When it comes to studying the history of the world, there are countless books to choose from. However, not all history books are created equal.
Some may focus on specific regions or time periods, while others may be biased or inaccurate. So, what is the best history of the world? Let’s explore some of the top contenders.
1. “Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond
This Pulitzer Prize-winning book takes a unique approach to world history by examining how geography and environmental factors have influenced the development of human societies. Diamond argues that certain regions were able to develop more advanced civilizations due to access to resources like domesticable animals and fertile land.
Pros: Easy to read and engaging, provides a fresh perspective on world history.
Cons: Some critics argue that Diamond oversimplifies complex historical events and downplays the role of human agency in shaping societies.
2. “A Little History of The World” by E.H. Gombrich
This charming book provides a broad overview of world history from prehistoric times to the modern era. Gombrich’s writing style is accessible and conversational, making it a great choice for beginners or those who want a refresher on major historical events.
Pros: Concise and easy to understand, covers a wide range of historical periods and events.
Cons: Some critics argue that it may oversimplify complex historical events or omit important details in order to provide an overview.
3. “The New Penguin History of The World” by J.M. Roberts
This comprehensive tome covers world history from prehistory to the present day in over 1,000 pages. Roberts takes a global approach to history, covering events in all regions of the world rather than focusing solely on Europe or the West.
Pros: Thorough and well-researched, covers a wide range of historical events and regions.
Cons: Some readers may find the length and level of detail overwhelming or too academic.
4. “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari
This bestselling book provides a sweeping overview of human history, from the emergence of Homo sapiens to modern times. Harari examines how humans have evolved culturally, socially, and biologically over time, and explores what the future may hold for our species.
Pros: Engaging and thought-provoking, provides a fresh perspective on human history.
Cons: Some critics argue that Harari’s theories are speculative or oversimplified.
5. “The Story of Civilization” by Will Durant
This 11-volume series covers world history from ancient civilizations to modern times. Durant’s writing is engaging and accessible, making it a great choice for those who want a comprehensive overview of world history without getting bogged down in academic jargon.
Pros: Thorough and well-researched, covers a wide range of historical events and regions in depth.
Cons: The sheer length of the series may be daunting for some readers, and it was first published in the mid-20th century so some information may be outdated.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what is the best history of the world. Each book listed above has its own strengths and weaknesses depending on your interests and reading level.
Whether you prefer a broad overview or an in-depth analysis, there is bound to be a book out there that suits your needs. So why not start exploring today?