this sweeping historical narrative, Barbara Tuchman writes of the cataclysmic 14th century, when the energies of medieval Europe were devoted to fighting internecine wars and warding off the plague. Some medieval thinkers viewed these disasters as divine punishment for mortal wrongs; others, more practically, viewed them as opportunities to accumulate wealth and power. One of the latter, whose life informs much of Tuchman's book, was the French nobleman Enguerrand de Coucy, who enjoyed the opulence and elegance of the courtly tradition while ruthlessly exploiting the peasants under his thrall. Tuchman looks into such events as the Hundred Years War, the collapse of the medieval church, and the rise of various heresies, pogroms, and other events that caused medieval Europeans to wonder what they had done to deserve such horrors.

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I haven't seen SWB's books, but complete world histories seem tricky to find. I have come across some great volumes (and they were too; inches thick!) on different regions. The history of the Mediterranean I read a few years back drew from outside that area when it was necessary to explain events, but because it was focused on a specific place, it wasn't a confusing free for all, kwim? When you read a few of these sorts of books, you start to recognise people and events and they move to form a picture in your brain. It might just be me, but I find that more satisfying that an attempt in an all in one volume. Unless we're talking about Guns, Germs and Steel. I remember reading that. I almost ate it up it was so engrossing!

 

:)

Rosie

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Guns, Germs, and Steel has some serious errors of fact in it. Jared Diamond is a compelling political writer, but I would not call his books "history." They are more like political writing.

 

Barbara Tuchman is an excellent historian, and Will and Ariel Durant aren't bad either, although the Durant series obviously isn't one volume, and is a little dated. It's difficult to tackle all geographical regions throughout written history in one book. Norman Davies has a one-volume history of Europe out, though Oxford University Press. It's interesting, and has lots of little side trails, but it's dense, and not exactly relaxing bedtime reading. However, I'd recommend that if you are looking for an in-depth historical treatment of the region.

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Guest CarolineUK

I'm actually half way through SWB's History of the Medieval World at the moment and I'm enjoying it much more than I thought I would. I started reading it at bedtime thinking it would be interesting, but wouldn't get in the way of feelings of sleepiness (IYKWIM!), but in fact I've stayed awake till almost 2 am for a number of nights I've been so gripped.

 

Also, I'm ashamed to say, I really love Horrid Histories :D.

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I read this several years ago:

A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman

 

Amazon Review:

In this sweeping historical narrative, Barbara Tuchman writes of the cataclysmic 14th century, when the energies of medieval Europe were devoted to fighting internecine wars and warding off the plague. Some medieval thinkers viewed these disasters as divine punishment for mortal wrongs; others, more practically, viewed them as opportunities to accumulate wealth and power. One of the latter, whose life informs much of Tuchman's book, was the French nobleman Enguerrand de Coucy, who enjoyed the opulence and elegance of the courtly tradition while ruthlessly exploiting the peasants under his thrall. Tuchman looks into such events as the Hundred Years War, the collapse of the medieval church, and the rise of various heresies, pogroms, and other events that caused medieval Europeans to wonder what they had done to deserve such horrors.

 

OMG! I read that in high school and you just jolted my memory! I LOVED that book!! Thank you!!!

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A different kind of history series, but I really enjoyed the books by Daniel Boorstein: The Discoverers, the Creators, and the Seekers. The first two are favorites of mine, didn't quite get into the Seekers as much. But I found them to be fairly quick reads despite their size and easy to reference later.

 

loved these!

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