A Short History of the World

A Short History of the World


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This is a book for the average person with a great curiosity toward the world. H. G. Wells had an intense curiosity and used it to investigate and then share the entire history of the world in a condensed form with this book. Wells, the great science fiction writer who wrote The War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man, among others, was fascinated with the real world just as much as his imaginary ones.

This book is a testament to his genius and immense knowledge involving the key events of humanity throughout the history of the world. It is true that much was left out, but Wells covers the high points so that one can follow the more important paths of history as we learned, grew, and reached deeper understandings throughout our physical, intellectual, and spiritual evolution.

The great thing about this book is that it allows us to see a bigger picture. An overall pattern emerges that one can only grasp by reading and experiencing the book fully. Wells was considered a genius and clearly wrote with this larger vision in mind.

Upon completing the book, he reveals that we, as humanity, are still in our infancy and have only just begun an immense and important journey. The pattern he lays out shows that we are moving toward new ways of understanding, growth, and wisdom. This book should be read by all those who wish to understand more about the world and our place in it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141441825
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/31/2007
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 232,303
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.79(h) x 0.94(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

H.G. Wells was a professional writer and journalist, who published more than a hundred books, including novels, histories, essays and programmes for world regeneration. Wells's prophetic imagination was first displayed in pioneering works of science fiction, but later he became an apostle of socialism, science and progress. His controversial views on sexual equality and the shape of a truly developed nation remain directly relevant to our world today. He was, in Bertrand Russell's words, 'an important liberator of thought and action'.

Date of Birth:

September 21, 1866

Date of Death:

August 13, 1946

Place of Birth:

Bromley, Kent, England

Place of Death:

London, England


Normal School of Science, London, England

Table of Contents

Chapter I.The World in Space9
Chapter II.The World in Time11
Chapter III.The Beginnings of Life13
Chapter IV.The Age of Fishes15
Chapter V.The Age of the Coal Swamps18
Chapter VI.The Age of Reptiles21
Chapter VII.The First Birds and the First Mammals24
Chapter VIII.The Age of Mammals27
Chapter IX.Monkeys, Apes, and Sub-Men30
Chapter X.The Neanderthaler and the Rhodesian Man33
Chapter XI.The First True Men38
Chapter XII.Primitive Thought41
Chapter XIII.The Beginnings of Cultivation44
Chapter XIV.Primitive Neolithic Civilisations48
Chapter XV.Sumeria, Early Egypt and Writing53
Chapter XVI.Primitive Nomadic Peoples56
Chapter XVII.The First Sea-Going Peoples59
Chapter XVIII.Egypt, Babylon and Assyria63
Chapter XIX.The Primitive Aryans67
Chapter XX.The Last Babylonian Empire and the Empire of Darius I71
Chapter XXI.The Early History of the Jews75
Chapter XXII.Priests and Prophets in Judea80
Chapter XXIII.The Greeks83
Chapter XXIV.The Wars of the Greeks and Persians87
Chapter XXV.The Splendour of Greece90
Chapter XXVI.The Empire of Alexander the Great93
Chapter XXVII.The Museum and Library at Alexandria96
Chapter XXVIII.The Life of Gautama Buddha100
Chapter XXIX.King Asoka104
Chapter XXX.Confucius and Lao Tse105
Chapter XXXI.Rome comes into History109
Chapter XXXII.Rome and Carthage113
Chapter XXXIII.The Growth of the Roman Empire117
Chapter XXXIV.Between Rome and China126
Chapter XXXV.The Common Man's Life under the Early Roman Empire129
Chapter XXXVI.Religious Developments under the Roman Empire134
Chapter XXXVII.The Teaching of Jesus139
Chapter XXXVIII.The Development of Doctrinal Christianity144
Chapter XXXIX.The Barbarians break the Empire into East and West147
Chapter XL.The Huns and the End of the Western Empire151
Chapter XLI.The Byzantine and Sassanid Empires155
Chapter XLII.The Dynasties of Suy and Tang in China159
Chapter XLIII.Muhammad and Islam161
Chapter XLIV.The Great Days of the Arabs164
Chapter XLV.The Development of Latin Christendom168
Chapter XLVI.The Crusades and the Age of Papal Dominion176
Chapter XLVII.Recalcitrant Princes and the Great Schism183
Chapter XLVIII.The Mongol Conquests190
Chapter XLIX.The Intellectual Revival of the Europeans195
Chapter L.The Reformation of the Latin Church202
Chapter LI.The Emperor Charles V205
Chapter LII.The Age of Political Experiments; of Grand Monarchy and Parliaments and Republicanism in Europe212
Chapter LIII.The New Empires of the Europeans in Asia and Overseas221
Chapter LIV.The American War of Independence226
Chapter LV.The French Revolution and the Restoration of Monarchy in France230
Chapter LVI.The Uneasy Peace in Europe that followed the Fall of Napoleon237
Chapter LVII.The Development of Material Knowledge241
Chapter LVIII.The Industrial Revolution248
Chapter LIX.The Development of Modern Political and Social Ideas251
Chapter LX.The Expansion of the United States260
Chapter LXI.The Rise of Germany to Predominance in Europe267
Chapter LXII.The New Overseas Empires of Steamship and Railway269
Chapter LXIII.European Aggression in Asia and the Rise of Japan274
Chapter LXIV.The British Empire in 1914278
Chapter LXV.The Age of Armament in Europe and the Great War of 1914-18280
Chapter LXVI.The New Order in Russia285
Chapter LXVII.The League of Nations292
Chapter LXVIII.The Failure of the League of Nations296
Chapter LXIX.The Crisis of Human Adaptation307
Chronological Table311

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A Short History of the World 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Greatest Story Ever Told! Along with The Outline of History, this Short History of the World is the best and most underrated book by H. G. Wells, the master of science fiction, much better than all his scientific romances combined since it is actually a true story. It tells the epic adventure of the history of the world, life, and mankind according to the sciences of astronomy, biology, geology, anthropology, and world history. This is the modern worldview expounded by Wells in the early twentieth century. The book spans from the origins of the solar system to the outbreak of World War 1, with footnotes covering later history like World War 2 and the Space Race. Before the Big Bang theory, Wells speculates that the universe has existed for billions of years or has existed for an infinite amount of time. After dealing with the origin and evolution of our planet, the story covers the origin of life in the first seas and the evolution of life towards dry land, the sky, and beyond. The geological ages covered include the Ages of Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Mammals and Birds, Apes and Submen, and finally Mankind. Despite the subsequent progressive ages, the Paleolithic Age, the Neolithic Age, the Industrial Age, and the various imperial ages of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Mongols, Arabs, and later Europeans, the many wars detailed in the book and the Darwinian struggle for existence prove that history is more nature red in tooth and claw and more about the march of armies than the march of progress and enlightenment. The book likewise covers the history of religion, including paganism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, giving interesting biographies of the major founders of these great but outworn faiths. Despite the sufferings and tragedies of world history, life moves on and slowly progresses, perpetually dying as the old generation and being reborn as the new generation, and the range of life widens until the modern era when life has left our little planet and started to explore the wider universe. Thus, humanity finds itself on the path either to self-imposed destruction by modern global warfare or to further social and biological evolution in the formation of a world state and the colonization of space. It appears despite the sheer length of this epic story, we are merely at the twilight of the dawn and future history will be far longer and greater than all the history already recorded, if we don’t blow ourselves up first of course. I’d recommend this book as a good swift prelude before one reads the larger and better Outline of History, also by Wells, and the modern version of Mr. Wells’ History, Big History by David Christian. This story is clearly the greatest story ever told!
uh8myzen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is by no means an in depth history of the world and is certainly outdated, however it is a fascinating read and there are still many interesting things to be learned from it. As a student of history myself, I enjoy reading historical texts written in other time periods for a number of reasons, but the most relevant and interesting to me is what such a text can teach you about the time in which it is written, in this case Victorian England. There is much information to be gleaned about the England that Wells inhabited even when he is discussing other historical periods. The cliche "History is told by the victors" is very true, but it is also told in voice of the teller. That is to say, history is a very "political" endeavor, always hued in whatever colours the teller favours. A United Empire Loyalist writes a very different account of the American Revolution than a revolutionary patriot. A Darwinist sees a different origin of our species than a Christian and so different events will have differing significance to each. Everything from our politics to our religion combine with our place and period to taint the histories we encounter which means the way histories are told can give us remarkable insight into the people telling it.Give this book a read if you are a fan of history, HG Wells or Victorian England. It is a very fascinating read in my opinion.
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Completely boring. DO NOT READ!!! REPEAT:DO NOT READ!!!! I literally would have given it zero stars. Its too....... just not my type of reading. But seriously, i wouldnt buy this book if it was required for class. Dont even think about reading it. Not once, and dont even go to twice.