World History For Dummies Paperback – Jun 2 2009
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"…a friendly reference. You can bone up on all those facts you missed in history class and have a good time in the bargain." (Manx Independent, Friday 27th April) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
For readers who are curious about the civilisations, events, and individuals that shaped the world but weary of conventional history books with tons of dates and laborious text, World History For Dummies is a welcome respite from dry, boring tomes. Blending a narrative and chronological approach author, Peter Haugen, sweeps the reader through time, starting with the ancient civilisations of Greece, Mesopotamia and Egypt, the major kings and queens of Europe during the Middle Ages and latter-day empires through present day. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Major advancements in western history, including ancient societies such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, and of course Greece and Rome are covered. Other civilizations are represented as well, though not in as much detail as western civs. Examples include China, Japan, Aztecs, and Incas.
I would recommend that an historical text on geography accompany this book as maps are scarce and the ones available aren't very comprehensive. This is a particular peeve since it is often nice to have a visual perspective of what is being studied.
All in all, a good "reference for the rest of us", but not a text I would recommend for the first-time reader.
Also, this is history that makes sense. The author does not just follow a boring chronological order, but bunch historical events together that have similarities, connections, parallels. As a result, this is the type of history lesson that makes sense, and is easy to understand and remember. Nothing like the boring history fare you were served in high school.
The back cover touts that he puts the "story" in History. Nothing could be further from the truth. The book itself is somewhat boring, because there isn't enough detail to make a story. The books major problem is simple. It's jammed and crammed with trivial facts, facts that mean nothing unless they're strung together with some concept or generalization to take away from it. Rather than cover an important topic well, he's seemingly opted to give every event and every no-name empire a place in his book by devoting a few sentences to each and every one of them but not enough to allow any true of true understanding of what he's talking about. At the end of the book, I was left with a strange sensation of feeling like I knew nothing about a lot of things.
Often times the amount of detail he goes into leaves you wondering what happened in huge gaps of time he's left out (or perhaps he refers to the gap he just created in another chapter). The point is, you're left not having any real idea of what was going on because you can't fit it together in any way.
I'd love to speak with someone that learned history only from this book. They'd sound like a historian at their first comment about history (due to all the highly obscure details he dips quickly in and out of), but as soon as I asked one question about it, they'd be at a complete loss.Read more ›
I am aprehensive of books that adhere to a formula like the Dummies books do but Haugen works with skill within the formula making a strong impression on the subjects he writes about. There are no particular political viewpoints and discussions, while light, are treated thoughtfully and transparent of the author's politics.
I was attracted to this book when I realized my apalling lack of memory on the basics in world history. I wanted to know about why things happened, how historical events came to be and in this simple volume I got a clue along with ideas on where to continue reading.
This is a book parents can give to their kids knowing it will help augment the sometimes boring classwork and keeping the idea that history is about people and can be as exciting as any fiction they read or see in film and television.
I can't recommend this fine review of world history high enough. That does not mean it is without fault. At times the tone of the prose is condesending although it is quite possible that this is part of the format of Dummies books as the other couple of books in this series try to disamingly walk readers through concepts that may require humor to disarm otherwise intimidating subject matter.
In the end, World History for Dummies is a useful primer for adults or school age children. My favorite feature of this book is Peter Haugen's gentle reminder of multiple disciplines involved in the understanding of the world that formed the civilization we now live in.
Most recent customer reviews
People who complain about this book not going into a detailed depth of World History confuse me. Obviously this is not the book to buy if you have extensively studied World History... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Alexandra Thompson
I loved this book. The information is wide ranging, covering periods from the stoneage to 911. It's a great cursory view of world history and entices you to delve deeper into... Read morePublished on July 14 2010 by Sherrill Pearson
How many times can an author say "as covered in chapter..." or "see chapter .." If you want to find out, read this book. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2004 by Tom
This book will not please the "hard-core" history students because it truncates so much detail. Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2004 by Mad Track
Author covers a lot of ground in a very entertaining style. Not a lot of depth in any one area, but this could be expected from such an overview. Read morePublished on July 12 2003
I read the review about the annoying parenthetical comments, but thought Winters was just over-reacting. Read morePublished on Dec 26 2001 by Jad (TJ) Duwaik