The Story of the World in 100 Moments

ARRSE Rating
4.00 star(s)
A whole new insight into our past, told through 100 remarkable, unforgettable stories.

This book, written to keep himself occupied during Lockdown, is a serious attempt by Neil Oliver to piece human history together. We all learned about, say Roman, Greek, African, American, Chinese or European History. This book weaves them all together and makes a sequence which traces the world’s human history through over 4,000 years.
Each ‘moment’ forms a chapter of the book. They are all short (ideal for bedtime reading) and full of information. The span of research undertaken and reference material studies is enormous, and it’s pulled together into simple language. I certainly learned a lot about the history of mankind. He uses examples from literature, battles, politics and trade, covering a vast range of subjects along the way.

I did get the impression that the last few chapters were rushed. After the hundreds of interesting pages it took to reach the twentieth century, it seemed that many chapters were written quickly to get the book finished. Sadly this was reinforced by his chapter on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. This talks about the Pals Battalions, saying that they were mostly formed in1915 and after brief training they were in Northern France by the middle of 1915. He then states that for many, their first day of action would be the 1st July 1916, which somewhat reduces the sacrifice of those who died at Neuve Chapelle, Ypres and Arras (including my Grandfather’s Cousin) as well as in small skirmishes and battles which went on every single day. I do hope this was a result of rushing, rather than a reflection on the level of his research.

Overall this is a good book. Few historians have managed to cover such a broad sweep of world history in such an accessible way. Hopefully those who read it will read further to find a deeper understanding based on the start points he offers here.

My copy is now heading to the Offspring in New Zealand, who has suddenly started to show an interest in history after years of saying it was ‘boring’. There is hope!

Amazon product
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