A History of the World in 100 Objects

A History of the World in 100 Objects

Book - 2011
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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
0670022705
Characteristics: xxvi, 707 p. : col. ill., maps ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: BBC Radio 4
British Museum

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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.

1
1aa
Jan 24, 2015

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

k
karlaforsythe
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.

p
PaulHenryDavis
Jan 20, 2014

Best world history book - ever.

d
Drayjayeff
Oct 22, 2012

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

k
KSerá
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.

a
anisoz
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.

j
jmikesmith
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.

b
baylife
Oct 14, 2011

I loved this book and will buy it for myself to keep on my bookshelves. It is a volume I shall return to again and again to study the colour plates of the marvellous artefacts from the British Museum and to read of the provenance and the fascinating historical context of each item. It progresses through over 5000 years of the global history of humankind and is always absorbing and easy to read. I have already placed an order to purchase my own copy. A wonderful book.

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