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A History of the World - Andrew Marr

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Author: Andrew Marr / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 06 June 2013 / Genre: History / Subcategory: General & World History / Publisher: Pan Macmillan / Title: A History of the World / ISBN 13: 9781447236825 / ISBN 10: 1447236825 / Alternative EAN: 9780230755956

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      01.01.2014 21:25
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      Recommended for anyone interested in history

      This review is of the paperback book "A History of the World" by Andrew Marr.

      This book is written by the television presenter and journalist Andrew Marr and is based on a television series he presented on BBC. The aim of the book is to offer an introduction to global history which is of course an enormous subject to try and condense into one volume.

      Marr writes in the introduction that the task at hand is immense but I liked the line that "the better we understand how rulers lose touch with reality, or why revolutions produce dictators more often than they produce happiness or why some parts of the world are richer than others, the easier it is to understand our own times".

      The book itself is split into sections by time period across eight chapters which seems a logical and sensible way to deal with history. I found that Marr writes in an entertaining manner and I was particularly interested by the "The World Blows Open" chapter which covers the period of 1492 to 1640 when Europe erupted and changed the world. I found it fascinating how the early civilisations which developed where in southern Europe and Asia but over the centuries Europe became dominant. In the last century much has changed again with the United States and then Asia becoming more powerful and it was interesting to see Marr explain how and why these events took place.

      I liked that the book was presented in a way which was accessible and not too academic but I did personally feel that the bibliography was a little excessive in its length. The book ends with a chapter covering 1918 until 2012 which Marr refers to as "the best and worst of centuries". The conclusion of the book to me is how much more mankind (and womankind) has to learn from the mistakes made in the past and it is wise not to forget them.

      The book was published by Macmillan in 2012, the ISBN is 9780230755956 and the book is 600 pages long.

      I personally have the paperback version of the book which retails at £8.99 although is sold by Amazon for £3.85 which is a substantial discount off the full price. Second hand copies are available but are only slightly cheaper after taking postage into account. The hardback book's full retail price of £25 and is sold by Amazon for £15 but second hand copies are much cheaper. Finally there is also the option of a Kindle edition which is £3.66, disappointingly close to the cost of a new paperback copy.

      In summary I particularly liked the book as it helps to bring together the jigsaw of history together. The book is interested and is likely to teach readers something new however much they thought they knew about history. It is a large subject to cover but I feel that this book achieves a good general summary without being too academic or bogged down with footnotes and overly complex prose.


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