A History of the World in 100 Objects

A History of the World in 100 Objects

Book - 2011
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From the renowned director of the British Museum, a kaleidoscopic history of humanity told through things we have made.

When did people first start to wear jewelry or play music? When were cows domesticated and why do we feed their milk to our children? Where were the first cities and what made them succeed? Who invented math-or came up with money?

The history of humanity is a history of invention and innovation, as we have continually created new items to use, to admire, or to leave our mark on the world. In this original and thought-provoking book, Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, has selected one hundred man-made artifacts, each of which gives us an intimate glimpse of an unexpected turning point in human civilization. A History of the World in 100 Objects stretches back two million years and covers the globe. From the very first hand axe to the ubiquitous credit card, each item has a story to tell; together they relate the larger history of mankind-revealing who we are by looking at what we have made.

Handsomely designed, with more than 150 color photographs throughout the text, A History of the World in 100 Objects is a gorgeous reading book and makes a great gift for anyone interested in history.

Publisher: New York : Viking, c2011.
ISBN: 9780670022700
Branch Call Number: 930.1 Macgrego
Characteristics: xxvi, 707 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm.


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Oct 29, 2018

I'm only five chapters into this fascinating book, but already I'm hooked. What an interesting concept: to talk about the history of the world, the human world, through objects. It is better than reading about battles and politics.

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.

Jan 24, 2015

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

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.

Jan 20, 2014

Best world history book - ever.

Oct 22, 2012

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

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.

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.

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.

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