A History of the World in 100 Objects

A History of the World in 100 Objects

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Traces the stories of one hundred human innovations to explain their pivotal role in shaping civilization, from weapons and the domestication of cows to currency and music.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2011
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780670022700
Characteristics: xxvi, 707 p. : col. ill., maps ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: British Museum
BBC Radio 4


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 29, 2018

I'm only five chapters into this fascinating book, but already I'm hooked. What an interesting concept: to talk about the history of the world, the human world, through objects. It is better than reading about battles and politics.

LoganLib_Phoebe Jun 22, 2016

Don't be daunted by the size, this is a very readable and fascinating history told through objects both grand and everyday.

Jan 24, 2015

The tack it takes on its subject, combined with all the chapters being short, makes this book terrific.

Nov 19, 2014

One of my favorite books! Actually, it started as an audio program, and I recommend first listening to it. The library has it on CD. Such a great concept - audio depictions of objects. The essay on each object includes comments from a contemporary perspective. For example, Dyson comments on potential uses of one of the earliest tools. After listening to it, I had to see the objects and checked out the book, then bought it for myself, and even emailed the author (who sent me a very nice reply). This is history at its best, respectful of cultural differences, accessible, and highly entertaining.

Jan 20, 2014

Best world history book - ever.

Oct 22, 2012

-a wholly enjoyable book. MacGregor makes material culture come alive through brilliant story-telling.

Sep 13, 2012

Of course this is also a history of British colonialism, but MacGregor does a good job of adding culturally sensitive insights. It's great preparation for a visit to this one of many free museums in London.

Jul 28, 2012

Well, not quite the objects I was prepared for, nor the perspective, either! Should've done my due diligence first. Still, 'twas a good, deliberate, skim. Glad to see that they chose to acknowledge more than the western world.

hgeng63 May 08, 2012

No one does history like the British! I really like how non-Western cultures were covered.

Mar 26, 2012

This book tells the history of humanity from about 2 million years ago through to last year through a selection of 100 human-made objects, from a stone chopping tool to a solar-powered lamp. The author freely admits that the selection of objects, all from the British Museum, is subjective, but he still manages to cover a wide range of cultures, times, and places. I found that I learned things about the sophistication of African and south Asian societies that I hadn't read before. Each object gets its own chapter and at least one full-page colour photo. Some objects merit additional photos to show other angles or details. Each chapter describes the object and explains its place in history. It's a very readable and enlightening work

My only complaint is that the book is HUGE... 707 pages including index and references. It's very heavy and cumbersome to tote around if, like me, you read during your daily commute on public transit.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CALS

To Top