The History Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) by DK

Review :

When you are ambitious enough to write a history book encompassing everything from 200,000 years ago until the present day, you must determine what to include and what to leave out. The author of "The History Book" concentrated on events that had the most impact on the development (or demise) of different civilizations throughout the world.

I can't say enough about how the book was composed. Each section of the book lays out a timeline of dates and events covered during that period. Each event is then covered in a sub-section, which bullet points things that happened in history before and after the event being discussed. To achieve greater understanding with a minimum of words, diagrams are provided which detail how the event came to pass (using early humans as an example: "Foraging lifestyles rely on hunting/gathering" led to "Humans develop an intimate knowledge of animal and plant species" led to "Beliefs and practices emphasizing connectedness and communication start to develop" resulting in "The first examples of art, such as the cave paintings of Altamira, appear").

The book is an easy read, giving just enough information to understand without overloading you with every little fact. Sub-sections are usually no more than a few pages, enabling the reader to be able to set the book down and easily pick it back up at a later time. The author also does a good job staying in the middle and not choosing sides during discussions on religion and political systems.

I alternate between my Kindle Fire and Paperwhite. It was impossible to read the timelines on the Paperwhite; even though the Fire is only slightly bigger, it was enough to overcome the fine print, and I found I enjoyed the colored pictures and diagrams on the Fire as opposed to the black-and-white displays on the Paperwhite.

Basically, this is a good reference book that will give you an interesting overview on major events in history.

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