A Little History of the World

I enjoy trivia of all sorts, so when a friend loaned me his copy of E.H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World, I gladly dove into many hours of fascinating reading.

A Little History of the World is a compact volume that tells us the story of mankind, from the Stone Age to the atomic bomb. Told as stories, it’s simple enough for young readers to understand without getting the feeling of being patronized, and entertaining enough for adults who have already gone through years of history classes.

Gombrich, an art historian (you may recognize the name from the book The Story of Art), wrote this book in 1935 with the intention of presenting a history of the world for younger readers. The book was actually originally written in German, was banned by the Nazis for being too “pacifist,” and was only translated in English by Gombrich himself (mostly, reportedly, but the book credits his assistant Caroline Mustill as the translator) towards the end of his life (he died in 2001, at 92, still working on it).

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