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By E. H. Gombrich

In 1935, with a doctorate in paintings background and no prospect of a role, the 26-year-old Ernst Gombrich was once invited through a publishing acquaintance to try a background of the realm for more youthful readers. Amazingly, he accomplished the duty in an extreme six weeks, and Eine kurze Weltgeschichte für junge Leser was once released in Vienna to rapid luck, and is now to be had in seventeen languages internationally.

towards the top of his lengthy existence, Gombrich embarked upon a revision and, finally, an English translation. a bit heritage of the area provides his energetic and concerning historical past to English-language readers for the 1st time. fantastically designed and freshly illustrated, this can be a publication to be savored and picked up.

In 40 concise chapters, Gombrich tells the tale of guy from the stone age to the atomic bomb. In among emerges a colourful photograph of wars and conquests, grand artistic endeavors, and the unfold and obstacles of technological know-how. it is a textual content ruled no longer via dates and proof, yet by means of the sweep of mankind’s event around the centuries, a advisor to humanity’s achievements and an acute witness to its frailties.

The made from a beneficiant and humane sensibility, this undying account makes intelligible the complete span of human heritage.

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Extra resources for A Little History of the World

Sample text

A number of clay tablets have been dug up, inscribed with cuneiform script telling a story very similar to the one in the Bible. One of Abraham of Ur’s descendants (the Bible tells us) was Joseph, son of Jacob, whose brothers took him to Egypt and sold him, despite which he became a counsellor and minister to the pharaoh. You may know how the story goes on: how there was a famine throughout the land, and how Joseph’s brothers travelled to Egypt to buy corn. At that time, the pyramids were already over a thousand years old, and Joseph and his brothers must have marvelled at them, just as we do today.

The wild tribes living there brought them furs and precious stones in exchange for tools, cooking pots and coloured cloth. For Phoenician craftsmanship was known throughout the world – indeed, their artisans had even helped in the construction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. Most popular of all their goods was their dyed cloth, especially the purple, which they sold throughout the world. Many Phoenicians stayed in their trading posts on foreign shores and built towns. Everywhere they went they were welcomed, in Africa, Spain and in southern Italy, on account of the beautiful things they brought.

The answer is in the Book of Genesis, in chapter 11. He came from Ur in the Chaldees. Ur – that mound of rubble near the Persian Gulf, where they dug up all those ancient things like harps and game-boards and weapons and jewellery. But Abraham didn’t live there in the earliest times. He was probably alive at the time of Hammurabi, the great lawgiver, which was – as you remember! – around 1700 . And many of Hammurabi’s strict and just laws turn up again in the Bible. But that isn’t all the Bible has to say about ancient Babylon.

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