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Old 01-26-2012, 09:49 AM   #1
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History Overview?

I'm looking for a book that covers the main important events in history - either British specific or world-wide. Preferably one that is written in an accessible style. Any ideas?
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:36 PM   #2
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I'm kind of tempted to suggest 1066 and All That, but you probably want something much more serious.

It's not a single book, but I've found various volumes in the Oxford University Press-published Very Short Introduction series to be quite good, covering many subject areas in decent but not overwhelming detail, and giving pointers to lots of further reading to follow up upon if interested. And many, if not all of their titles are available as e-books and non-Agency, so discountable with coupons at Kobo.

Here's their official series-specific site where you can sort by category (warning, they've run the entire thing on Flash) and here's the textual US catalogue site where you can browse by title. They've got 9 individual volumes for Britain alone, covering from Roman Britain through to the 20th Century. Their actual VSI to History is not so much a history book as a "how we look at history" book.

For a fun guide to history which covers the absolute essentials, Larry Gonick's popular "Cartoon Guide to ..." series includes three volumes on "The Universe" and two on "The Modern World".

Off the top of my head, I'm afraid I can't really think of any single-volume non-satiric works I've personally read which fit your criteria, but likely someone else will be able to make better suggestions.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:26 PM   #3
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That's ATDrake! I'll take a look at 1066 and all that. I just realized recently that I have no idea about history at all and would like to know the important parts.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:58 PM   #4
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Tome Keeper,

I'm not sure, but I wonder if you would do better to focus on a specific country or period, at least to begin with. After all, history is ... well, there's so much of it. I can't imagine that any one book giving an overview in any useful level of detail.

Just a thought.

(By the way, I see your Karma is 1000001. I didn't realise they were doing it in binary these days <g>.)
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
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If you really want an overview, try "The New Penguin History of the World". It's available as an ebook (albeit an expensive one).
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:34 PM   #6
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You might be interested in Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. Disclaimer: I haven't read it myself, but some history-reading friends of mine loved it.

eP
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:50 PM   #7
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Thanks all. British history is what I really want to know.

I do have Guns, Germs and Steel but have yet to get around to reading it.
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Old 01-26-2012, 03:15 PM   #8
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Some free resources, quite good (and quite popular in their time):

H. G. Wells, The Outline of History: Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind
David Hume continued by Tobias Smollett, A History of England from Early Times
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Old 01-26-2012, 04:20 PM   #9
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Give this one a shot:

A Short History of the World -- HG Wells (1922)
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Old 01-26-2012, 04:22 PM   #10
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A really good modern history book (modern in the sense of "recently published", not the period it covers), if you don't mind a paperback, is "The Oxford History of Britain and Ireland".
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Old 01-26-2012, 05:46 PM   #11
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How about Winston Churchill's "History of the English-Speaking Peoples"?
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:46 PM   #12
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If you really want an overview, try "The New Penguin History of the World". It's available as an ebook (albeit an expensive one).
An excellent work, and hard to better - but, as Harry says, not exactly an impulse buy....
The Churchill gives a good, "standard" viewpoint, and, well, "1066.." will certainly make you look a few things up !
And it is a Great Read.
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Old 01-26-2012, 07:04 PM   #13
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How about Winston Churchill's "History of the English-Speaking Peoples"?

A light general history of the world.....This Fleeting World: a History of Humanity by David Christian.....and only about one hundred pages long

http://www.amazon.com/This-Fleeting-...7618961&sr=8-1

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Old 01-26-2012, 07:33 PM   #14
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The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant covers from ancient Greece to around the time of Napoleon. The 11 Volumes are available via Amazon for Kindle. I got lucky back in the 90's and found a complete set in hardcover for only $45.00 total(brand new each volume was around $20-30.00) and while the Kindle version isn't cheap (some are around $14.99) it does give a overview of history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Story_of_Civilization
Internet archive has a CD of the books as well apparently though I have no idea how well it works.

http://www.archive.org/details/Story_of_Civ_CD

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr...=Will%20Durant

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Old 01-26-2012, 07:42 PM   #15
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I'm kind of tempted to suggest 1066 and All That, but you probably want something much more serious.
Another book with a satirical, light-hearted perspective is An Utterly Impartial History of Britain by John O'Farrell. Depending on my mood & the subject, sometimes I prefer in-depth serious works of history and other times I want something more entertaining.
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