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Cartoon History of the Universe Volumes 1-7 [Paperback]

Larry Gonick
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 10 1997 Cartoon History of the Universe
An entertaining and informative illustrated guide  that makes world history accessible, appealing,  and funny.

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Cartoon History of the Universe Volumes 1-7 + Cartoon History of the Universe 2 + Cartoon History Of The Universe Iii: From The Rise Of Arabia To The Renaissance
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From Amazon

One of the beautiful things about comics is that it is possibly the best medium for combining education and entertainment. No one knows this better than Larry Gonick, whose Cartoon History series spans many subjects. Whether you are a fan of history, comics, or Gonick's books, The Cartoon History of the Universe I is a great place to start. Part I contains volumes 1 to 7, from the Big Bang to Alexander the Great.

From Publishers Weekly

Gonick's hilariously informative history of the planet is a great addition to the growing field of comics trade books. Starting with the Big Bang theory and moving on to the "evolution of everything," he manages to cover three billion years--from the origins of cellular life to the fossil and dinosaur periods that followed, right up to the first appearance of hominids--all with casual erudition, silly humor and delightfully cartoony black-and-white drawings. But Gonick doesn't stop there. He reinstates the record of women (their theoretical role in the development of agriculture and the matrilineal clans of the neolithic era) as well as accurately restoring black racial characteristics to the Egyptian dynasties. He also surveys other highly evolved ancient civilizations: the Sumerians, the Hittites, the Assyrians and the Israelites. Gonick cheerfully conjures rulers, warriors and slaves alike, many stumbling around in the desert, as they form the foundations for Western civilization. This is Gonick's first book.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertainment first, history a distant second July 11 2004
By Charles Ashbacher TOP 500 REVIEWER
While you can learn a lot of history from this book of cartoons, it takes some time before you understand how they are structured. The explanatory text is generally historically accurate, but the dialog in the character bubbles is for humorous effect. There are times when the explanatory text is not meant to be taken seriously, and it is generally clear when that is the case.
It starts with the big bang, which is the beginning of the universe. From that, it describes the creation of the planets, the origin of life and how it evolved to make humans. Once humans are present, it largely becomes a tale of the development of civilizations and the wars over the products of those civilizations. The civilizations described are those of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Turkey, Greece, Persia and Palestine.
I enjoyed this book immensely, it is occasionally very funny, and it does teach you some history. However, it should be considered as a piece of entertainment first and a history book a distant second.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST introduction to history possible... Jan. 1 2004
By ewomack
Some of the big, thick and juicy history books can make the average reader's eyes bulge with terror. "The History of the Whole World!" or "World History Second by Second!" will probably disencourage the general interested reader by the threat of massive papercuts alone.
There's something about the word "cartoon" that adds appeal to any subject. "The History of the Universe!" by itself may make knees tremble, but "The CARTOON History of the Universe!" now my hands are a-grabbin' at the bookshelf. And grab we should; we should grope, fondle, and possess this great volume that will likely turn any historaphobe into a walking timeline.
History? Entertaining? NEVER! Yes, awake from your dogmatic slumbers, the dream can be realized. This book is funny, genuinely funny. And it's not a parody along the lines of "1066 and All That" - it's real history presented in an amazingly underrated educational genre.
The first book is chopped up into seven volumes which can be read more or less like serial comic books. Dramatic teasers provide segueways between the volumes, and keep the story flowing. Like it's subtitle says: "From the Big Bang to Alexander the Great", and since subtitles never lie, that's what you get.
THE BIG BANG starts off this book, and the book follows an evolutionary line - at one point outright stating "Darwin was right" (pg. 52). So, be warned all of you whose cars are adorned with fishes labeled "Truth" eating smaller fishes labeled "Darwin" - this tome may not be for you.
There is a long discussion about the evolution of sex, some "naughty" cartoons - which are usually hilarious - which leads into the evolution of species from the cambrian to the quaternary period.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Educational June 26 2001
This volume of world history in comic book form is priceless! The artwork is not the greatest, but it is certainly competent and accomplishes its job. But what makes this book worthwhile is its alternative take on history. Instead of focusing on stories about famous conquerors (although they are not ignored), it is about what history must have been like for the average person, all with a rather biting, cynical sense of humour. For example, it shows WHY Socrates was hated so much (because, like such 1960s gurus as Timothy Leary he helped turn young people into rebellious thinkers who questioned the sacredly held opinions of their parents, whether or not Socrates did so intentionally). Gonick turns historic figures into living, breathing people instead of mere acts or ideas.
The Cartoon History doesn't quite reach the level of social criticism of A People's History of the United States, nor will it tear down your current understanding of historic events, but it still manages to be very iconoclastic merely by pointing out the silliness of humans throughout history (illustrating how little we've changed!) and through its more 'common person's' perspective.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like it anywhere!!! April 4 1999
By A Customer
If Larry Gonick had written the ancient history books, chances are we would all be staying awake during world history class. This book is not only funny, but informative as well. Both trivial and essential topics are addressed and explained in wonderful cartoon detail. If this book doesn't get you excited about ancient history, then my friend give up hope, because if this doesn't nothing will. Gonick takes us from the beginning of time to Alexander the great, and it's a fun and memorable ride the whole way. OH, but don't be discouraged by it's large size. Chances are you'll finish it in a day or two AT THE MOST!! It's so entertaining, you'll take it with you to the carpool and read it while you 'work'. This book will double you IQ, I gurantee it. And you'll becoming back to it no mattter how many times you reread it. I can not recommend this book enough, if I could change the history text book ciriculum to include this I would. But I can't so you'll just have to settle for the next best thing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I use it as a reference book! Feb. 11 2001
By RigelK
Cartoon History presents a large amount of information at a rapid clip and keeps you laughing the whole time. Topics that may have seemed boring in history class (or weren't addressed at all) will suddenly spark the imagination and leave you wanting to read more. Thick history presented in the exact opposite of dry textbook style, all high school and college students should own a copy of this book! (Gonick doesn't pull punches about the graphic violence and bizarre sexuality of our history, so parents should exercise discretion about handing this book to younger students.) Gonick also shows intriguing perspectives that you won't get in the average, mainstream textbook market; and he especially gives women a voice they normally do not have. Hopping all over the globe for more than white man's western civ, this book and its sequel open up history in a startling and energized way. I highly recommend keeping a copy on your reference shelf.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "I'd like you to read a few pages and tell me ...
Me: "I'd like you to read a few pages and tell me what you think." My daughter, "Aww! Is that history?" (sour face). All quiet in my 12-year old daughter's room for a time. Read more
Published 9 months ago by C. Ford
1.0 out of 5 stars Universe
These books deeply offended me. As a person who loves history and graphic novels, I can't stress enough how brutal and bigoted this series was. Read more
Published on July 15 2012 by Brent Wiley
5.0 out of 5 stars It is that good as everybody says
I bought it for a general introduction to history and was influenced buy the other reviews and it turned out it was the right move. Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2010 by Stephane Thinel
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
A seminal work. Simply a fun great account of the history of man. This book does a great job telling the story of civilization from the dawn of man to Moses and the Greeks. Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2004 by Seth J. Frantzman
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Enlightening
This book is an extremely well researched book, yet it remains very accessible to the average reader. Read more
Published on Dec 12 2003 by Patrick Beaudry
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool concept -- really works!
Never has history been so fun, or so understandable. Gonick really adds substance to dates and facts and his subtle humor can really make you question about long-held beliefs you... Read more
Published on Dec 9 2003 by Eric Nanneman
4.0 out of 5 stars Great History Teacher- And its funny too!
I love this book, I have all three in the series, and can't wait for more. It's the best history teaching book I have read, it should be in every high school classroom! Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2003 by Lauren Ormston
5.0 out of 5 stars fun
a good alternative to school books, i wish i was a kid again...
on the negative, i bit tidious, no aperent story line, you get lost halfway the book, tons of names,... Read more
Published on Dec 29 2002 by Itai Bachar
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational! Entertaining! Great!
All the good things that have been mentioned above about this series are true.
One things, stay away from his "The Cartoon History of the US" book... Read more
Published on Sept. 1 2002 by Cambero
4.0 out of 5 stars Wacky and weird: a great way to learn some history
Irreverent, goofy, funny, entertaining, and educational: all apply to this unique book. This particular book gives a good account of evolution. Read more
Published on April 24 2002 by Amazon Customer
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