From the list on world history from the Paleolithic to the present.
Who am I?
I’m a historian who wants to understand the big picture as best I can. And while occasionally I can clear my schedule enough to read a 1,000pp book, realistically that won’t happen often so I am always on the alert for short books that aim to provide what I am looking for: a coherent vision of the whole of human history. That’s asking a lot of an author, but these five do it well.
John's book list on world history from the Paleolithic to the present
Why did John love this book?
This one is 359 pages and says almost nothing about the 20th century. It is quirky in terms of what it includes and what it leaves out, but reliable in its facts and judgments, and full of insights I haven’t encountered elsewhere. It does not bother with grand theories or overarching narrative, but focuses on what the author finds interesting. Cook is a specialist on the history of Islam, which gives the book an uncommon vantage point.