A Little History of the World, Hardback Book

A Little History of the World Hardback

Illustrated by Clifford Harper

Part of the Little Histories series

4.5 out of 5 (6 ratings)


E. H. Gombrich's bestselling history of the world for young readers tells the story of mankind from the Stone Age to the atomic bomb, focusing not on small detail but on the sweep of human experience, the extent of human achievement, and the depth of its frailty.

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

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.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304 pages, 40 b-w illus.
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Reference works
  • ISBN: 9780300108835

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Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.

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Review by

A judicious, sensitive and non-triumphal telling of the whole history of the world, as much a delight to adults as children.

Review by

When Gombrich first composed his little history, he had in mind that generation's children. That his work should remain so fresh today, and so enjoyable by adults, says many things, but above all the message is this: read this erudite, accessible history, and you shall be rewarded with a renewed faith in people.

Review by

Deceptive in its small size, this book however, packs a big punch. To be able to put so much history in such a simple and charming manner with its narrative style, makes this something to treasure for people of all ages.

Review by

i picked this up yesterday morning from my shelf on a whim. more than 30 hours later, i'm still reading and could not bring myself to put it down! a simple re-telling of the history of the world, or rather, largely of the western world, it is none the less marvelous and stirring. the last chapter, specially, where the author recounts history as he himself has experienced. its history written for children, but should be required reading for adults.memorable quotes:"the history of the world is, sadly, not a pretty poem. it offers little variety, and it is nearly always the unpleasant things that are repeated, over and over again."

Review by

a broad and clear western civ refresher. covering 5000 years in 350 pages gives a great overview. some of it, since it's written for a young audience, overly simplifies and distorts (the parts on the middle ages makes the period seem like a playful renaissance fair). but other than these minor quibbles, it's incredibly terrific and i can't stress enough the amazing clarity and curiosity in the prose. the final chapter, written years after the rest of the book was finished and catches the history up to world war 2 and the atomic age, is staggering.

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