A History of the World in 100 Objects
By Neil MacGregor
Review by Ellie (Oriental Studies)
For anyone interested in the ancient world, I would recommend A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor. I picked up this book last summer when I was visiting the British Museum and as soon as I started reading I just couldn’t put it down.
Neil MacGregor is the Director of the British Museum and chose 100 objects from the millions of artefacts housed at the museum to outline the history of mankind from all over the world, from our origins as cavemen to where we are today. However, this really isn’t like any other history book. When I read it, it felt more like my own personal tour of the British Museum and by the end I was itching to get back there to find out more about the people and objects I’d read about. You end up crossing whole continents in minutes, finding out about civilisations you never even knew existed, mapping trade routes that span the globe, learning about the rise of Spain in 16th century Europe from a Piece of Eight (which I thought were just an invention from Pirates of the Caribbean) all from the comfort of your living room chair.
The layout of the book is great as well as each object has its own chapter which is then grouped in fives to form sections that address a certain time period or phase of human history (this means you can pick up and put down the book whenever you want – not that I did that much, there was always time for just one more object!). MacGregor wrote this book for the general public too, so it’s not full of difficult language and everything is in chronological order so it’s very easy to follow.
If you are interested in ancient civilisations or just generally want to find out a bit about mankind and how we got to where we are today, then I would definitely, definitely recommend this book!
A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor